The Thursday Trailer: Shock Corridor (1963)

Trailers. I love them. In all shapes and forms, they can be fascinating in the way that they try to distill down the essence of a movie to roughly two minutes of screen-time. Some trailers are memorable. Some trailers are better than the films themselves. Some trailers sell the film in such a bizarre way that you’re left bewildered that anybody ever thought that would be a good idea.

So, as a way of celebrating my love of trailers, I’m starting a weekly feature. From now on, each week, on every Thursday, there will be a trailer. Sometimes they will be old, sometimes they will be new. There’ll be a mix of classics and underappreciated gems, alongside the weird, the wonderful and the just-plain-confusing. There also be, when the mood takes me, ‘Honourable Mentions’ after the main trailer – links to new trailers that have premiered during the week and are worthy of attention (and occasional ‘Dishonourable Mentions’, covering the trailers which to be honest, are hypnotic in their badness but still demand to be seen).

And we’re starting off with the example that gave me the idea in the first place – the hilariously OTT trailer for the 1963 drama Shock Corridor, a film from writer/director Samuel Fuller, who regularly took on tricky subjects in a way that was, for the time, pretty edgy and adventurous (in this case, following a newspaper reporter who goes undercover as a patient at a mental asylum, but ends up losing his mind as a result). Of course, the trailer uses this as an excuse to crank the dial marked ‘Lurid’ up to eleven and then just keep on going, but it’s worth it just for the line: “And then, there was the day that Johnny was trapped in the ward of love-maddened women!”

Honourable Mention:

Just one this week – the gloriously Eighties-tastic full trailer for JJ Abrams’ Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment homage Super 8, which looks like it could be a genuine throwback to the era of E.T., Close Encounters and The Goonies. It’s now available in full HD at the Apple Trailers site, and is well worth a look.

Dishonourable Mention:

And then, on the other hand, there’s the teaser trailer for the not-very-promising-looking new screen version of Conan the Barbarian. A silly trailer-voice intro, lots of weak CGI smoke, and the line “I live! I love! I slay!” – in short, the kind of trailer that actually makes you want to avoid the movie in question.

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