Friday, September 4, 2009

Show me your taglines: My favorite movie poster slogans

Shaun of the Dead poster

In a world where movie taglines are corny or tepid, sometimes there are taglines that are genuinely witty and clever.

Fox just launched an eye-catching "Snakes on a cane" teaser promotion for House--it's as cryptic as ABC's "What did you see?" springtime promos for John Cho's FlashForward--and the IMDb Hit List recently linked to a blog post about the greatest bits of poster or trailer copy. Both items got me thinking about which taglines are good ones (and aren't just reiterations of lines from the movie, like the Dark Knight teaser campaign's "Why so serious?" or the original Dawn of the Dead's "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth").

Michael Aushenker, who e-interviewed me for his Cartoon Flophouse blog, used to be a tagline writer. He came up with Eve's Bayou's tagline: "The secrets that hold us together can also tear us apart."

In no particular order, here are my favorites.

This Is Spinal Tap's Aussie poster

This Is Spinal Tap: "Spinal Tap... does for sex, drugs and rock n' roll what Sound of Music did for hills."

Southern Comfort: "It's the land of hospitality... unless you don't belong there."

Back to the Future: "He was never in time for his classes... He wasn't in time for his dinner... Then one day... he wasn't in his time at all."

Shaun of the Dead: "This September aim for the head."

You're probably wondering why I'm posting the Planet Terror main title shot of Rose McGowan up against the stripper pole instead of the 'You might feel a little prick' advance poster with Marley Shelton. It's because Shelton, with her smeared mascara and a hypodermic needle in hand, looks too heroin chic-y on the poster. Heroin chic: never attractive.

Planet Terror teaser campaign: "You might feel a little prick."

The War of the Roses: "Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie."

Wet Hot American Summer: "It was the last day of summer. It was the first day of the third week in August."

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay's teaser poster

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay teaser campaign: "What would NPH do?"

Alien vs. Predator: "Whoever wins... we lose." A great tagline doesn't always lure me to the movie, especially one with Paul W.S. Anderson's name on it. That's why I still haven't seen AVP.

The Thing (1982): "Man is the warmest place to hide."

'If you're going to hire Machete to kill the bad guy, you'd better make damn sure the bad guy isn't you!'

Here's a bonus favorite tagline, from the fake Machete trailer that precedes Planet Terror: "But they soon realized they just fucked with the wrong Mexican!"


  1. Back to the Future II: Its About Time
    The Poseidon Adventure: Hell, Upside Down

  2. Jimmy, the THIS IS SPINAL TAP tagline made me actually laugh out loud. And since I have such fondness for THE SOUND OF MUSIC, it made it even more priceless. What a great way to start my day!