There is something about an excellent movie tagline that reverberates with you after you hear it; something that keeps that movie in the back of your mind for years after you first heard about it. Taglines like “They’re Here” for Poltergeist is a perfect example of a conscise and effective tagline really working for a film, becoming an iconic phrase that fans associate with the film. Or there is “In space, no one can hear you scream” the tagline from Alien, which has stuck with me forever (thanks in great part to the fact that Alien is my favorite film), as it is the absolutely perfect encapsulation of tone and the expectation you should carry into seeing Alien: you immediately know that it is a horror film in space.
This list is not about those amazing, chilling or prescient taglines.
This list is about the taglines that are just so terribly ‘punny’, or seem to have nothing to do with the film at all or…well, you will see:
1) The Carpenter (1988):
This goofy slasher film from the 1980s graces us with two equally terrible/awesome taglines:
“He Builds Terror” & “He’s turning their dream house into a nightmare”
Essentially The Carpenter is a silly 1980s slasher about a carpenter named Edward (Wings Hauser) who was sentenced to the electric chair for killing several repo men who tried to take his dream home away from him, and the young couple who move in afterward and face the Carpenters’ wrath. Except not really, because Ed is really charming, despite being an obsessive, mass-murdering ghost, and protects Alice (Lynne Adams) from all sorts of terrible contractors, her husband’s mistress, and even her own husband.
I suppose this film delivers exactly what it promises, as long as you are expecting many tool related deaths, and to giggle at the 1980s silliness.
2) Nail Gun Massacre (1985)
Who can pass up the tagline “It’s cheaper than a chainsaw!” or “Who gets nailed next?”
The construction theme continues, with Nail Gun Massacre, a movie that settles into the “it is so bad, it is funny” category early, and does not come close to reaching anything more.
After a young girl is attacked and raped by six construction workers, a man in camouflage with a nail gun (and a weird robot voice) fights back, killing each of the rapists one by one in a flourish of air-pressured vigilante justice. Doctor Rocky (Rocky Patterson) and the local Sheriff (Ron Queen) do their best (giving them the benefit of the doubt) to stop this killer, but to no avail: the killer nails many, many people to trees while saying terrible one-liners.
WARNING: This “trailer’ for Nail Gun Massacre is NSFW.
3) Ghoulies (1984)
“They’ll get you in the end”
To be fair to Ghoulies it is a silly 1980s Horror/comedy who achieved a modicum of home video success in marketing itself to the “young boys at a sleepover” horror crowd, and that is pretty much the kind of movie this enjoyable nonsense delivers . At best, this mindless, Gremlins rip-off works if you accept it as a not much more than a fluffy piece of nostalgia for those who saw it when they were younger (because really, the ghoulies did not look good when this film was new), or for someone on the lookout for a very 1980s, low-budget creature film they have not seen before:
Although for the record: the lesson here is never listen to a guy in a pink shirt. In Ghoulies, one dooms all of his friends to gross plastic-y deaths by not picking Trivial Pursuit over a occultist ritual. I know Trivial Pursuit is boring, but come on man.
4) Frogs (1972):
Three winners for Frogs:
“Today the pond, tomorrow the world!”, “A tidal wave of slithering, slimy horror devouring, destroying all in its path!” & “Cold green skin against soft warm flesh…a croak…a scream.”
I really want to see whatever the movie those taglines are for is like, because it is not this one. Despite what you see on this poster above, Frogs is not about an army of giant man-eating frogs (get on that SyFy), but about a wealthy southern man named Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) who lives in a mansion on an island and hates nature so much that he poisons everything he can. Swamp photographer (the one profession we all aspired to as children) Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) canoes in to take pictures of animals around the Crockett estate on Jason’s birthday/4th of July weekend.
Smith’s canoe tips over, he is taken to the mansion and then all…um…hell breaks loose as the animals decide to get back at the Crockett’s for polluting the environment: snakes bite people, frogs stare them to death, and a man shoots himself in the leg because…birds.
My advice is to watch the trailer, nod and remark at how young Sam Elliott looks, and laugh at the way better than the film taglines again.
5) Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988):
I had to include this one, based on my intro because the main tagline for Killer Klowns is:
However, there are a few others worth mentioning:
“Horrific Harlequins with an appetite for close encounters!” & “big top … big shoes … big teeth!!”
I have already spoken a bit about Killer Klowns in my list of Horror Movies you would survive (here), but for those of you who missed it, it is a film about a small town being terrorized and killed by aliens who look like incredibly blobby, non-human clowns, but no one except our plucky young heroes seem to notice that these clowns and their hilarious weapons are evil, and fight back on the behalf of Earth:
This is another film that obviously does not take itself too seriously, and the taglines definitely help play into that, but really, “In Space No One Can Eat Ice Cream”? It does not get much more hilariously terrible than that.
That’s five of my favorite terrible and hilarious taglines, what are some of your? Are you mad at me that I did not include the upcoming Easter Sunday’s “This year, everyone will be eggsecuted”, or perhaps you are a giant fan of The Legend of the Pyschotic Forest Ranger. Let me know in the comments below.