The 1970s were, IMNSHO, the glory days of TV horror movie advertising.
Yeah, I know, it’s kind of a limited field for there to be glory days involved, but I like what I like.
But it seems as if there was one overriding factor to creating TV spots for horror movies in the 1970s (and early ’80s): scare the holy hell out of any kids in the surrounding area, because I would run screaming from the TV when some of these came on.
The one that really sticks in my memory is the trailer for 1979’s Magic. Not a particularly scary movie, it turns out, but the TV ad (which, like so many of these things, featured no footage from the actual movie) was designed to create lifelong phobias.
Running second to that one was the US TV spot for Dario Argento’s 1977 film Suspiria. This time, there’s actual footage from the movie involved, but I’d freak out before we got to see any of it.
The next ad ripped off the concept from Suspiria‘s, but for some reason the slipshod quality of it all just made it more disturbing. This is from the 1977 release of Roger Watkins’ Last House on Dead End Street (which I like to say is the only movie that doesn’t care if you hate it because it hates you more).
This one, I have no idea why it terrified me so. I think it had something to do with that voice coming out of Juliet Mills’ head at the beginning. This is 1974’s Beyond the Door.
And finally, this trailer to the 1977 re-release of Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive shook me up so badly that I couldn’t even look at the newspaper ads for it.