Before the instant gratification of the internet, social media, and 24/7 genre news, your first introduction to an upcoming horror film was the trailer that would precede a film at your local movie house, drive-in,  grindhouse cinema, or the V/H/S rental you talked your parent into getting for you. Sometimes the trailer would actually end up being better than the film. The balancing act of the horror trailer is tricky to master but when done correctly they can create lifelong memories that will continue to terrify viewers for a lifetime. We here at Terror Time have compiled a list of our personal favorite horror movie trailers and the reasons why we love them so.

Ian Donegan:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre trailer from ’74, definitely. The “false realism” that was created with the original narration and formatting is something I’ll never forget. It’s so iconic. Hell, the “Flashbulb” noise? I’ve had it set as my text message alert for years. The TCM trailer will never not stick with me.


Jason Thorson: The trailer for TCM 3: Leatherface is what I’d regard as a consensus pick for great trailers in general. It’s widely considered one of the most creative, well known, and well regarded genre trailers and, as such, it was the first one that came to mind for me. I saw it back in 1990 and I lost my proverbial shit, so as far as the 14-year-old me was concerned, it was highly effective.


Amy Humphries: Mine is the Babadook. The intense plethora of emotions was brilliant.


Brad Slaton: The best pitch man in cinematic history, Alfred Hitchcock knew how to sell a film with a trailer and Psycho stepped up the game with it’s unique brand of marketing. His dedication to showmanship is something that is sorely lacking in the genre today.


Nadia Robertson: HELLRAISER has one of the most effective trailers of its genre because it offers surreal, horrific imagery with spine tingling intensity at a brutal pace, and it has some really great 80’s style copy that hits every horrifying beat.


Pricilla Kumar: Growing up, for some reason, I always had a fascination with dolls. It might have been because one of the toys I vividly remember is a doll that was gifted by my grandmother. The doll, when turned, moved her arms and her eyes rolled around to a whimsical jingle. My grandmother died a few months later and sometimes, while lying in bed in the middle of the night, I would hear the jingle coming from across the room.When I first saw the movie trailer for Tourist Trap I was instantly mesmerized. The moving mannequins and the sinister sounds was something that I just couldn’t get my eyes off of. Couple that with the story line line of “millions of teenagers disappear every year” might have dissuaded me to watch the movie, but I was six when I became obsessed. Tourist Trap brings in elements from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, two films that would debut later in time. To this day, I still can’t get the images of the mannequins as they jocularly giggled while watching as teenagers were being slaughtered.


Justin Hamelin: The Sentinel

We’ve provided you with our favorite horror movie trailers. Let us know your favorites and the stories behind why you love them.

Check out images of the new ‘Leatherface’ movie