I have a special sort of nostalgia for old horror movie newspaper ads.
While I’m now a fan of scary movies, they terrified me as a kid, in that “do not touch” sort of way. Catching movie promos on television was a daily risk, but there was something even spookier about the newspaper ads, which were usually just a page away from Garfield and Snoopy.
I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I think the reason is in that paragraph. I was unlikely to see a trailer for Pumpkinhead on television, because Pumpkinhead wasn’t advertised during cartoons. In the newspaper, all bets were off. There could be a Pumpkinhead ad right under the crossword puzzle, next to a pitch for Oliver & Company.
The genre freaked me out, but it also intrigued me. I’d stare at those ads and imagine dank theaters full of hoodlums and hedonists. I believed horror movies to be “dangerous” in a pretty literal way, which of course made them seem twenty times more interesting.
Below: Another batch of horror movie newspaper ads from the ‘80s and ‘90s, acting as the sequel to this older Dino Drac article.
Wow, check out this drive-in’s doubleheader: Ghoulies AND A Nightmare on Elm Street! I couldn’t dream up a more perfect evening. Just me, Freddy, a 1978 Chevrolet Malibu, and maybe some nachos from the snack shack.
Given its iconic status as a home video rental, it’s hard for me to register that Ghoulies even had a theatrical release. This ad proves that its famous pitch was there from the start: “This movie has monsters in toilets, and you as a rational person should not ignore that.”
The Ultimate Double Creature! (1986)
In what appears to have been a nationwide promotion, moviegoers could see both Aliens and The Fly for the price of a single ticket. Not bad!
I suspect that many who took ‘em up on that offer needed a day to recover. After all, neither Aliens nor The Fly are “light” horror movies by any stretch. To this day, I still treat Aliens like a “big event” movie, and approach it with trepidation. The Fly is a bit less intense, but it compensates with that shot of Jeff Goldblum upchucking buggy stomach acid. Read More…