The Trouble with Trailers

Steven Greydanus describes a growing problem for moviegoers, and he’s absolutely right.

Have you ever been shocked at what you saw during the trailers?

Have your kids ever been frightened by a trailer before a family film?

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • David H.

    When I was in the 2nd grade, I remember going to see “Superman: The Movie” as part of a friend’s birthday celebration and was utterly traumatized by a trailer for a remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” that was shown before the film. I cried throughout the entire movie and had nightmares for months thereafter. That was in the late 1970s, so this is certainly not a new problem!

  • Claire

    I didn’t see too many movies as a kid, but when I started going to the movies with friends as a teenager, I was often frightened by ‘scary movie’ trailers. As an adult, I love trailers, I think they’re fun. But I still hate scary movies and I’m annoyed when they sneak one into a movie I go to see. I take my younger sisters to the movies sometimes, and inevitably there will be a scary preview. I think I may try to complain next time, never thought it might make a difference before reading Steven’s article…

  • Chris

    I remember when I was 10 being taken to see “Ghostbusters 2.” Before that PG-rated comedy–which kids loved because of the animated Ghostbusters show that was popular at the time–they played a trailer for the distinctly un-PG rated “Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan.” I remember hiding my eyes and cowering behind the seat, plugging my ears because the screams scared me.

    It was the scariest thing until I actually saw the movie about 10 years later…but that was scary for a whole other reason.