The Ten Megaton ToM: Twitch-O-Meter turns 10,000,000 part 1,001 (or "9")

When our Twitch-O-Meter column reached number fifty we did something cool: ten writers gave a list with five of their favorite directors, creating one huge Twitch-O-Meter which we lovingly called the MEGA-ToM. However, the next big round number is already upon us: 128, which in binary is 10,000,000.

It’s a 10 megaton MEGA-ToM!

Therefore this whole week will be devoted to a huge multi-article Twitch-O-Meter. And this time, the writers will give us their top 1,000 of favorite movies (which, thankfully, is only eight in non-binary...).

Ninth (already) in line is Collin Armstrong, and his contribution is a veritable feast for the eyes because it includes...
...but he'll tell that himself:


In considering my contribution to this grandiose ToM, I thought I'd look at a small but integral component to the film-going experience - trailers. Below are eight of my favorites - they may not be from great films (though several are) but they are great clips on their own. Links included!

0001 - Alien - every fanboy ought to recognize this clip by sound alone – that stomach-churning, oscillating whine over precision flash-cut images of the Nostromo’s crew hunting and being hunted, that iconic alien egg splitting open… all classic. Creepier and more intense than 90% of what passes for horror in multiplexes these days - there's a lot to be learned from Scott and co.'s command of technique on display in this clip. Right here.


0010 - Escape from LA - can’t defend Carpenter on this one per se, but the trailer remains a culture-jamming hoot, fooling auds with what would appear to be a theater-approved warning that quickly spirals into outrageous red-flagging of religious freedom and red meat. I can recall seeing this clip in theaters with a baffled crowd. Delightful stuff that proves even when Carpenter misses, he still swings with the best of 'em. Right here.


0011 - The Exorcist - somber narration, tinged with menace, sets the scene… Father Merrin approaches the fog-encircled house… and then it begins – a whirling chiaroscuro nightmare of little Regan’s possessed mug bleeding in and out of the dark, over and over again, intercut with a visage that is truly the stuff of some genuinely bad, funky dreams. Sends chills down my spine every time I watch it without fail. Right here.


0100 - Final Approach - the odd one out for most of you out there no doubt, but what a great clip… for a middling, confused (and confusing) picture. This finely tuned promise of a cerebral sci-fi head-bonk, featuring the vastly underrated and under-utilized James B. Sikking, was like a geek siren’s song in the early ‘90s for yours truly. Oh well - live and learn. Where have you gone, Vidmark? Right here.


0101 - Strange Days - there’s not a lot of love out there for Kathryn Bigelow’s dystopic millennial sci-fier, but count me as an ardant supporter – especially when it comes to the film’s stand-alone teaser, a clip that features Ralph Fiennes gloriously wheeling and dealing the film’s drug of choice – a sort of virtual reality – to auds. We're told to avoid films with trailers that are all disconnected flash, but every now and then they get it right. Right here.


0110 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - again, great audio work – from the din of chaos on-screen to the “hard news” narration to the aurally iconic whine of the charging flash blub… a small masterpiece. Surprisingly brief for a mid-‘70s promo offering to boot. Re-watching this bit reminds me of how far Tobe Hooper has unfortunately tumbled but screw it - that man once birthed one of the true big screen nightmares of all time. Right here.


0111 - The Thing - perhaps owing a tip of its entrail-strewn hat to the afore-mentioned Alien promo, the trailer for Carpenter’s now-classic creature-feature is another exercise in mixing taut cuts with a driving, abstract soundscape. Short, sweet, and intense, the clip highlights everything that makes the picture itself so great - just what a trailer ought to do. “Man is the warmest place to hide” – sublimely creepy. Right here.


1000 - Twister - at the time the destruction heaped on screen during this stand-alone teaser for Jan De Bont’s quasi-nature-run-amok opus was a bit mind-blowing – over-the-top CGI has come a long way since, but this remains an intense, even frightening piece of filmmaking. More than can be said for the pic advertised, sadly. A textbook case, IMHO, of how to sell a big-budget idea that's way short on story. Right here.

Around the Internet:
  • GodofJoy

    I'm with Ard Vin on 'Hitchikers'...that was a great trailer.

  • James Dennis

    Escape From LA trailer is like a trailer for Grindhouse. Awesome.

  • Ard Vijn

    Even though I'm luke-warm as to the end result, I absolutely LOVE the trailer for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

    As a standalone, that trailer is probably the best adaptation of Douglas Adams' work...

    And the funniest trailer ever might be the one for Terence Young's dreadful, DREADFUL "The Amazons", where halfway through the trailer Mr. Movievoice seemingly runs out of lines to read and starts to endlessly repeat: "The Amazons. The Amazons. The Amazons. The.... AMAzones! The Amazons. The Amazons....".

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