Movie Trailers Are Manipulating Everyone And Here's How
Movie trailers rely on tricks and tropes to get us hooked, to sell us a story, to manipulate us. So how do they do it? Here's a look at the masterful techniques, recurring cliches, and underhanded tricks that modern movie trailers are using to manipulate you.
Movie trailers have several sonic tricks they use to trigger your subconscious feelings. Ever notice how many recent trailers feature slow, creepy versions of pop songs, like Lana Del Rey's version of "One Upon a Dream" from Maleficent? This is a way they twist your emotions by taking something beloved and familiar and making it scary and unfamiliar.
And they also use sound effects, punctuating every movement with noises selected to trigger automatic responses, like guns being cocked, or maybe a subtle music swell to make sure you viscerally feel every punch.
But that's not their favorite sonic trick...
If you've seen any movie trailers over the last decade, you've almost certainly heard what films fans lovingly call "The Inception sound". It's sort of like a tuba, sort of like a whale, and a lot like the sound a robot would make after stubbing its toe.
Exactly when the sound effect first appeared is difficult to say. The earliest version that we can find occurs not in a trailer but during Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In that movie, sound designer Ben Burtt created a noise for the "seismic charges" used by Jango Fett which sounds very similar to the Inception sound. Keep watching because movie trailers are manipulating everyone and here's how.
Sonic subconscious | 0:15
Playing that Inception sound | 0:51
Movie trailers give everything away | 2:01
Follow the leader | 2:59
Bombarding us with names | 3:38
A giant title is majorly manipulative | 4:23
Release dates as jump scares | 5:12
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