Genuinely terrible movie taglines

News Simon Brew 12 Jul 2011 - 14:18

A good movie tagline can, at the very least, help in the promotion of a film. But what about when it goes wrong? Er…

The art of the movie tagline is a tricky one that generally involves locking clever people into a room until they come up with something catchy. Yet, sometimes the coffee machine isn't working. Everyone is in a bad mood. There's no Toby Ziegler figure to come in and solve everything.

And that's when you end up with this collection of oddities. Here, we're looking at taglines that just do little to sell the film. In all truth, we quite like some of the ones we're about to show you (Hombre is a corker). But do they do their job? Er, not really.

Without further ado...

EARTHQUAKE

This Charlton Heston-headlined 1974 disaster movie was, in fairness, released at a point where poster taglines were just a little bit minimal. This sort of follows the Citizen Kane template (tagline: It's Terrific!), but takes it to very literal extremes. 'An Event', is it? Where do I buy my ticket?

SIGNS

Maybe they got muddled memos in the office on the day they came up with the tagline for M Night Shyamalan's Signs, and mixed it up with the line for one of his later movies instead. Or maybe this poster is what gave M Night the idea...

ALIEN VS PREDATOR

At least this one was honest.

YOGI BEAR

We feel a bit bad for including this, as, while it's brilliantly bad, you can't deny it did the profile of the film no harm at all. Plus, the combination of tagline and image remains hilarious to this day. There's a Yogi Bear 2 coming out, incidentally. Start your bets now that the tagline will read 'Come Again'.

Moon 44

Here's an interesting tagline. Bonus points if you can make any sense of it whatsoever.

THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS

Excellent. A flat-out exercise in stating the bleeding obvious.

GODZILLA

Size. Does. Matter. Hmmm. We can see what the marketing of Godzilla is trying to do here, but there's little relation to the film. To be fair, it looks worse out of context. When first conceived, Godzilla was entering a market where the Jurassic Park franchise was dominant, thus playing on the fact that Godzilla was bigger than JP's dinos. But it's still a useless point, really. How about "Has. Nice. Teeth", or something like that? It would have been about as useful.

THE PHANTOM

We've met few people willing to put up a spirited defence of Billy Zane as The Phantom. But even those who would must surely struggle when asked to explain just what "Slam Evil" means, exactly? We've seen the film, too, and while there's some evil, we don't remember much slamming...

TOY STORY 3

There was some terrific marketing surrounding Toy Story 3, but that didn't extend to one of the international posters for the film....

GHOST SHIP

We've nothing against a clever play on words, but "Sea Evil"? Really? Just on a point of order here, the sea isn't evil at all. It's a big mass of water. It's the boat where all the evil is perpetrated. Why can't they leave the innocent sea out of it?

OCEAN'S 12

Twelve is the new eleven, apparently. That should sell a few tickets.

In other news, and working on the same set of rules, cribbage is the new water polo, custard is the new whiskey, and felt tip pens are the new industrial printers.

BASIC INSTINCT 2

For a film where the mind doesn't come into the top five used body parts within it, the tagline to Basic Instinct 2 doesn't even come within spitting distance of what the film happens to be about. Audiences were not fooled.

HOMBRE

Absolutely love this.

This 1967 Paul Newman vehicle manages two things with its tagline. Firstly, it gives you a bit of a Spanish lesson. Secondly, it confirms Paul Newman was male.

On the downside, it tells you nothing about the film. Ah well. Still want the poster, though.

THE KINDRED

This one can't tell whether it's going on Who Do You Think You Are, or selling a horror movie. It thus does neither.

STRIKING DISTANCE

It really sells an action movie, this. How about, for the Bruce Willis movie North, the tagline reads, "They shouldn't have dressed him in a rabbit suit if they didn't want him to look silly"?

SECRETARIAT

"Based On The Impossible True Story". Er,...

OCTOPUSSY

We're not quite sure what they're trying to do here. Is it innuendo? Is it getting across that it's James Bond 13? Is it anything that in any way would convince someone to spend money on seeing the film?

Or, more likely, had the producers of the Bond franchise by this time found someone who could do it better twelve times, and wanted to make the distinction?

And, on a design note, why are all thirteen versions of Roger Moore shorter than the woman's legs? Just asking.

COOL AS ICE

This makes no scientific sense. Were it even possible to melt a stone, why would you use ice to do it? Surely, and apologies for the pedantry here, ice is more likely to move something towards freezing point, than away from it?

FANTASTIC FOUR

Before we get to the obvious lowlight of movie taglines, just consider how closely this inane, lazy collection of words for Fantastic Four managed to run it...

CLASH OF THE TITANS

When we asked on Twitter what the worst tagline ever was, this one won by a measure of about ten to one.

It's a tagline that, for some reason, Warner Bros swiftly abandoned, appearing only in the first teaser trailer for the film. But it remains a masterclass in coming up with a tagline that not only fails to sell the film, but simply finds a way to reorder the title a little bit.

Let your suggestions for the Wrath Of The Titans tagline begin here...

Also:

Apparently, the tagline for Rocky II at one point was "Rocky shows he's a champ and wins", which we can't find on a poster or trailer, sadly. But it must win the prize for the best spoiler-y tagline of all time, if true. Unless you know better, of course...

And finally...

We had the following tagline suggested a few times, too, but our view on it is this: it is awesome. It'd make us want to see the film, which surely is the tagline's ultimate goal?

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