Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Stupidest Movie Tag-Lines...

When I sat down to eat my lunch today, I saw that HBO was playing AVP (that's Alien vs. Predator...) on one of its multitudinous channels. Watching a bit of this underwhelming, PG-13 movie again, I was reminded of the really, really terrible ad line from the film.

Whoever wins...We lose.

That was probably unintentional truth in advertising (and it would have been a great ad-line for the 2004 Presidential Election...). In terms of AVP, the audience was certainly "the loser," wasn't it?

But anyway, I got to thinking about how our pop culture is really one dominated by "sound bytes," and how - in this age of mega-information - the simple messages tend to be the ones that get through the "noise" best.

When I think about great ad-lines or tag-lines from the past, I think of "You'll Believe a Man Can Fly," from Superman: The Movie (1978), which perfectly expressed the film's sense of wonder, the feeling of "heart." I also think about "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid," from The Fly (1986) which still gets quoted today quite a bit.

But talking about bad tag-lines now, I keep coming back to the AVP choice, which is unintentionally funny, if you ask me. Another one I remember as being really hysterical comes from a 1989 Patrick Swayze bomb called Next of Kin. I remember the trailer ended with the tag-line: "You haven't seen bad yet, but it's coming..."

Wow! I mean, does that make you want to see the movie or what? I just remember laughing out loud at that unintentional word of warning from the Hollywood marketers.

So clock in on the comments below and tell me, what's the stupidest movie tag-line out there, and why? And if you can't think of a bad one, what's your favorite tag-line?


  1. Hi John,

    Here are a few...

    Punisher (2004) - "The Punishment Begins April 16, 2004"

    Godzilla (1998) - "Guess who's coming to town."

    Predator II - "Silent. Invisible. Invincible. He's in town with a few days to kill."

    Urban Legends - "If it happened to someone who knows someone you know... you're next."

    Volcano - "The Coast Is Toast"

    Blue Streak - "He's A Cop That's Not. Believe That!"

    The Lift (your typical killer elevator film) - "Take the stairs! Take the stairs! For God sakes, take the stairs!!"

  2. Hey Marx!

    The Lift! Oh my gosh! I watched that this summer, and showed the box to my 15 year old nephew, and he went hysterical at that ad-line. "Take the stairs, take the stairs, for God's sake, take the stairs."

    There's such a fine line between stupid and clever, isn't there?

    Those are some great lines...

  3. When I saw this I was going to mention The Lift as its tagline is by far the best thing about it -- and lo! I was too late.


    P.S. Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter also had a decent one: The power of Christ impales you!:

  4. John, I always liked the tagline for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance."

  5. The Power of Christ Impales You? Damn, that's pretty bad, Cloudhurler. I never heard that one either.

    And yeah, Howard -I've always liked the TWOK ad-line too. I also remember one of the trailer lines from Khan was "For some this will be the first voyage; for others it will be their last..." That scared me as a kid, because I didn't want Spock to die.

    Speaking of funny ad-lines. There's that 1976 movie Schizo that had the tag-line "When the left hand doesn't know who the right hand is killing."

  6. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Hey John. Here are some classic bad tag lines:

    Popcorn - Buy a bag, go home in a box!

    Hellbound Hellraiser II - Time to Play

    The Phantom - Slam Evil!

    House - Ding Dong, You're Dead!

    Freddy vs. Jason - Winner Kills All!

    And here are some of my favourite good ones:

    Jurassic Park - An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making.

    Army of Darkness - Trapped in Time, Surrounded by Evil, Low on Gas.

    The Godfather III - All the Power on Earth Can't Change Destiny.

    Sleepy Hollow - Heads Will Roll

    -Chris Johnson

  7. Hey Chris! Thanks for the contributions to the "ad-lines" piece, both good and bad. I remember seeing that Army of Darkness line ("Trapped in time...") and going bonkers with anticipation for the film. Which, I thought, should have been titled The Medieval Dead as a nod to Evil Dead I and II.

    I was thinking about The Phantom's ad-line as particularly weak too, so I'm glad you brought it up here...

  8. Lee Hansen1:57 PM

    Here are some good and bad ones. You decide.

    Maniac Cop - "You have the right to remain silent...forever."

    DeepStar Six - "Hold your last scream."

    Deep Rising - "Full Scream Ahead." Also, "Women and children first, you're next."

    Ghost Ship - "Sea Evil."

    The Hills Have Eyes - "The lucky ones died first." Also, "A nice American family. They didn't want to kill. But they didn't want to die."

    Q, The Winged Serpent - "It's name is Quetzalcoatl... just call it Q, that's all you'll have time to say before it tears you apart!"

    Night of the Creeps - "If you scream... you're dead." Also, "The good news is your date is here! The bad news is he's dead!"

    Neon Maniacs - "Night falls... So do their victims!"

    The Thing (1982) - "Man is the warmest place to hide."

    The Black Hole - "A journey that begins where everything ends!"

    The Danger Zone - "Where the road to Vegas crosses the highway to hell."

    Danger Zone II: Reaper's Revenge - "The ultimate weapon is a man with nothing left to lose." Both of those films are real guilty pleasures.

    Fright Night - "If you love being scared, it'll be the night of your life."

    Real Genius - "When he gets mad, he doesn't get even... he gets creative."

    My Science Project - (written like on a chalkboard, over and over)"We must not destroy the world."

    Big Trouble in Little China - "Jack Burton's in for some serious trouble and you're in for some serious fun." Also, "A Mystical, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Kung Fu, Monster, Ghost Story!"



  9. Lee -

    Hey buddy! Thanks for writing in some more ludicrous (and fun) choices for the "worst" and "stupidest" tag line sweepstakes here. "Sea Evil" has to be one of the worst of that bunch (ugh!) but certainly Neon Maniacs was one of the worst movies of the bunch. Oh hey - I sold you copy of that movie, didn't I?! :)


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