Trailer Hitch
By Eric Hughes
September 30, 2009

Guess who's back? Back again!

Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: the King of Pop comes back from the dead, National Lampoon takes on vampires and Freddy Krueger undergoes the origins/reboot treatment.

Afterschool – Opens Friday

Video evidence is tough to trump. Just ask Robert, social outcast at an elite prep school and sole possessor of two girls' last waking moments on Earth, which he regretfully caught on camera. In said video, Robert is mysteriously shown walking slowly toward the girls without hesitation – not wildly screaming and running away from the bodies. Robert's actions, let alone having a camera in the right place at the right time, peg him as a probable suspect.

It probably goes without saying that Afterschool isn't a must-see movie in theaters (whoops). From the two minutes we get here, which includes bloody shots of the girls (who are found to have died from ingesting a substance that included, among other things, rat poison), I'm under the impression that the movie gets pretty grisly. If the boy in fact is in fact the party responsible, it's pretty telling (and disturbing) for him to exhibit hardly any feelings.

The material makes for a compelling trailer. Like the sneak peek to the reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street (which is discussed a little later in this column), we're never given an honest look at the supposed villain until the trailer's final frames. Only at this point do we see Robert's face, staring back at us, and in mid scream. These subtle composition choices in solely the trailer make me wonder whether something similar is done for the feature.

Grade: A-

The Ministers – Opens October 16th

Oh the ol' falling in love with the killer of your father gag. It'll get you every time! Especially when the man in question looks like John Leguizamo. At that point you're toast. In the movie, a woman (Florencia Lozano) sets out to uncover what happened to her father, who 13 years previously was murdered. The only evidence left at the scene is a pamphlet for a secret religious group dubbed The Ministers. While on the hunt for the guilty party, the woman falls for the man who likely played an instrumental part in the death of her father. Shameful.

Though scribe Franc. Reyes likely stole a few plays from the Dan Brown playbook, I'm oh so thankful that he didn't name a specific religious group outright like the famed author tends to do. Not sure I could handle the public backlash that tends to arise with new fiction.

As for the movie... doesn't look so good. Harvey Keitel, who clearly is in this thing for the paycheck, plays the police chief type. It's perhaps this movie's only redeeming quality.

Grade: D

Michael Jackson's This is It – Opens October 28th

I'm always a little cautious to be anything even approaching enthusiastic when the concerned material is posthumous. In the case of Michael Jackson's This is It, which was cut together using countless hours of footage from rehearsals of what was to be the King of Pop's comeback music tour, the wildly overused "too soon?" phrase feels pretty appropriate. Honestly, the man died only a few months ago. It's not like we're talking about Tupac here, whose label has managed to release too many albums following his death – five! (with another due out next year) – so as to be almost comical.

Sony reportedly paid $60 million for the film rights. Given that this one is slated to run in theaters for just two weeks, here's hoping the studio knows what it got itself into.

The trailer, which premiered during the wily 2009 MTV Kanye West Music Awards, is what you'd expect from a movie documenting the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes escapades of a major comeback concert.

Grade: C

Transylmania – Opens December 4th

It was really only a matter of time. With Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries scoring a ridiculous amount of rabid fans and, likely, the upcoming Vampire's Assistant joining suit, it's fitting our obsession with bloodsuckers would already be immortalized by a vampire spoof movie. Even better, this one looks like it quite literally sucks, which is exactly what these movies tend to do time and time again. (Unless, of course, they have Airplane in the title).

As if the fact that this one apparently has no cohesive storyline to speak of wasn't enough – I've watched a trailer a few times now, and, well, just gave up – Transylmania is actually a theatrical sequel to the direct-to-DVD> release, National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2.

Need I say more? Didn't think so.

Grade: F

A Nightmare on Elm Street – Opens April 30th, 2010

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, New Line Cinema production chief Toby Emmerich said the reason his studio was rebooting the Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise was because the movies "are profoundly disturbing on a deep, human level because they're about our dreams" and that the idea of "dreams being invaded was something that would translate to any country and any culture." Toby, come on. It's a cash grab and you know it (even if the production values appear to be significantly better than other chapters in the franchise). Just once – once! – I'd like a movie exec to outright admit: "Shoot. You got me. In this economy, we're really just strapped for cash."

Of the big three horror icons – Freddy, Jason, Michael – I've found I've always been a loyalist of the latter monster. (Chiefly because I've probably seen more of his movies than of the other two combined). So, personal bias is admittedly present when I say that I wasn't nearly as into A Nightmare on Elm Street's reboot trailer as I was for Halloween's (or even Friday the 13th's, for that matter). Perhaps there's a little reboot fatigue in there too, considering that Freddy is the third and final of the villains to go through the remake treatment.

Even so, it's worth noting that the franchise doesn't look like it misses a beat from the absence of Robert Englund, who up to the release of this movie has always played the disfigured dream stalker. Jackie Earle Haley fills in just fine.

Grade: C+