"Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto, change-o, and now he's me! Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun...we're dead."
Thinking back on all the trailers I've posted on my blog, I realized that I've never discussed a TV spot (I didn't actually research this, but I'll take my memory's word for it). There's a reason for this. For the most part, TV spots are just shortened trailers. Compressing only the briefest glimpses of a film into a 30 second spot, a TV spot can sap even the mindless trailer of its already limited artistry. Sometimes, however, studios manage to take advantage of the shortened TV commercial format to craft pieces of advertisement every bit as interesting as some of the more memorably creative theatrical trailers.
The key in most cases is to forego showcasing film bits, and instead create a new piece. Such was the case with the TV spot for Richard Attenborough's creepathon Magic.
Let me just interject, first of all, that when I first saw Magic, it threw me for a loop. I went into it knowing next to nothing about the flick—exceptin' that it was a horror movie, Anthony Hopkins was in it, and he was a ventriloquist. Oh shit, a horror movie about a ventriloquist. I'm a get me some evil, possessed, killer-doll action up in this bitch. Oh wait, that's not what this is. This is actually much creepier. Oh God.
As mentioned earlier, Hopkins stars as a ventriloquist. The twist here is that, instead of his doll getting possessed, Hopkins succumbs to madness and allows the part of his brain responsible for crafting the personality of his morally vacant dummy Fats to completely take over, to the horror and not-continue-living-ness of those around him. Magic is a film with the power to unsettle and leave you not laughing. Pretty impressive for a movie not featuring Jeff Dunham. (Also, Jeff Dunham sucks. I sure showed— oh, hold on a second, topicality just called; I passed the statute of limitations on Jeff Dunham references.)
But where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about Magic's TV spot. Anyway, this was pretty much the discussion behind the making of the below-embedded ad: "fuck it, let's just give every kid in America nightmares."
"Dan, I don't know if we can get away with this. I saw that spot you made for Magic. There's no way standards will let us show that on TV...where kids can see it."
"What? There's nothing wrong with it? There's no profanity, no nudity, no violence. Nothing."
"I know, but still. Jesus."
Hey, about those nightmares I just gave you from posting this TV spot; you're welcome.
[The trailer (seriously, how did this get on TV?):]