Round Table Discussion: Debating the Marketing Merits of the Graphic ‘Hateful Eight’ Trailer

An ongoing series that looks at marketing and branding efforts from a swarm of different creative perspectives.

Recently, the first trailer for the upcoming Quentin Tarantino flick The Hateful Eight dropped. The thing that makes this trailer unique: It features no actors, dialogue, or scenes from the movie.

Watch it out now to see for yourself…

Clawing Into the Good, Bad and Ugly of This Tarantino Teaser

Is this mysterious marketing at its bloody best or just empty filler until the real trailer rides in to town? We asked our team to share their thoughts…

More Blood Than Beef

Frankenstein (AKA Dru):

As with many folks, I’m a huge Tarantino fan. However, I never drink the Kool-Aid when it comes to film (or for that matter, trailers…). For instance, I HATED most of Inglorious Basterds

Thinking you know the M.O. of a director lulls you into thinking you can predict what he or she is going to do. After all, it’s the affinity for their style that I think people really gravitate to.

Simultaneously, Tarantino has been bashed, and lauded, for unrepentantly dipping into the soup of previous films. However, if he had his hand in this trailer, then he has managed to surprise us a bit… though this is conjecture on my part.

I’ve purposely stayed away from anything regarding this movie so I may actually enjoy it when it’s released. I will say the premise reminds me of The Petrified Forest, with Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis, with several people stuck in a diner out west during a sandstorm…

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Wait…! We’re talking about the trailer here… I’m getting confused between a purely Tarantino property (a scene directed, a script written…), and something that is an effort made by perhaps dozens of people.

Maybe if I do this by points, it will make my life easier, since you clearly posed this trailer question to drive me insane. So, instead of eating a gun, here’s my list:

  • No actors. Fun idea. Not as many kudos from me as I’d like, since they had no footage, so what are ya gonna do? (I don’t think there was any actual footage available when this was originally made)
  • Animation: Slick and rough, all at the same time. Well done. Sparsely put together, using as few elements as possible to carry you through the audio.
  • Quite long, but what was I going to do with those few moments anyway?
  • Obligatory Tarantino blood spatters: A++

Well, you know, that turned out to be a short list! So my final analysis is:

A fun trailer of mediocre interest and little to no “meat”. But it has blood.

So, B-

Firebombing Formula

Godzilla (AKA Patrick)

I’m all for breaking the norm, or, breathing prehistoric atomic fire when I’m being attacked.

The reality is the movie industry has been churning out trailers with the same trite formula for quite some time. Some might argue that they use the formula because it works, but I don’t always buy that excuse. There’s always a reason to break the rules and try something new. Test the waters and see how it plays out.

Look back at movie trailers from the 80s and you’ll quickly be reminded of how movie trailers used to be. They look pretty ridiculous to us today, but it worked back then. Times change. People change. And there’s always a natural evolution of things. I know, it sounds like a motivational quote, right?

In the case of The Hateful Eight graphic novel trailer—we’re looking at an artistic representation of what could be. Not that this style of marketing would fit every situation, obviously. But it does demonstrate, forgive my cliché, thinking outside of the box.

Does it sell the movie? Maybe. I think that Tarantino movies have an interesting blend of audiences. This trailer might not work for all of them, but the die-hard fans will think it’s cool. And from a creative standpoint, I think it’s always nice to see something unusual in a sea of sameness.

Oooohs and Oh Yeahs

The Blob (AKA Bob):

I hit play on the video, not knowing ANYTHING about the movie. I have never heard of it until now and am kind of interested to see what it is all about.

The video starts on black with a heavy thud of a sound effect slamming down to open on a graphic-novel-style desert scene that parallaxes by.

“Ooooh”, I think myself, “This could be good. It started off with the hint of some bad-assery to come and I love, love, love the graphic-novel style of the piece.”

Haunting music plays in the background while only words come up on the screen as the dry lonely desert continues to pan by.

– Eight strangers
– Were stranded by a blizzard
– They soon discovered
– They shared a deadly connection.

“Well now, that’s just got my interest boiling. Quick, to the point, leaving me with just enough information to get that curiosity in my brain raging to the front.”

And then…
BLOOD SPLATTER!

“Ohhhh yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. Definitely bad-assery to come.”

And then…
– The New Film By Quentin Tarantino

“Say whaaaaaat? It’s Quentin. Absolute definite bad-assery to come. Quentin is a crazy genius of a director. His over-the-top movie violence is almost like an artful dance of Grindhouse glory. I mean c’mon. How can you watch the Kill Bill major fight scene and not weep at its beauty.”

And MORE Blood splatter.

“Quentin AND more blood. Ohhhhh Yeahhhhhhh!”

…and then, the cast of characters appear, but you do not see them. Only their names, their silhouettes, and their roles in the plot are shown. It’s just these little tastes of the movie, leaving you with a vague sense of what is going to happen, but it is absolutely shrouded in mystery. My mind is trying desperately to fill in the blanks and to figure out WHO these people are and HOW they are all involved with each other.

1) Major Marquis “The Bounty Hunter” – Silhouette of a cowboy riding a dead skeletal horse.

“Dead horse! Ooooh! Is it symbolic of him being a murderer? Or perhaps is he a savior that deals out death as absolution for wrongdoers’ sins. Wait!!! He very well COULD be death itself in the form of a man.”

2) John Ruth “The Hangman” – Noose hanging in a small town street.

“Now you CAN’T have a Western without some good old-fashioned hanging. But what does the character have to do with the plot?”

3) Daisy Monurge “The Prisoner” – Silhouette of a seemingly helpless girl imprisoned in the frame of her very ample bosoms. The shadow she casts shows the face of an evil grin, hinting that looks are not always what they seem.

“And there is the sexy young girl of course. But I’m betting she has secrets. Many, many secrets.”

4) Chris Mannix “The Sheriff” – Jail cell panning by with the sounds of the heavy metal doors slamming shut.

“There has to be a sheriff. But is he the typical ride-to-the-rescue type or is he going to get offed easy in the movie??? Maybe he also is not what he seems.”

5) Bob “The Mexican” – A single paint can falls over, spilling its contents all over the place.

“Well now, this one COMPLETELY intrigues me. First off, you can NEVER go wrong with the name Bob. It is a regal and powerful name 🙂 This character is so open to interpretation that it really gets me wanting to know more, more, MORE!”

6) Oswaldo Mobray “The Little Man” – A small suit sways back and forth.

“Ummm, what? Is there a midget businessman in this? Well now, that could prove to be interesting.”

7) Joe Gage ” The Cow Puncher” – Kitchen or bar with a beer bottle going buy and what looks to be a knife going into what looks to be an apple.

“I don’t know what to think about this one. Does he just punch cows for no reason? Strange hobby. Assuming there was no such things as PETA back then. Maybe it means something different that I’m not getting. Looks that he may like beer, apples and knives. Alrighty then.”

8) General Sandy Smithers “The Confederate” – A confederate flag waving back and forth through the wind like it’s on a field of war.

“Sandy? Is that a girl’s name? Or a guy’s? It can go either way. Hmmmm. Some military thrown into the mix of the 8. Fascinating collection of Old West character types. But I have a feeling they are going to either break those stereotypes completely OR they are going to blow up their characters into way over-the-top versions of what we usually see in these types of movies.”

THEN

Numbers come in one over the other from 1 to 8 and even MORE BLOOD!!!

The curious words “8 Make Hate” come on screen.

Which then deconstructs into the movie’s name “The H8teful 8”

Then snow and pleasant whistling.

To end on rising sound effects as “2015” appears.

Wow, this trailer has absolutely got me excited. It used the power of the “Less Is More” mentality. If they would have just shown the actual characters I would have watched half heartedly, but now I almost HAVE to know who these people are and how they are connected in their “HATE”.

Amazing trailer. It completely sold me on the movie. It has hypnotized me. I must watch it when it comes out.

Must watch.

Must watch.

Must watch.

Unfiltered Cool

Bigfoot (AKA Shad):

The nickname “The Cow Puncher” alone makes me want to see the movie… Feel free to use that quote on the movie posters, Weinstein Company.

This trailer worked for me because it did something different and it has a great style to it—merging graphic novels with a The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, spaghetti-western vibe. The music and graphics together just oozed cool. And that’s what I want from my Tarantino: Unfiltered Cool.

More than anything, I love the focus on character over action here. I would argue that focus actually makes this trailer more telling than most.

Typically movie trailers are just fast cuts that make no sense to the viewer out of context. This one is entirely focused on people. It’s all about setup and characters, which I really appreciate in the age of Transformers noise and excess. Don’t sell me on the noise; sell me on the plot and the people.

I’m a Tarantino fan (think I’ve liked all his movies with this one potentially being my favorite) so I’m on board no matter what. But the boldness of this teaser fills me with hope we’ll see more of the wild, go-for-broke style of Kill Bill—which also featured a great, blood-soaked animated sequence.

After this trailer, I’m all in on The Hateful Eight.