Remix Culture: The Recut Trailer

22 03 2010

Sometimes, when an idea pops out of the ether, people look at it and simultaneously begin nodding their heads. “Yes,” they say to themselves, “this is right. I can’t believe no one thought of this before.” This is pretty much the case for the internet phenomenon of the recut trailer.

According to the infallible Wikipedia, the first recut trailer (or the first recut trailer to gain notoriety) was released in 2003. It was a mash-up of elements from Kill Bill and The Passion of the Christ entitled Kill Christ. While it’s not the funniest thing in the world, it illustrates the appealing concept behind trailer recutting. It’s fairly easy for anyone with Windows Media Maker and a soothing baritone voice to make one. It points out elements of the original movie in a new light, emphasizes, and subverts them. It lets us display our pop-culture savvy. And it viciously toys with the strange, mercenary, commercial artistry that is involved in editing trailers together. The seed had been planted.

In 2005, Robert Ryang‘s recut of the trailer to the Shining won him a contest with the Association of Independent Creative Editors, made him internet-famous, and created the outline for the recut trailer as we now know it. Through the use of skilled editing, misleading voiceovers, and background music, Ryang changed The Shining from a psychological thriller to a family-heavy light comedy, thus proving the ambiguity of visual images.


And the internet looked and saw that it was good. Then, they immediately began applying the same concept to other films. This recut of Taxi Driver into a romance about a lonely guy trying to find his place in the world. Which it is, in a way, I guess. But the recut trailer makes it look much more sentimental, and much less paranoid and shooty. This recut skillfully uses the film’s best known lines, and makes them fit with the new genre in an immensely satisfying way. In my opinion, this may be the peak of the artform.

This recut of Office Space turns it from a dark comedy into just plain dark.

The jokes about homoerotic overtones in Top Gun are a dime a dozen. The joke is never better realized than in this recut, where swelling music and clever editing turn super-macho staredowns between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer into lovelorn glances.

We all knew the concept behind Mrs. Doubtfire was creepy. We also always knew that Robin Williams was creepy. But for some reason, we let it slide. But you cannot deny that the movie advertised in this trailer appears to be the scariest thing ever. The editing on this is particularly good, especially with the rapid cuts between Robin Williams/Mrs. Doubtfire at the end.

Not the greatest recut in the world. In fact, not even on of the better ones. But something about the look of horror on the children’s faces always brings a smile to mine.

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2 responses

22 04 2010
Dave

Yo Man! Very Nice! A lot of great ideas we can all relate to! Nice choice of videos as well :)!

4 05 2010
They Tampered in God’s Domain: Nick Madison « Unhipster

[…] it won’t replace “The White Album” on the market. Re-cut editions of “The Shining” trailer don’t affect either the value of the original trailer or the movie itself. The Asylum is able […]

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