Jordan Peele had a similar problem with Get Out. Once Chris is being prepped for surgery, there’s all sorts of sci-fi imagery, but that’s all spoilers. If you limit yourself to imagery before the twist, what do you have? Ultimately, they settled on a good image (predicated on a great lead performance): Chris freaking out with a tear running down his face. We’re not sure he’s been hypnotized, but clearly someone is doing something to him, maybe to his mind.
But before they settled on that image, they played around with a few more. There’s one image that the production company Blumhouse insisted on putting in the trailer despite the fact that it had already been cut from the movie. Originally, Chris spent more time in the Sunken Place, and took his lighter out of his pocket (which doesn’t make sense to me). It illuminated a skeleton-deer lunging at him. Says Peele in the Deleted Scenes commentary:
- This deer was—they used it in the trailer, and full transparency, I requested that they didn’t, but they felt that it would help entice the audience, the horror audience, and it worked, so kudos to them. I knew some people would be disappointed when they don’t see this deer, but also kind of knew they wouldn’t be disappointed was because the main reason I cut this was because it didn’t look good. I would have to put more money into it, effects wise, and it didn’t seem essential to tell the story. It might be a losing battle.
Indeed, it does look pretty bad, and confuses the idea of what the sunken place is. It isn’t needed for the movie …but was it needed in the trailer? Blumhouse thought so. You need a lot of imagery for a modern rapid-cut trailer, perhaps more imagery than you need for the movie itself.
When you write a movie you need to think of the poster or trailer, and when you write a book you need to think of the cover. You need imagery that shows your genre in a unique and appealing way. Tomorrow, we’ll look at another image they used to promote the movie that was mostly cut from the movie itself, and which exemplifies another rule.