10 Horror Movie Ads from the 1980s That Lied to Us

1984 Publishing
1984 Publishing

If one of the joys of being a horror fan in the 1980s was being seduced by the shocking and lurid come-ons in the newspaper advertisements for these movies, one of the downers was going to the theater and not getting all those ads promised. In the quest to sell tickets, movie marketing often exaggerated what the films themselves had to offer, and occasionally they flat-out lied to us. Here are 10 examples, culled from my new book Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s, available now from 1984 Publishing.

1. ALMOST HUMAN (1980)

1984 Publishing

Distributor Joseph Brenner was a frequent purveyor of Italian fright flicks in the U.S., but when he got ahold of a 1975 crime thriller called Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare (Milan Hates: The Police Cannot Shoot), he decided not to trust the appeal of its action and sold it as some kind of creature feature.

2. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1980)

1984 Publishing

While the vengeful heroine of this notorious rape-revenge film does wreak horrible revenge on the men who assaulted her, Jerry Gross Organization’s copy still fibbed a bit: She dispatches only four guys, and not one of them is burned.

3. THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN (1981)

1984 Publishing

Months before the official Halloween II hit theaters, Group 1 tried to con fans of John Carpenter’s hit original by passing off an Aussie psycho-thriller initially titled Snapshot (directed by Simon Wincer, who would go on to helm Free Willy and TV’s Lonesome Dove) as a sequel.

4. BEYOND THE FOG (1981)

1984 Publishing

Released around the same time as The Day After Halloween, here’s another faux Carpenter knockoff, courtesy of Independent-International. This one wasn’t even a new movie; it was a 1972 British production first released at home as Tower of Evil and in the States under that moniker as well as Horror on Snape Island.

5. NIGHTMARE (1981)

1984 Publishing

21st Century Distribution’s initial ads for this slasher bloodfest credited gore-makeup god Tom Savini as its “Special Effects Director.” But according to Savini, he only served as a consultant, and the text was altered in the later print promos.

1984 Publishing

6. SCREAMERS (1982)

1984 Publishing

This New World Pictures ad should come with a warning all right, but one about its dishonesty: You will not, in fact, see a man turned inside out at any point in this Italian import, originally known as Island of the Fish Men.

7. DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. (1982)

1984 Publishing

In addition to being a “bloodthirsty, homicidal killer,” Aquarius Releasing claimed the doc to be a “depraved, sadistic rapist.” The truth is, he is neither of these, nor does he make house calls; he’s a scientist creating zombies deep in a tropical island jungle.

8. MORTUARY (1983)

1984 Publishing

Though a mortuary does figure into the plot, this is actually a slasher film (with none other than a young Bill Paxton as the psycho). But by the time it opened, the stalk-and-kill genre was running out of gas, so Film Ventures International misleadingly sold it in both the print ads and trailers as a back-from-the-dead opus.

9. CHOPPING MALL (1986)

1984 Publishing

Read the fine print on this Concorde Pictures ad: The menace terrorizing young people in a galleria after hours is not the grotesque humanoid that image promises, but a trio of security robots running amok.

10. SATURDAY THE 14TH STRIKES BACK (1989)

1984 Publishing

Here’s a different kind of lie. Concorde Pictures took out this ad in the New York area, giving the impression the film was being released there—but according to those who went looking for it at the time, the movie didn’t actually play at those theaters!

Growing up in the 1980s, Michael Gingold became obsessed with horror movies, and his love of the genre led him to become a Fangoria writer and editor for nearly 30 years, as well as a Rue Morgue contributor. But before all that, he took his scissors to local newspapers, collecting countless ads for horror movies, big and small. Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s is a year-by-year deep dive into the Gingold archive, with more than 450 ads.

1984 Publishing

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The 10 Best Shark Movies of All Time, According to Rotten Tomatoes

MCA/Universal Home Video
MCA/Universal Home Video

If the ongoing popularity of shark films has taught us anything, it’s that we simply can’t spend enough screen time with these predators, who can famously ruin a beach day with one swift gnash of their teeth. And even if shark attacks are far less common than Hollywood would have us believe, it’s still entertaining to watch a great white stalk an unsuspecting fictional swimmer—or, in the case of 2013’s Sharknado, whirl through the air in a terrifying cyclone.

To celebrate Shark Week this week, Rotten Tomatoes has compiled a list of the best shark movies of all time, ranked by aggregated critics' score. Unsurprisingly topping the list is Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws, which quite possibly ignited our societal fixation on great white sharks. The second-place finisher was 2012’s Kon-Tiki, based on the true story of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s harrowing voyage across the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft in 1947.

If you did happen to write off Sharknado as too kitschy to be worth the watch, you might want to reconsider—it ranks sixth on the list, with a score of 78 percent, and its 2014 sequel sits in ninth place, with 61 percent. The list doesn’t only comprise dramatized shark attacks. In seventh place is Jean-Michel Cousteau’s 2005 documentary Sharks 3D, a fascinating foray into the real world of great whites, hammerheads, and more.

But for every critically acclaimed shark flick, there’s another that flopped spectacularly. After you’ve perused the highest-rated shark films below, check out the worst ones on Rotten Tomatoes’ full list here.

  1. Jaws (1975) // 98 percent
  1. Kon-Tiki (2012) // 81 percent
  1. The Reef (2010) // 80 percent
  1. Sharkwater (2007) // 79 percent
  1. The Shallows (2016) // 78 percent
  1. Sharknado (2013) // 78 percent
  1. Sharks 3D (2004) // 75 percent
  1. Open Water (2004) // 71 percent
  1. Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014) // 61 percent
  1. Jaws 2 (1978) // 60 percent

[h/t Rotten Tomatoes]