Friday, April 21, 2006


Tiny Ads

On Fridays -- in the days before widespread basic cable and home video -- when the major movie studios were opening their films with full page or even two-page ads in The New York Times, the low-budget studio might barely be able to afford more than a three inch ad to announce its film. There was always something that attracted me to the smaller ads. What kind of film could only afford such a tiny ad? Well, they were usually horror films -- the kind you would never hear from again. But these films intrigued me, and I even cut out, and saved a few of the ads -- and have then to this day. Films such as: Terror in the Forest, Night of the Zombies, When the Screaming Stops, Psycho from Texas, the double bill of Driller Killer and Drive-In Massacre, Night of the Bloody Apes, Basket Case, Kill and Go Hide, Cathy's Curse, Axe, Don't Go in the Woods, and Piranha II: The Spawning (which, by the way, was James Cameron's directorial debut). To my knowledge the film that holds the record for the smallest opening day ad ever is The Devonsville Terror -- the entire ad measuring no more that an inch and a half. But these films, and these ads, are testament to a bygone era of moviegoing. These were the types of films that played in independently owned neighborhood movie theaters for a week or two. Then the homevideo market claimed them as its own, and these movies became known as "direct-to-video" products. These kinds of films don't open in theaters any longer. So tiny ads are no longer purchased in newspapers to announce them.

Eventhough many people think Blair Witch wasn't good, the newspaper ads were cool, stating that Blair Witch did for the woods what Psycho did for the shower.
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