Black Mirror – Season Four

As the holidays fast approach, one thinks to oneself – what a wonderful world. As is Netflix, which recently posted an series trailer (in addition to seven shorter promotional reels) for season four of its dystopian delight, Black Mirror.

On cue in the tradition of the creepy cover song, Louis Armstrong’s classic “What a Wonderful Worldserves as the aural counterpoint to the hellish visions this trailer presents in its second half. Interestingly, not only has this particular song already been used for this purpose, it was done in this year, as part of Geostorm’s campaign. Moreover, the latter with its theme of environmental catastrophe arguably has greater reason for the song’s use, given Armstrong’s musing of “skies of blue” and “clouds of white.”

But, back to Black: It’s a snappy, two-part, two-minute affair, opening first with an original track by an unknown composer. A more conventional, expected piece for Black Mirror aficionados, the dulcet bell tones of an arpeggiated minor chord immediately spells intrigue for the audioviewer as the off-screen narrator laments a world of “injustice, intolerance, and huge environmental challenges” – immediately reminding us of the oft-disconcerting plausibility of happenstances between the series’ world and our own.

A modal change in the music with the entrance of the piano accompanies a custom Netflix studio logo; a skittish rhythm leaves you guessing as to where the down beat exactly is, in contrast to the assertions of the voiceover that the on-screen character is “going to be fine.”

At 0:40 we get a buildup and a rhetorical question: “How long can the happiness last, anyhow?” At 0:43, cue the cover.

It’s yet to be determined whether the featured cover/licensed song is at the tail end of its current moment in trailers: “What a Wonderful World” works best for this Black Mirror trailer when held in consideration of its release date; on December 29th, most viewers will be in the throes of the holidays. Foregrounding that contrast in mood between the holidays and everything that is Black Mirror is nothing if not a clever move, even if the way it does so comes across as somewhat shoehorned in. 

 

– Curtis Perry

 

Infinity War

 

Marvel’s hotly-anticipated Infinity War trailer is finally here, racking up 31 million views on YouTube on Marvel’s channel alone in the fifteen hours since its initial release (with this statistic already sure to be laughably outdated by the time you’re reading this).

That being said, the most mainstream trailer of the year within the most mainstream genre and cinematic universe in cinema offers a special kind of opportunity to answer a hypothetical question: what does the audiovisual editing for such a trailer sound a look like? Does it look like what one might expect, given the various analyses on this blog or a passing familiarity with the modern tropes of trailer editing?

On cue, at 0:05 we get the nigh-requisite single, reverb-laden piano note against a shot of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) looking stricken with grief. The piano continues in a minor key; brooding drone synth enters at 0:22 for a brief moment, only for the piano to pick up again and continue. It enters again in full force around 0:30 as the now-class Marvel title card, with its flipping pages, hits.

At 0:38 brass enters, trumpeting a heroic fanfare against the Marvel Studios card. At 0:45 we are clearly into the second third of this classically 2:24-length trailer, with staccato strings cranking out minor thirds in a steady pulse. At 0:58 the epic drums and brass come in. An occasionally thump from a synthesizer in the bass sticks out as somewhat novel in what is otherwise standard epic music fare. From 1:28-1:30 we are given a (very brief) respite from the action, only for it to pick up again in sync with Iron Man’s landing.

As we audioview the montage unfolding over the various superheroes we’ve come to know over the past ten years of the Marvel cinematic universe, we hear a monologue by this fim’s big baddie, Thanos (Josh Brolin), mirroring to some extent the monologue by various Avengers in the first third. ­

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this trailer’s music is that there no cover to be found here: instead Alan Silvestri, who penned the original Avengers theme, is back to score this film, and this theme is front and centre in this trailer. It first appears with a sombre twist, alluding in some way to the broken-up state of the team following Civil War; by the end, however, things have come full circle, with the classic theme given full billing.

In some sense, then, this trailer plays it very safe with respect to musical choices: it’s the Avengers theme for an Avengers movie. On the other hand, it goes very much against the popular move that is trailerizing a well-known tune for nostalgic leverage. Perhaps Marvel knew that the Avengers theme does, at this point, carry a certain amount of leverage all its own, and that it serves as a musical counterbalance of sorts to the massively cross-over visual narrative.

 - Curtis Perry

 

Breaking Bad

It’s been four long years since the world stood witness to the transformation of Walter White from Mr. Chips to Scarface. Ahead of its final season, Breaking Bad released a thoughtful, cryptic trailer that teased the inevitable black hole of destruction that the series all but promised in its inception. The trailer features Bryan Cranston’s character Walter White—once a chemistry teacher, now the mastermind behind a drug empire—reciting Percy Shelley’s poem Ozymandias as time lapses of the series’ most recognizable settings rush by. The sonnet serves as lyrics, underpinned by subtle synthesizers that feel more textural than harmonic. The trailer is both a prophecy, heralded by the maker of his own demise, and an epitaph.

The trailer begins with the sun rising over desolate fields outside of Albuquerque. Cranston’s voice cuts through the nothingness, “I met a traveller from an antique land who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert…” There is a distinct element of omnipotence in hearing Walter White, disembodied, surveying familiar landscapes as he monologues. His tone is calm and sombre. Beneath beats a slow but steady pulse. The beat sounds like a bass drum picked up by a muffled or perhaps damaged microphone. The sounds of winds emerge, exposed, filtered and subtly manipulated.

“Near them, on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.”

Here, Cranston’s voice becomes increasingly menacing. His inflection on the phrase “sneer of cold demand” has a hint of distain. His tone becomes darker still, practically spitting “the hand that mocked them.” A low bassy synthesizer fills out the bottom end, playing a subtle two note pattern. The understated layering combined with Cranston’s soothing yet disconcerting tone captures the audience’s ear as the time lapses continue to wash over.

“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!’”

Cranston summons the wrath that characterized Walter White. The wind sounds have decayed into white noise, growing louder as Cranston’s performance grows more powerful.

“Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

The noise cuts away dramatically as Cranston’s voice returns to its sombre tenor. The camera pans in the desert as the sun sets. Heisenberg’s fedora lay alone in the stretch of sand.

The metaphor for Walter White’s narrative comes full circle.

 

– Andrew Sproule

The X-Files: Season 11

First premiering at New York Comic Con about a month ago, Fox debuted its first look trailer for The X-Files’ eleventh season, and the second since its initial reprise in 2016 following some fourteen years’ absence on the small screen.

Following a somewhat clever title card where the “F” and “O” in “FOX” dissolve, we immediately hear the classic X-Files theme, meandering synth, whistling and all, and a general release date of “2018” is presented. This is a bit notable in itself as the trailer seems to rush to get to its own point (release window and theme song) before continuing.

The trailer proper, then, begins at 0:23 in as we hear the sotto voce voice of Scully (Gillian Anderson) calling out to her colleague and series partner, Mulder (David Duchovny) beneath a single, sombre string tone. The first piano notes ring out at the black screen gives way to a bird’s eye view of a highway.

“I’m here to offer you a deal… civilisation is in its final stages,” intones an unknown, off-screen voice, as we see various slow-motion shots of Mulder and Scully investigating here and there. A tilt-shift effect at 0:50 emphasizes the sense of scale and gravitas of the situation, painting the whole of humanity as though it were a mass of ants.

At 1:01, the proverbial half-way rule in trailer editing kicks in and we are privy to a breakneck montage of scenes that, presumably, offer a tantalizing preview of the season to come. Huge synths crash in and at 1:17 we hear a lyric sung that probably wouldn’t be immediately recognizable to most: Bardi Johannssohn sings “in your head,” backed by The Void, against symphonic arco strings and blaring, deep washes of synth, repeating it over and over against various dialogue amongst the cast.

At 1:39 things seem to come to a head as a synth tone escapes the sonic fray, rising higher and higher, leaving Scully in a hospital bed, speaking again to Mulder in a whisper, providing a satisfying sense of return to the way the trailer began. The trailer ends with final sequences of action shots, set against an almost contrapuntally plaintive piano, and finally a reprise of the title, studio, and release date cards.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this trailer is the way it emphatically does not hit the audioviewer over the head with its choice of cover song. It is reasonable to believe that most people could not identify the use of the song Zombie by The Cranberries (an appropriately quintessentially 90’s track for a quintessentially 90’s TV series) in this trailer, but there it is being used – arguably, very tastefully and effectively so.

 

– Curtis Perry

Castle Rock

This is Stephen King’s dilapidated world, and we’re all just living in it – or rather, witnessing it from the comfort of our living rooms. It seems every new release as of late is attached to the omnipotent author of psychological horror. The teaser trailer for Hulu’s upcoming collaboration with master of mystery J. J. Abrams titled “Castle Rock” reveals exceptionally little about the plot, instead choosing to deal exclusively in themes and subtle nods to King’s body of work. The series is named after a fictional town in Maine which serves as the backdrop for some of King’s most revered novels and is frequently referenced in his canon; the town serves as foundation for the multiverse in which his stories inhabit. With only one line of dialogue in the trailer, the music does all the talking.

The downbeat cues the familiar Bad Robot title card, immediately signalling to the audience to expect the obscuring of plot that has become eponymous with the J. J. Abrams brand. The music begins with two synthesizers played an octave apart, the lower claims the slow moving melody while the higher sustains its note for the duration of the entire trailer, serving as a drone. The percussion beat evokes the second hand on a ticking clock, accompanied by a bassy heartbeat. Together, combined with imagery of capital punishment by lethal injection at 0:05, a hearse at 0:33, and an autopsy 0:58, the music conjures themes of death and the shortness of time.

The trailer cuts between scenes to the beat of the music, slowly at first, gradually becoming more frequent as the music intensifies and the imagery grows more violent and intense, increasing the suspense exponentially. 0:16 marks the first shift in the music, subtly turning up the gain on the synthesizers, leaving the clean sound behind in favour of a distorted more granular sound. At 0:20, an old missing child poster appears, a likely nod to the posters that littered the walls of the recent 2017 adaptation of King’s “It.” At 0:23, a close shot of a finger presses a key on a decrepit piano covered in dust and cobwebs, cuing a faint cymbal.

0:30 marks the second shift in music as J. J. Abrams names appears on the screen. Strings soar as the percussion picks up, maintaining the tempo with a steady pulse like literal clockwork. At 0:48, a sound like a jet engine begins revving up, quietly at first, and then faster and faster – you can picture the audio engineer manually sliding the faders on the mixer board. At 0:53, a prisoner played by Bill Skarsgard peers out a slot in his prison cell – you might recognize him from your dreams, as he has been haunting them since his portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in “It.”

At 0:58, the music cuts and the screen goes black. The nothingness is penetrated by Skarsgard’s voice, “You have no idea what’s happening here, do you?” A guttural rolling synth sound emerges as a car submerges under dark waters, labeled “Shawshank Department of Corrections.” The Shawshank Redemption is of course based on a short story penned by King. And to answer your question, Mr. Skarsgard: No, we truly have no idea what’s happening here.

Castle Rock premieres in 2018.

 

– Andrew Sproule

X-Men: The New Mutants

As we begin to enter the holiday release window for some of 2017’s biggest films, trailers have naturally begun to focus on 2018’s slate. In some ways extending on the premise presented in this year’s Logan, X-Men: The New Mutants extends the X-Men franchise in yet another direction, this time promising something more akin to what one would expect from a horror film. 

Right away, the tone is bleak, grim, and downright spooky: as the camera slowly opens from black to a pan down a decrepit hallway in a non-descript, abandoned building, a cascade of atonal, buzzing synth tones slowly creeps upward in pitch as yet more layers in the bass are added. As an additional shot fades in on a graveyard, the swollen pitch then subsides. At 0:23, as the 20th Century Fox studio card enter, the musical premise is revealed: a children’s choir intones, “we don’t need no education,” an immediately recognizable lyrics and melodic line from Pink Floyd’s seminal classic, “Another Brick in the Wall.” At 0:32 we get the classic, sharp sound of what may be a waterphone, another acoustic marker germane to the horror genre. 

At 0:35 the next line enters, now with added bass synth: “we don’t need no thought control,” the choir sings, as we see a massive control room where children (mutants, presumably) appear to be held in secure lockdown. From 0:38 to 0:44 we hear a classic, sharp ascent and crescendo in all of the instruments as the narrator asks an unnamed, off-screen character, “one last question.” At 0:44, just a menacing, claustrophobic rumble in the bass remains, only for the Marvel title card to provide a jump scare of sorts at 0:45 alongside a huge aural hit to announce the second half of the trailer.

From 0:46 onwards we hear a more pulsing pattern in the bass as the narrator’s voice switches to the voice of one of the children. The bass alternates up and down a minor third while the strings jarringly remain on the high end of their range, and the choir continues chanting the /lyrics of “Another Brick in the Wall.”

After another massive build-up from 1:02-1:10 as the narrator tells the mutants that “all of [them] are dangerous,” we are introduced to what appears to be a diegetic banging sound coming from an old washing machine, with other sound effects that are unclear as to whether they originate from the sound-world of the visual. At 1:22 we get another jump scare, opening from there to a montage with a classic “heartbeat” rhythm pulsing underneath the proceedings. As the interspersed titles promise “something new to fear,” the choir returns, chanting “leave those kids alone,” alongside many other instruments and frenetic action, almost drowned out by the greater spectacle. The “we don’t need no education” line returns once more for the main title card, which notably uses a font similar to the one on the album cover of The Wall, not too subtly leaning in on the artistic and emotional cachet of the cover song.

The use of Pink Floyd’s lyrics and the iconic melody they accompany are part of a larger, current trend in trailers that could be deemed the “trailerization” of a song. It’s easy to see why this technique appear to be so in vogue and attractive to trailer music editors: one can leverage the nostalgic power and recognisability of any particular popular song, while editing it in a convincing way so as to best fit the demands of a trailer’s visual narrative. Only time will tell if and when this trend exits the mainstream, or how it may yet evolve.

 – Curtis Perry

Hangman

If it wasn’t for the October 2017 timestamp below the YouTube video player, I would have put money on Hangman being a forgotten ‘90s classic. Stop me if this sounds familiar: a thriller about a senior detective and a criminal profiler who are dragged into an investigation when a serial killer leaves cryptic clues that indicate that his recent murder spree is somehow tied to the detective himself. The detective in question is played by none other than Al Pacino. Oh, and for good measure, the trailer is set to The Animal’s “House of the Rising Sun,” performed by Geordie.

Hangman pulls from the playbooks of the crime films that defined the genre to deliver a film that feels like it was plucked from a different era, shamelessly pandering to an audience who cites David Fincher’s Se7en as their favourite film and have seen Silence of the Lambs more times than they’d care to admit. Full disclosure: I’m in that camp. Beyond its nostalgic value, House of the Rising Sun is used to colour Pacino’s character as complicated and grey, painting a silhouette of a man who is not without his regrets.

The trailer begins with the two detectives staking out a dive bar. The music features prominent male vocals humming the chord progression for House of the Rising Sun. The music is so loud here that it is difficult to make out the dialogue – a stylistic choice that is true of the entire trailer. At 0:15, as Pacino’s character is informed that his badge number was etched into a desk at the scene of the serial killer’s most recent murder, the lyrics sing, “It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy.” At 0:20, the music cuts out for the first and only time in the trailer, just long enough for the criminal profiler to declare, “We got a serial killer.”

When the music returns two seconds later, it is fleshed out with drums and guitars. The detectives discover that the killer is toying with them, playing a game of hangman written with the blood of his victims. Again, the music dominates the sonic space, putting as much if not more weight on the lyrics of the song. At 0:37 it becomes clear that Pacino’s character is encumbered by the weight of the murders. The trailer communicates this to the audience simultaneously through dialogue and the music. Exasperated, Pacino exclaims, “Because of me, this whole game is taking place.” At the same time, the lyrics of the song echo, “Spend your lives in sin and misery, in the house of the rising sun.”

At 0:49, the electric guitar takes over and solos as action flies across the screen. At 1:02, the singing has taken to new decibel heights, totally overshadowing the dialogue. Geordie’s rendition of the song is rife with emotion. Frontman Brian Johnson, who later went on to front AC/DC after Bon Scott died, sings powerfully, “There is a house in New Orleans, that they call the rising sun. And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy, and God I know I’m one.” The climax of the song is thunderous (insert Thunderstruck pun here), syncing the music with the onscreen action, ending with a fiery explosion, as trailers often do.

 

– Andrew Sproule

 

The Last Jedi

This past Monday, Lucasfilm and Disney kicked off the week by dropping the most revealing trailer yet for the much anticipated follow up in the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi. Already sitting at twenty-seven million views for the officially uploaded YouTube video alone, the trailer serves to propel the campaign into its final two-month stretch until release. As usual, the judicious use of music that blends series themes new and old factors heavily into this trailer’s appeal.

A fade in at the beginning syncs with a quick glissando of a harp, leading into a trademark shroud of mysterious string tones, generally shifting around a minor chord, to set the mood. A deep, gravelly voice-over offscreen addresses an unnamed person; however, as scenes of the First Order’s militia go by, it’s heavily implied to be part of a conversation between Snoke and Kylo Ren. Throughout this monologue, cavernous piano notes spell out a simple minor key melody. Yet, just as Snoke says there is “something truly special,” and Kylo picks up his lightsaber, we cut to Rey, who is the one to turn hers on, rather than Kylo. This is the primary question and conflict explored throughout the trailer — will Rey succumb to the dark side?

At 0:29 we get the Lucasfilm title card and some menacing, staccato low strings that sound suspiciously like the Imperial March — but it’s not. Triplets overlay atop this established beat as a dialogue between Rey and Luke (whom we hear for the first time since Return of the Jedi) ensues. Curiously, the cellos and basses occasionally dip down a fourth and up to the minor third before settling back into the pedal tone, strongly resembling, again, the melodic contour of the Imperial March. At 0:45, Rey’s swings of the lightsaber lock in step with the rhythm, first with two dotted quarters, and then in triplets. Even the bass hum of the lightsaber fits the key.

Shortly afterwards, at 0:48 a choir enters alongside a heroic brass line as we see a montage of the training Rey undergoes with Luke, who sternly warns Rey that he has “seen this raw strength only once before,” as the visuals appear to turn to the scene where Kylo and the Knights of Rea raid Luke’s fledgling Jedi Academy. 

At 1:05, roughly midway through, Kylo’s theme roars on brass as the strings settle on an insistent, pulsing ostinato outlining a minor chord. At 1:28 we get the release date card (“this Christmas”), and a few trademark space scenes, not least including cameos by Chewbacca and the newest addition to the cast, the "porg" — a puffin-like creature native to Ahch-To, the planet where Luke sequestered himself for so long. 

Finally, as a new monologue by Poe Dameron enters, we hear in the musical fray a hint at the classic Binary Suns/ Force theme. At 1:45 the choir returns in truly epic fashion, fairly reminiscent of O Fortuna and the like.  At 1:52 Kylo’s theme returns again with a vengeance; we can hear the complicated struggle amongst the characters, and especially in Rey, through the score; it is abundantly clear now as he finally appear on screen that the narrator at the beginning was in fact Snoke. He compels Rey to “fulfill your destiny”; we can see the intense struggle Rey and Snoke are in, echoing the conflict between Darth Vader and Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, and yet it is a new situation all the same. At 2:11, Rey again asks for help — but this time, it is not Luke, but Kylo Ren listening, as a gentle piano plays the force theme, escalating quickly to a fanfare orchestral flourish at the end with the main title card and the release date of December 15th. 

If nothing else, the plot twists already present in this trailer promises to keep audioviewers guessing as the film approaches release. As usual for this campaign, the trailer's as-yet uncredited sound editors take a mix of themes composed by the venerable John Williams, old and new, and interweaves them in a way that sensibly matches the on-screen action. Most importantly, it musically retains the ambiguity and suspense presented by the drama on screen — who is good? Who will remain on the light side of the force? Stay tuned.


 - Curtis Perry

 

Tomb Raider

While the role was once synonymous with Angelina Jolie, this Tomb Raider reboot features instead Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl). The first trailer, put together by Really Slow Motion sets a resolutely no-frills tone that establishes the kind of ebb and flow of unrelenting action and concise dialogue that one might expect of the final film.

Right away, we are in the midst of action, with Croft running through an unknown forest and a firm establishing bass tone and pulsing synth reflect the action. It is revealed at 0:06 that the offscreen voice is from the next scene, wherein we find Croft checking in at what looks like a hotel of her namesake. Already, through the use of this sound bridge, the audioviewer is privy to both sides of Lara’s life – as heir of fortune, and as lone adventurer. 

After a quick series of shots (with accompanying beats) returning to Croft-as-explorer, we already get the studio title card at 0:12, all four studios sharing a single card, their logos bathed in a bloody red hue. After this, a more established, pulsing bass pattern begins in earnest, with flashbacks providing a bit more exposition regarding Lara’s deceased father and his mysterious past.

At 0:22 we get the first of what will be many repetitions of a thematic riff of the subtonic to the tonic (the home note). The riff serves a similar purpose to any hit sound effect, albeit this variation has a rhythmic upbeat. This riff serves to synchronize the visual narrative throughout the trailer. At 0:26 we hear it again, in sync with the turning on of lights in Lara’s father’s secret study. Key lines of dialogue are subsequently punctuated with the aforementioned riff, such as at 0:32 when Lara’s father (through a pre-recorded video) says “If you’re listening to this, then I must be dead,” punctuating that final word. A gradually rising tone in the background complements this sense of foreboding as footage of Lara listening to her father in interspersed with various action shots.

At 0:45 the riff introduces the title card for the date (“next year,”) and then the footage of a book hitting the desk at 0:47. At this point, it returns at a rate of twice per bar, whereas it was only once before.

At about the halfway mark, the trailer editors may have sensed that the audioviewer might come to expect this riff, so the introduction of a storm scene shakes things up, instead focusing on smooth, suspenseful tones, and sharply cutting to silence at several points: at 1:02 (with a black screen to accompany it), at 1:04 (another black screen), and once more at 1:08, which features instead an epic jump made by Lara into the stormy sea – only to cut to silence and black one more time, at 1:10. One could reasonably argue that this is too much starting and stopping to be dramatically effective – on the other hand, this might be entirely the point, in order to keep the audioviewer truly guessing. 

For the last third of this two minute trailer, we get a montage of tag-line title cards and action shots, spelling out word by word “her legend begins.” The thematic riff returns with these title cards as well. At 1:37 we hear the de-rigueur “power down” sound, and after a literal cliff-hanger, Alicia Vikander’s title card arrives. Interestingly, the last thing we hear before the main title card is her yelp as she makes a leap of faith, foregrounding the fact that this film will follow her struggles. 

At 1:52, a small “post title” scene follows, offering a small comedic twist and a bit of the trademark attitude that series fans know Lara Croft for. Unsurprisingly, but fittingly, the last title card (announcing the date, March 2018) offers that thematic riff one more time. 

The riff plays about twenty-two times throughout the two-minute trailer – and while that might be a bit much for some, repetition can definitely make for a memorable experience.

 - Curtis Perry

 

Murder on the Orient Express

Too often, subtlety and nuance are the collateral damage of trailer houses seeking to instantly connect with their audiences. Character reveals, plot twists, and CGI-laden action-spectacles typify trailers of the 21st century. These trailers are usually accompanied by pop music with some vague connection to the onscreen rollout. In short, these trailers, inadvertently or otherwise, tip their hand. The new trailer for Murder on the Orient Express is invested in maintaining an air of mystery while simultaneously amping up suspense and a sense of wonder. It is a classic whodunit story based on the revered Agatha Christie’s eponymous novel. The trailer masterfully highlights the suspects, shining doubt on each without spoiling the surprise. The trailer is so subtle that you may not have even noticed Imagine Dragons’ song “Believer” lurking in the shadows.

Like a song, the trailer is counted in at the beginning as title cards flash across the screen before the rhythmic sounds of a train start to click along its tracks. The audio is tightly synched with the video as workers prepare the train for its journey. At 0:11, the train’s whistle sounds and the passengers’ doomed voyage begins. Beneath dialogue, the steady beat of “Believer” plays, disguised as train sounds. At 0:27, the music cuts out and is replaced by frenzy as a man screams, the breaks screech, and a gunshot rings.

At 0:31, the detective explains to his fellow passengers onboard, “A passenger has died. He was murdered. The murderer is on the train with us now, and every one of you is a suspect. So let us catch our killer.” Accompanying the monologue, an electric guitar picks a simple chord progression. The camera focuses on each passenger and neon captions appear onscreen, identifying each suspect, as it did in the teaser trailer. 0:47 marks the first instance of “Believer’s” recognizable vocals. However, instead of the hook from the catchy chorus or a recognizable lyric from a verse, a smooth falsetto swell from the song’s harmonies echoes in the valley on which the train is perched.

At 0:48, the guitar begins to repeat the same note over and over as the detective begins interrogating passengers. At 0:57, “Believer’s” melody begins, bowed on the violin. Finally, at 1:06, the familiar percussion from earlier in the trailer resumes, no longer disguised as sounds of the train as it is no longer in motion. From here, the chorus of the song plays out, minus the vocals, as passengers defend themselves and point the finger at each other. As the trailer reaches its climax, the music cuts out for two key lines. The first is spoken at 1:16 by a concerned woman who declares, “I’m sleeping here, where everyone can see me and I can see everyone.” Then, getting in the last word at 1:25, the gangster ironically says, “Do not trust no one. No one.” The title card lands with the downbeat as Imagine Dragons finishes its trailerized song, naked without its vocals, but no less effective.

– Andrew Sproule

Coco

Released September 13th, this longer trailer for Disney Pixar’s Thanksgiving season animated film, Coco, takes a fairly comedic tack throughout, albeit not without some morbid undertones. The animated feature explores the music and culture of Mexico and the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) mythology.

At the outset, we are greeted from the very first moment with a clear acoustic guitar sound, strumming a major chord. We find a boy, Miguel, snooping around in what looks like his family’s attic. In a moment of sync between the nondiegetic guitar and the visual, when his dog, Dante, interrupts him, Miguel gets startled – clearly, he knows he isn’t meant to be there. At 0:12 it is revealed Miguel does in fact have a guitar, and we hear him tuning it up. The sound of the guitar moved fluidly between the sound world of the film and outside of it, and a chord pattern begins at 0:17. At this point, it’s reasonable to say that very few people would be able to readily identify what song is being played. A member of his family asserts “no music,” in juxtaposition against the steady stream of guitar chords in the soundtrack, effectively emphasizing this major plot point in the movie.

At 0:28, after a small pause, strings swell into the foreground and it is possible that the audioviewer could identify the cover song in this trailer. At 0:35, it’s undeniable – the strings play that instantly recognizable melody from The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.” Does the tune fit the movie’s Dia de Muertos theme? Not particularly. Does it matter? That’s up for debate, at least. Granted, the cover is adorned with many flourishes of Spanish style guitar in acknowledgement of this issue, such as the trill of a nylon string guitar at 0:39.

At 0:49, roughly a third of the way through the trailer, we hear a bass-driven sound effect that signals a key moment in the film, plot-wise. At 1;00 we get the title card and the complete arrangement of the song enters, tubular bells, grooving drums and all. Notably, the Spanish guitar often leads the re-entry of the music after it cuts out for stints of dramatic and comedic dialogue, such as at 1:49. Subtle additions of accordion and hand drums further add to the sense of the track as more of a melange of styles, if anything, compared to the firmly 90s Brit pop original.

Near the end of the trailer, perhaps its most comedic moment follows its most dramatic. After Miguel falls from a great height into a pool of water, his hands turned skeletal as a side effect of residing in the world of the dead, we see a clerk hand-waving the fact that he can sneeze despite not having a nose. At 2:17 we are pulled from the repeated chord structure into an energetic, well-differentiated original coda for a short but sweet four seconds.

Rather than assiduously following a firm template for a comedy trailer or an action trailer, this Coco trailer focuses on spectacle, with a soaring soundtrack to complement Pixar's exquisitely advanced, beautiful animation. The music’s repetitiveness is ameliorated through the use of a variety of instrumental additions and adornments. Whether “Bittersweet Symphony” was the best choice for a film about Mexican culture remains a question, but it was used very creatively, weaving its guitar sounds into the plot and introduced very gradually, not unlike the reveal of the world of the dead itself midway through the trailer.

 

– Curtis Perry

 

 

Westeros

Following a flood of reports that HBO will be developing an array of spinoff TV series extending the Game of Thrones universe, a trailer for a new show called Westeros dropped and subsequently went viral. Of course, Westeros is the name of the continent on which the majority of the Game of Thrones story takes place. Yet the Westeros that we’ve become accustomed to is not the Westeros in the trailer; winter has apparently come and gone and in that time cities have cropped up where castles once stood, cars have since replaced horseback, and soldiers have traded in their swords for guns. Indeed, this reimagined Westeros is of the 21st century. However, just as the show’s tagline states, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This trailer is rife with sex, violence, and political turmoil as well as all of the grit and intensity that enamoured audiences to the parent series. There is only one problem: the trailer is complete artifice.

This trailer is actually promotional material for a new season of a Dutch satire called Zondag met Lubach. The strategy here is as genius as it is simple: in the wake of the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones and amidst the anticipation for an official announcement regarding a spinoff, generate over 2.5 million views on an apparent trailer and then release a second video with a comical explanation that they were promoting the wrong show and that wrong show premieres September 10th. This level of scheming is typically reserved for the likes of Tywin Lannister. But how did this trailer pull off the ruse? By perfectly capturing the style of Game of Thrones through picture and sound.

The trailer opens with an Inception-like braaam sound, produced by a bowed cello and a percussive strike. A blonde man with a British accent who looks suspiciously like a Lannister says to a cheering audience, “Trust me, fear cuts deeper than swords.” The cello continues, outlining a more defined musical idea, one that is dramatic and severe. The screen cuts to a birdseye view of a busy city intersection and the narrator says, “Look at this prodigious world… it has changed.” The scene pans to a large decrepit statue, which Game of Thrones fans will recognize as the once mighty Titan of Braavos. The scene changes to an enormous wall of ice that runs parallel to a highway. The scene shifts again to the Iron Throne preserved in a glass enclosure. With each fleeting reference to the Game of Thrones universe, sharp snare drums accentuate the reveal.

At 0:29 the percussion begins to roll across the toms and a faint marimba teases a familiar theme. A girl’s voice whispers, “I’m scared” and a sign reads “Targaryen Square,” cuing another percussive strike. The British man reappears, this time over a broadcast with a caption that reads “Prime Minister Lannister,” confirming earlier inklings. He continues, “But I can assure you, there is nothing to fear.” The percussion continues to ramp up as high heels step out of a car, followed by Direwolf paws. At 0:46 an ominous voice says, “The long night is coming and the dead will come with it.” Prime Minister Lannister responds emphatically, “There is nothing behind the wall.” His voice echoes across the auditorium and the music cuts out.

At 0:54, the cello returns and finally plays the Game of Thrones theme we’ve all been waiting for. Heavily armed men, a wintery storm, and a sex scene flash across the screen before an elderly man asks a hooded figure, “Are you prepared to ignite?” A dragon casts a dark shadow overtop a cityscape and drums beat a steady rhythm before the title card appears on the screen.

The Game of Thrones spinoff that will never be.

 

– Andrew Sproule

It

Due in theaters next Friday, Warner Bros.’ remake of It is based on a 1990 TV mini series that aired on ABC, and of course before that on the original novel by Stephen King, first published in 1986.

The first teaser trailer, released this past March, features the track “Believe”, composed by Joe Bauer of Hi-Finesse Sound. We can already tell from the dark stormy weather and the mysteriously foreboding, slowly arpeggiated piano that something unfortunate will befall our on-screen characters. Sure enough, at 0:23 the boy running down the street gets smacked by a municipal construction barricade, cutting short a swelling string chord. We are sonically teased into believing he is safe. A single piano note and another swelling mass of sound follows as the toy boat eventually falls down the storm sewer, and the sound is cut again at 0:33. It takes a full eight seconds – until 0:41, an eternity in trailer shots – before we are suddenly hit with a wall of cacophonous, thundering sound and the faintest glimpse of what must be the eponymous It, otherwise known as Pennywise the clown.

This is arguably the essence of horror trailer music and sound editing: suspenseful quiet and sudden, shocking sound to jump scare the audioviewer. In a way, it is the inverse of the comedic trailer, where music often drops out so that a punch line or particularly dialogue receives maximum attention, and the music starts again in a way that is fairly smooth and anticipated.

After this initial sequence we get our first title cards at 0:44, which unsurprisingly brings up Stephen King first and foremost. At 0:51 we hear some truly ominous, low tones, and synthesizers that gradually bend downwards in pitch in sinister fashion. It is already apparent through this aural cue that the boy’s life can no longer be the same after his first encounter with It. The strings in the background never quite settle; they are almost microtonally abrasive. At 1:06 we merely hear a child’s voice saying “we all float down here,” with a pitch black background. This is a key moment in the trailer, as the movie It, and its effectiveness of its horror, can be traced back to a fear of the unknown, where our imaginations can get the best of us.

At 1:10 a pulsing synthesizer and a strange synthesized motif consisting of a repeated sequence of three half steps on top begin to overwhelm the audio track, playing louder than the actors’ voices. At 1:33 we hear another percussive hit in the sound, but the music doesn’t end as we might expect it to at this point, playing further with the audioviewer’s expectations. Instead, as the kids go through the old slideshow, accented hits in the lower strings slowly begin to get louder and faster, in tandem with the slideviewer which itself begins to get faster and out of control, its ticking eventually becoming part of the offscreen sonic tapestry of the scene. Finally, a single tick accompanies the date card (“this September”) and we see a new sequence of distorted camera angles and what sounds like someone’s laughing edited to resemble the three-note motif mentioned earlier, with yet another slowly building crescendo. It’s here that we see a montage of what might be some of the film’s most disturbing scenes.

For the last major scene, we see the boy from the first scene chanting “you’ll float too,” and the clearest shot up to that point of Pennywise, screaming and running, presumably towards one of the kids. This opposition of child and killer clown builds on the stock loss-of-innocence motif that haunts horror films (and trailers). The final title cards offers some credits and a promotional social media hashtag, with one last clicking sound from the slideshow viewer.

Constantly playing with aural expectations while providing a sense of narrative cohesion is a challenge that is particularly true for trailers for horror films. The first teaser trailer for It deftly manages this by offering a wide variety of sounds and sound editing techniques within a short time frame.

 

-  Curtis Perry

 

Mindhunter

It only takes a couple of seconds listening to the trailer for the upcoming Netflix series Mindhunter to know unequivocally that this is connected to David Fincher. The trailer lands somewhere between Se7en (1995) and Zodiac (2007), lifting his signature doom and gloom visual style from his infamous ventures into serial killer psychology and marrying it to his more recently developed musical aesthetic, largely characterized by his frequent collaborations with Trent Reznor. Indeed, it doesn’t take a musicologist to hear Reznor’s influence even in the trailer; its soundtrack is heavily processed darkness, mixing conventional and unconventional instrumentation with electronic sounds and clever layering and sparse spaces to elicit a sense of dread while simultaneously telling a story with a full spectrum of emotion through sound.

The audience need not wait long for unconventional instrumentation – the trailer opens with what sounds like a stuttering monotone synth, but is really the diegetic sounds of a sputtering black and white printer as it prints out a photograph of a dead woman. The first instance of dialogue is of an incarcerated man being interviewed by an FBI agent. The inmate explains: “It’s not easy butchering people. It’s hard work. Physically and mentally, I don’t think people realize, you need to vent.” A synth this time plays a long sustained chord, accompanied by noise. He continues, “You know, there’s a lot more like me,” prompting a single thin sounding violin to scratch out a short melodic figure beginning at 0:19. The FBI agent replies, “Do you think so?”

The scene changes and sets up the premise: the series takes place in the late 70s, centered around two FBI agents who are tasked with interviewing inmates to learn about the psyche of serial killers, which we know today as profiling. The lonely violin repeats at 0:34, this time carrying on, elaborating on the motif lazily, ascending and then descending. The timbre has become increasingly shrill and resonates with a dark ring, accentuating gruesome images of murder victims.  At 1:07 the violin repeats again. The dialogue becomes increasingly grave, amping up the nervous energy with narration like “I’m trying to warn you, your attitude is going to bite you in the ass” and “So young to be ruining peoples lives.” At 1:33 deep stuttering synth subtly joins the fray, adding intensity as the screen cuts quickly between scenes and the action continues to ramp up. The music cuts abruptly when a barred prison door shuts at 1:38, echoing with the remnants of the ringing violin and cryptic turn-line narration, “You want truffles? You gotta get in the dirt with the pigs.” The trailer ends with a natural sounding solo violin playing a contrapuntal phrase that becomes engulfed in an intense reverb.

The use of vaguely classical music in creepy contexts is not novel. However, the relentless solo violin becomes analogous to the madness in the narrative, which the audience internalizes. David Fincher makes a case for a directorial style so embedded in the aural that it colours the cinematic experience.

 

– Andrew Sproule

Geostorm

This week, audioviewing the trailer campaign for what is Warner Bros.’ perhaps most risk-laden big-budget cinematic endeavor of the year, Geostorm. Possibly related to its extended and difficult post-production period, the campaign takes almost directly opposite approaches in its first (teaser) and second trailers, and this is reflected by the approach each trailer takes to its music selection.

The teaser trailer for Geostorm, released March 8th this year, aurally places a cover of “What a Wonderful World” (the perennial Louis Armstrong classic), sung and arranged by Sharon Van Etten and Juggernaut Kid. In this cover, the whole tune is slowed down to a creepy crawl, atmospherics taking centre stage. While the vocals are tonally still in a jazz style, the swinging rhythm is replaced by an insistent, straight pulse.

In the first twenty or so seconds of this first trailer, we only hear a few sound effects to convey the action on screen regarding the weather satellites (granted, there wouldn’t be sound in space, but let’s suspend that fact). After the caption card (“controls the world,” at 0:24), we expect to hear a sound to match the tornadoes forming on the ground, but our expectations are subverted as we are greeted with silence. This is a key moment in the trailer: this is when the audioviewer understands that something not only wrong, but catastrophic is about to happen.

Further, the lyrics of ‘What a Wonderful World” are synchronized with the on-screen action to further emphasize the counterpoint between the audio and visual narratives: Van Etten’s serene crooning of “clouds of white” is heard in stark contrast to the white mists of a tumultuously rising tide on a beach, sweeping away hundreds of people.

Cards are judiciously placed between the lyrical phrases, touting first-time director Dean Devlin’s work on Independence Day. A rise in sound takes us from about the thirty second mark onwards, culminating in the explosion of a satellite at 0:58, synching up the word “world” with a shot of the world in question. In the last twenty seconds, the song gives way to alarming tones and the sound of an ever-quickening heartbeat, showing off ever-escalating scenes of destruction, culminating in a frozen plane falling out of the sky. The trailer cuts to black and silence, finishing with the main title card and a vocal reprise of that signature line, “what a wonderful world.”

The ironic, slow-tempo cover song has become, at this point, a somewhat old trick in trailer music production – just look at trailers for The Social Network or the Avengers for a couple of well-known examples. However, it would be remiss to say it doesn’t work for Geostorm in arresting our attention.

Geostorm’s second trailer, dropped roughly a month ago, gives off a very different tone, as we might expect from a second trailer, here walking a fine line between action and comedy. A few bars from the 1967 hit “Time Has Come Today” by The Chambers Brothers kicks off a spate of narrative at 0:22, explaining that the US government has taken to geoengineering through the use of sophisticated weather satellites. However, this quickly turns to SFX as the audioviewer is made to understand that the satellites have begun to malfunction – unintentionally or not. A subtle, ongoing ticking sound—think of the final trailer to Dunkirk—continues in the background, suggesting grave danger if action isn’t taken swiftly to mitigate the threat.

Around 0:45 we hear orchestral swells as the main character, a father, must go to space to investigate the weather satellite issue, assuring his daughter that he will be fine. The established dramatic tone, however, oddly turns on a dime at 0:44 as “Time Has Come Today” comes roaring back -- for a moment.

The audio editing gets more creative at this point, as I am fairly sure the just the word “time” from the Chambers Brothers song is interjected amidst an original ticking clock sound against the on-screen audio from various action scenes. At 1:33 the release date card arrives at roughly mid-trailer, and “Time Has Come Again” comes (again), this time with bass and percussion featuring much higher in the mix. It seems that some instruments have been overlaid or re-recorded, as the guitar seems to be much heavier and more distorted than in the original, at least.

By the two minute mark, it becomes clear that the vocals are just shouting “time” over and over -- perhaps a sample from, or a recreation of, the original song’s vocals. Some one-liners occasionally interrupt the tune, but it comes back to finish off the rise before the turn line.

Coincidentally, this second trailer seems to reflect the fact that Geostorm has seen three years of filming and another director brought in entirely (Danny Cannon, Judge Dredd) for upwards of $15 million worth of re-shoots. The trailer turns on a dime between trailer editing tropes associated with action, comedy, and drama, in roughly that order. A real storm, indeed.

 

-  Curtis Perry

Ready Player One

2017’s nostalgia train keeps on chugging along as we take a look and a listen to the trailer for Ready Player One. With Spielberg at the helm of the self-proclaimed holy grail of pop culture by Ernest Cline, expectations for the film are decidedly high. And the trailer has all the telltale signs of a blockbuster: popular culture references, extraordinary CGI, exciting action sequences, loud sound FX, and a few noteworthy actors… The only thing absent from the trailer is an attempt at a plot. In fact, there is so much going on in this trailer besides a discernible narrative that you’d think you were watching a collaboration between Michael Bay and Zack Snyder. Somehow, amidst the chaos, the music finds a way to ground the trailer.

Though the film is indeed directed by Steven Spielberg, the audience will have to adjust to a Williams-less score—the composer was too busy working on another Spielberg film. Nevertheless, the audience’s ears will be in the capable hands of Alan Silvestri, who is known for his work on films including the Back to the Future franchise and the Avengers films.

The trailer opens with strings, followed by silence as protagonist Wade Watts narrates, setting the scene for a dystopian Ohio in 2045. Watts climbs through a stack of cars as percussion takes over the score, cuing an intense string progression that begins to brew at 0:12. Watts starts to don virtual reality gear as he narrates, “They called our generation the missing millions, missing not because we went anywhere, there’s nowhere left to go, nowhere, except the Oasis.” Hopeful strings and faint choral sounds materialize at first mention of the Oasis, immediately colouring the virtual world as a utopia. The movement is equal parts hopeful and dramatic.

The symphonic strings punctuated by deep bass drum accompany a fury of popular culture references as the trailer reveals some of the fictional characters that exist within Oasis, including the Iron Giant, Harley Quinn, Duke Nukem, and Freddy Kruger. At 0:58, the video shifts into slow motion and the music slows, descending by scale degree to a halt at 1:06. A title card that reads “Are You Ready?” appears and as each individual word shimmers a filtered piano plays a note.

This would have been a satisfying ending to the trailer, but at 1:10 the trailer revs up for a second act with Tom Sawyer by Rush. The trailer is cut in such a way that all of the motion is synched perfectly with the music, creating the illusion of choreography. The music cuts abruptly at 1:49 when Watts takes off the virtual reality glasses, robbing the audience of the final note of the chorus and leaving the music unresolved. The trailer ends with the same title card as before, this time reading “Ready Player One” and the filtered piano lingers ominously.

– Andrew Sproule

Black Panther

With San Diego Comic Con well past us, and theatrical trailers are now focusing on Christmas films and 2018 features, now comes the opportunity to check back and catch up on recent trailer releases. Today, we’re audioviewing the first teaser trailer for Black Panther, originally released on June 10th.

For a film directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, 2015; Fruitville Station, 2013) and set for release in 2018, this trailer is almost as notable for its music as it is for its subject matter. Indeed, just looking at the top two comments at the top of the YouTube comments section for the above embedded video at the time of writing (“some people just don’t understand how long we’ve wanted this”; “who else is loving the soundtrack?”) reveals much, even before seeing and hearing it.

The teaser is comprised of two parts. In the first minute, we see an interrogation scene where a man is explaining the mysterious land of Wakanda, the home of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman, as The Black Panther). It’s likely no accident that the first scene of a trailer all about Marvel’s first black superhero, a hero with fifty years of lore to draw on for this film, is introduced with a conversation between white characters; moreover, we’ve seen both of them in previous Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. Still, T’Challa’s point of view/audition provides our first glimpse/audition of Wakanda. It’s a utopian scene, effortlessly melding both traditional culture and futuristic flourishes. While this trailer was released far before Wonder Woman’s run in theatres,  we are hard pressed not to compare this origin story -- as presented so far -- with her film. (For example, actress Florence Kasumba plays both Amazon Senator Acantha in Wonder Woman and Ayo, a member of Black Panther’s royal guard.)

Although the music begins with some standard epic orchestral percussion intercut with dialogue, this gives way to some pretty unique synthesized sound effects, to convey mystery and rhen danger/action. In retrospect, the music is preparing the listener for a full clip from hip-hop duo Run the Jewels’ “Legend Has It,” a cut from Run the Jewels 3 of 2016 and, judging from the title, a song of obvious thematic resonance to the notion of T’Challa-as-legendary figure.

At 1:02, the mid-point, we leave the interrogation room and the presentation of story information, encountering the Marvel Studios card with Run the Jewels’ track playing in full force: there’s no mistaking its intro. A scene with Panther’s spaceship-looking Royal Talon Fighter is presented alongside more traditional, agrarian-looking scenes, highlighting the uniqueness of Wakanda’s high tech society.

Around 1:20, the narrator’s voice imploring Black Panther to be careful (“you are a good man with a good heart”) is juxtaposed between lines by Run the Jewels’ lyrics (“step into the spotlight”). At 1:35 extra sound effects are employed to accentuate Black Panthers’ leap from car to car, where we get one quick look at him in full costume.

The title card for the film is presented at 1:44, slowly emerging and thus effectively conveying the emphasis on stealth for this superhero. Exquisitely deep bass and rattling, sonorous upper percussion complement the high contrast and stark image of the title card.

In all, it's an excellent start to Black Panther's trailer campaign. It will be interesting to see whether follow-up trailers commit as completely to using Run the Jewels’ music, or whether this is a one-off like other music licensed for trailers but not for the associated films.

 

 - Curtis

 

Stranger Things Season Two

The trailer for season 2 of Stranger Things is an ode to all things nostalgia. The first season of the Netflix hit delved deep into science fiction lore, consistently drawing on elements from the classics (including some not-so-subtle allusions to ET which escaped no one). If the new trailer is any indication, the show’s affinity for the vintage sci-fi style pioneered by the likes of Steven King and Steven Spielberg has only grown. Through quintessential 80’s imagery and music, the trailer effortlessly establishes Stranger Things as a period piece.

The trailer begins with a lone violin holding a quivering high note as the three boys roll up to the arcade on bicycles. An ominous orchestral swell becomes a crescendo and then cuts abruptly to nothing. The soundscape quickly goes to work to remind the audience we are indeed in the 80’s with the familiar sweeping chimes and sound design of the 1983 arcade classic Dragon’s Lair. As a rousing game ends at 0:22, dread fills the room, signaled by a cut to black and a deep growling bass synth beneath a reverb laden whisper of a disembodied guttural voice. Will appears to have been temporarily transported to another dimension, known as the Upside Down. The acousmetre disappears when Mike runs outside to meet Will, sensing that something is wrong. It appears the Upside Down is permeating into their world.

 A familiar progression starts at 0:51, first on strings, and then joined by a rapid synth playing even 16th notes. At 1:21, the unforgettable voice of Vincent Price says, “Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand, creatures crawling search of blood, to terrorize y’awl’s neighbourhood.” Out of context, the voiceover is difficult to place, only becoming more obvious at 1:35 when Michael Jackson sings “I’m gonna thrill you tonight.” Jackson’s voice brings everything the audience has heard until this point into focus; Jackson’s revered 1982 hit “Thriller” provides the material for both the familiar progression, as well as Price’s monologue.

By the time the title card announcing the Halloween premiere appears at 1:52, Thriller is in full swing. From here, the trailer rides the momentum of the pop song until the trailer seemingly ends with the final note of the song at 2:25. Cut to black, Mike’s voice echoes “If you’re out there just, please, give me a sign.” This cues a last minute twist, revealing that Eleven survived the end of season 1 and is trapped in the Upside Down. A pulsing bass synth underlines a messy orchestral crescendo as strings slide higher and higher, intensifying as Eleven finds a way to escape the Upside Down through an ooze reminiscent of the Alien sega. The trailer ends with the Stranger Things title card at 2:43 and the show’s theme music underpinning Price’s maniacal laugh.

Watching and listening to the trailer for Stranger Things season 2, you can’t help but feel transported to the 80’s. After all, where else do you find a band of misfit kids dressed in full Ghostbusters attire fighting monsters straight out of a Dungeons and Dragons game on Halloween to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller?

 

– Andrew Sproule