It’s a truism that as you get older, memory casts a friendly light on the past. The further back a day you remember, the better that day probably was on average than later ones. But sometimes, memory isn’t lying. Sometimes it is screaming at you that things are getting worse. I’m not talking about justice, or family values, or even the price of a cup of coffee. No my friends, I’m talking about something far more important, something that tears at the very fabric of our lives. I’m talking about the waning of proper redband trailers.
Back in the day, redband meant you were getting the goods. There was no Internet, and by jingo if they were going to cut a trailer and throw it up in front of audiences, they were going to cut it down to PG-13 so that they only had to cut it once. In the dark times before computer-dingles this took millions of dollars and hundreds of employees to accomplish. So a redband trailer was a massive and unmistakable signal that a movie meant business. And there was going to be rated-R content with all its glory. Now? It costs a studio six dollars to cut seven trailers a week. And they found out that we love the redband, so what do they do? They water down that holiest of holy trailers.
Here’s a redband trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Audiences Aren’t Picky in January:
Look, the movie looks fun, but redband? I have certain standards. When I see a red screen before a trailer, I expect to see sex and violence so psychologically scarring that the Family Research Council commissions a study demonstrating that one third of those exposed become serial killers.