“In space, no one can hear you…” Sing? Slurp? Snore? It is, of course, “scream,” and even people who have never seen the sci-fi horror classic Alien are probably familiar with the movie’s timeless tagline.
Taglines, when done well, can help drum up interest in a movie before its release, serving as an ad slogan, and the best ones go viral.. Typically used on posters, TV commercials and the like, a tagline should be quick and catchy and give some idea as to the movie’s plot or theme. This is true in the horror genre, too, but with one slight twist: horror taglines need an air of eeriness, or outright terror.
Many chilling horror taglines over the years have taken on a life of their own long after the movie’s release, entering into popular parlance. (Be afraid. Be very afraid.) Here are some of the best taglines from famous horror movies, from ‘70s classics such as The Exorcist and Halloween to modern masterpieces including Get Out and Midsommar.
To avoid fainting, keep repeating, “It’s only a movie… Only a movie… Only a movie…”
— "The Last House on the Left" (1972)
Wes Craven’s directorial debut was anything but subtle. The shock factor was high, with a secondary tagline that read, “Can a movie go too far?”
Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness.
— "The Exorcist" (1973)
Generally regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, The Exorcist was also the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The night He came home!
— "Halloween" (1978)
The “He” in question is Michael Myers, one of the most iconic slasher-movie villains ever — whose mask, incidentally, was made from a cast of William Shatner’s face.
When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.
— "Dawn of the Dead" (1978)
No one has done more for zombies than director George A. Romero. Dawn of the Dead, a cult classic and the second movie in his zombie series, is a scathingly satirical portrayal of consumerism.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...
— "Jaws II" (1978)
Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) once again has to defend the resort town of Amity from a great white shark, in a film that spawned one of the most famous (and most parodied) taglines of all time.
In space, no one can hear you scream.
— "Alien" (1979)
The tagline for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi-horror classic brilliantly combines terror with the soundless vacuum of space. No wonder it’s one of the best-known taglines in movie history.
Man is the warmest place to hide.
— "The Thing" (1982)
This wonderfully creepy tagline was written by Stephen Frankfurt, an influential advertising executive who created many great movie taglines, including Alien’s previously mentioned trademark.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
— "The Fly" (1986)
With David Cronenberg directing a movie about Jeff Goldblum slowly turning into a giant fly-hybrid monstrosity, audiences had every reason to be afraid.
— "Poltergeist" (1982)
When a glass of milk spontaneously breaks and the furniture moves on its own, the Freeling family knows there’s something not quite right in their Californian home.
If Nancy doesn't wake up screaming, she won't wake up at all.
— "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)
Wes Craven’s masterpiece gave us Freddy Krueger, a singularly terrifying, razor-fingered antagonist who did for dreams what Jaws did for swimming in the sea.
Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders... and another one in a dish on his desk.
— "Re-Animator" (1985)
Re-Animator's tagline perfectly encapsulates the movie’s combination of gory scares and deadpan jokes.
Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire.
— "The Lost Boys" (1987)
Twenty years before Twilight, Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys made smoldering teenage vampires all the rage — with a killer soundtrack to boot.
It will tear your soul apart.
— "Hellraiser" (1987)
“It,” as it turns out, is a bunch of extra-dimensional sadomasochists led by a Hell Priest called Pinhead.
We dare you to say his name five times.
— "Candyman" (1992)
Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyma—
You are who you eat.
— "Ravenous" (1999)
Guy Pearce starred in this horror Western cannibal movie, which bombed at the box office but has since gained a cult following.
In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary… A year later their footage was found.
— "The Blair Witch Project" (1999)
This was not the first faux found-footage movie, but was certainly the most influential. Blair Witch’s marketing campaign, tagline included, was so effective that some moviegoers actually thought the footage was real.
It doesn't think. It doesn't feel. It doesn't give up.
— "It Follows" (2014)
This minimalist lo-fi horror movie was met with critical acclaim — and plenty of debate about what “it” is.
You'll all be dammed!
— "Zombeavers" (2014)
Three words: Movie tagline genius.
Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you're welcome.
— "Get Out" (2017)
The tagline of Jordan Peele’s psychological horror film reflects the movie’s complex theme of middle class, liberal racism.
Let the festivities begin.
— "Midsommar" (2019)
This seemingly simple tagline is perfect for Ari Aster’s disturbing folk horror film, whose festivities feature one of the most shocking scenes in recent movie history.
Photo credit: United Archives GmbH/ Alamy Stock Photo