The trailer for Shakma is in a class all its own and one of my all-time favorites. There’s the voiceover, which sounds like it’s been slowed to half speed. There’s the gore, which comes right out of the gate with some wet primate brain surgery that’s SO disgusting, even the doctor performing it (Roddy McDowell!) seems grossed out. There are the Shakma attacks, which, having seen the movie a few times, I’m amazed no one was killed or seriously hurt. That baboon attacks people like an addict who thinks there’s a crack rock in its victim’s face. And he does it a lot. A LOT. Yeah, the moments of puppetry are obvious (those dripping fangs are awesome), but they actually make the real thing look even more vicious.
This also feels like a really weird presentational trailer, like, for Blockbuster district managers who have decide whether or not they’re going to stock Shakma on their shelves. How else do you explain the truly banal boast, “…two time recipient of the Nation Association of Theater Owners’ Star of the Year Award, first for Blue Lagoon and now for Shakma“? And in a trailer for a horror movie you give Silverado top billing over A Nightmare on Elm Street? For why?
The best part is when the narrator finally introduces Shakma and it’s like the sheer magnetism of the animal drives him into a frenzy! His voice quivers! He bellows the title! It’s incredible!
This is also one of the rare gonzo trailers where the finished product lives up to the hype it creates. The main characters are medical students, LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) after hours in a hospital. These are the EXACT people you’ve always wanted to see get thrashed by a rage-baboon! And guess what? You can, because someone uploaded it to YouTube!