The best horror/exploitation movie taglines

by sbaldwin999 | created - 19 Aug 2011 | updated - 05 Jun 2012 | Public

Back in the days before the internet, film distributors who couldn't afford the high price of broadcasting a trailer over TV had to find creative ways to get their movies known by the general public. Movies posters were a big way to draw people in... bright colors, sensational images and big bold titles were the key to catching peoples eyes. A memorable tag line to accompany the poster is hard to forget and usually was a sure way to get people intrigued. This is a list devoted to some of my favorite and what I consider to be the most effective tag lines from the past. This list is comprised of movies I have seen or am at least familiar with, recommendations are accepted cause I know there are a plethora of great tag lines just waiting to be discovered! Enjoy

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1. Dead & Buried (1981)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield

Votes: 7,925 | Gross: $0.22M

"It will take your breath away... all of it."

I remember seeing this VHS cover as a child and thinking that a movie with a image and a tag line like that had to be absolutely terrifying. The movie is good but not THAT scary, still, the box manages to send chills down my spine.

2. The Funhouse (1981)

R | 96 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Four teenage friends spend the night in a carnival funhouse and are stalked by a deformed man in a Frankenstein mask.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott

Votes: 9,813 | Gross: $7.89M

"Pay to get in. Pray to get out."

Slasher movies, to me, have the greatest tag lines. They are usually pretty clever, The Funhouse's tag line is the best example of that.

3. Don't Go in the House (1979)

R | 82 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.

Director: Joseph Ellison | Stars: Dan Grimaldi, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci, Robert Carnegie

Votes: 2,847

"You have been warned!"

It is kind of warning you to go see this movie with caution... Why? cause this movie is very dark and very disturbing... you have been warned!

4. The Mutilator (1984)

R | 86 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A teenager who accidentally committed matricide finds himself being hunted together with his girlfriend and mates by his now crazed father.

Directors: Buddy Cooper, John Douglass | Stars: Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers

Votes: 2,274

"By pick, by axe, by sword, bye bye!"

I have not actually seen this one but the tag line is so great I had to include it on the list. Another clever one for a slasher movie.

5. Antropophagus (1980)

90 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A group of tourists become stranded on an uninhabited island where they are stalked by an insane, violent, and grotesque killer that slaughtered the town's former residents.

Director: Joe D'Amato | Stars: Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini

Votes: 4,229

"It's not fear that tears you apart... It's him!"

This is a personal favorite of mine. This tag line is pretty vicious but so is George Eastman's insane character in the movie. Great stuff!

6. Asylum (I) (1972)

PG | 88 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In order to secure a job at a mental institution, a young psychiatrist must interview four patients inside the asylum.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Barbara Parkins, Richard Todd, Sylvia Syms, Peter Cushing

Votes: 4,388

"You have nothing to lose but your mind."

The Amicus anthology movies had some of the best tag lines, best of all being the one for this movie. Asylum is about the minds of the mentally disturbed so this tag line fits perfectly.

7. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 97,149 | Gross: $5.10M

"When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth"

Absolutely unforgettable tag-line to an unforgettable movie! Another one that you hear a character say in the movie too.

8. Humongous (1982)

R | 97 min | Horror, Romance

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

The monstrous offspring of a violent crime grows up in seclusion on a remote island, where a boat-full of hapless teens have shipwrecked, unaware of what's lurking in the woods.

Director: Paul Lynch | Stars: Janet Julian, David Wysocki, John Wildman, Janit Baldwin

Votes: 1,279

"Here are the monster's little toys. Once they were little girls and boys."

You have to love tag lines that rhyme, they are usually the best about getting stuck in your head.

9. Crawlspace (1972 TV Movie)

74 min | Horror, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A childless middle-age couple adopt a troubled youth they find living in their crawlspace and attempt to get him to rejoin society with tragic results.

Directors: John Newland, Buzz Kulik | Stars: Arthur Kennedy, Teresa Wright, Tom Happer, Eugene Roche

Votes: 268

"They wanted a son... he gave them a nightmare!"

I have not seen this made-for-TV film but I want to. Especially with a great tag line like that!

10. The Vault of Horror (1973)

R | 87 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An anthology of five horror stories shared by five men trapped in the basement of an office building.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Curd Jürgens, Terry-Thomas, Tom Baker, Dawn Addams

Votes: 3,666

"Everything that makes life worth leaving!"

Another great Amicus anthology tag line!

11. Pieces (1982)

Unrated | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Young co-eds are being dismembered by a mysterious murderer on a college campus. The killer is attempting to put together a human jigsaw puzzle made from body parts.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón | Stars: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña, Edmund Purdom

Votes: 6,181 | Gross: $2.03M

"...It's exactly what you think it is!"

I love this one cause it's NOT trying to be clever or ironic, its pretty direct in letting you know what the movie is about. Still it sparks your curiosity and makes want to see the movie just to know how far it goes. Also a fantastic poster that adds to the brutality of the tag line too!

12. The Prowler (1981)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.

Director: Joseph Zito | Stars: Vicky Dawson, Christopher Goutman, Lawrence Tierney, Farley Granger

Votes: 6,972

"If you think you're safe... you're DEAD wrong!"

Like I said, slasher movies tend to have excellent tag lines.

13. Phantasm (1979)

R | 88 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
72 Metascore

A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester

Votes: 25,770 | Gross: $11.99M

"If this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead!"

I think this film might be a little overrated but the poster and tag line are perfect.

14. Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | 105 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale

Votes: 44,977 | Gross: $2.02M

"Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders... and another one in a dish on is desk."


15. Zombie (1979)

R | 91 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Strangers searching for a young woman's missing father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver

Votes: 21,558

"We are going to eat you!"

Could be the most famous tag line on the list. This is Jerry Gross again, promising you exactly what you are going to get from this nasty little gem. And look at that poster, its just a straight portrait shot of the most gruesome zombie in the movie! Jerry was a genius.

16. I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

R | 101 min | Horror, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
19 Metascore

An aspiring writer is repeatedly gang-raped, humiliated, and left for dead by four men whom she systematically hunts down to seek revenge.

Director: Meir Zarchi | Stars: Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols

Votes: 21,904

"This woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned five men beyond recognition... but no jury in America would ever convict her!"

Makes you ask, "Why!? Why wont a jury convict her?". See the movie and find out! again, one of Jerry Gross' legendary ad campaigns along with that super-sexy poster.

17. The Blob (1988)

R | 95 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Remake of the 1958 sci-fi horror classic about a deadly blob from another planet which consumes everything in its path. Teenagers attempt without success to warn the townspeople, who refuse to take them seriously.

Director: Chuck Russell | Stars: Shawnee Smith, Kevin Dillon, Donovan Leitch Jr., Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 25,419 | Gross: $8.25M

"Terror has no shape."

I like this one, it's incredibly literal...

18. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
57 Metascore

A crew in Antarctica finds a neighboring camp destroyed and its crew dead. Whatever killed them is nowhere to be found, unless it's hidden in plain sight.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 292,980 | Gross: $13.78M

"Man is the warmest place to hide."

This is a famous one, I love it because it's one you might not understand going into the movie but coming out, it will make perfect sense.

19. Snuff (1975)

X | 80 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  

A so-called "snuff" movie involving the exploits of a cult leader leading a gang of bikers in a series of supposedly real killings on film.

Directors: Michael Findlay, Horacio Fredriksson, Simon Nuchtern | Stars: Margarita Amuchástegui, Tina Austin, Ana Carro, Brian Cary

Votes: 1,290

"A film that could only be made in South America, where life is CHEAP!"

An awful movie with one of the most ingenious ad campaigns in the history of film. The tag line is just a small part of it.

20. Alien (1979)

R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
83 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 642,295 | Gross: $78.90M

"In space, no one can hear you scream."

Possibly the most memorable thing about this movie next to the chest bursting scene. But, according to the show, The Universe, you actually can hear people scream in space... Nobody says you have to be scientifically accurate to be a great tagline though!

21. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

PG-13 | 88 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Aliens who look like clowns come from outer space and terrorize a small town.

Director: Stephen Chiodo | Stars: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon

Votes: 25,843 | Gross: $15.63M

"In space, no one can eat ice-cream."

I hilarious take on the infamous Alien tag-line. I love this movie for not taking itself seriously.

22. Motel Hell (1980)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A seemingly friendly farmer and his sister kidnap unsuspecting travelers and bury them alive, using them to create the "special meat" they are famous for.

Director: Kevin Connor | Stars: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod

Votes: 7,689 | Gross: $6.34M

"Checking in is easy... checking out is hell."

There are a couple more famous tag lines for this horror comedy but I like this one best. Again, slasher movie, keeping it simple and fun.

23. Westworld (1973)

PG | 88 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
77 Metascore

A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.

Director: Michael Crichton | Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold

Votes: 40,962

"Boy have we got a vacation for you."

This one is great cause it is one of those tag lines that a character actually says in the movie!

24. Deathstalker (1983)

R | 80 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

The warrior Deathstalker is tasked by an old witch lady to obtain and unite the three powers of creation - a chalice, an amulet, and a sword - lest the evil magician Munkar get them and use... See full summary »

Director: James Sbardellati | Stars: Rick Hill, Barbi Benton, Richard Brooker, Lana Clarkson

Votes: 2,817 | Gross: $11.92M

"Journey to an age of awesome magic."

"Awesome" is a great word for a tag line to a super cheesy but totally fun movie like Deathstalker. If your making a sword and sorcery movie, it's good to throw in words like that, considering the kind of people that will be watching those movies (12-24 year old males)

25. Sole Survivor (1984)

R | 85 min | Horror, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A lone survivor of a plane crash is haunted by a feeling unworthy of survival. Dead people start coming after her to collect her.

Director: Thom Eberhardt | Stars: Anita Skinner, Kurt Johnson, Robin Davidson, Caren L. Larkey

Votes: 815

"It wants her... It's waiting... It won't be long now."

Pretty ominous.

26. Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur (1976)

Not Rated | 94 min | Horror, War

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

Near the end of WW2, prisoners of war are used in experiments to perfect the Arian race.

Director: Sergio Garrone | Stars: Mircha Carven, Paola Corazzi, Giorgio Cerioni, Giovanna Mainardi

Votes: 913

"Sex experiments in pursuit of a better tomorrow!"

This one is funny, in a tasteless sort of way. The movie contains some offensive subject matter but really it doesn't take itself too seriously. So, it's good for a laugh and I think the silly tag line compliments that nicely.

27. Akira (1988)

R | 124 min | Animation, Action, Drama

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo | Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tesshô Genda

Votes: 120,710 | Gross: $0.55M

"Neo-Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E."

Just incase you don't understand the magnitude of distruction found in this movie, they literally S.P.E.L.L. it out for you.

28. Mortuary (I) (1983)

R | 91 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Convinced that her father's death was not accidental, a beautiful girl decides to investigate to find out the truth, aided by her boyfriend. Her sleuthing draws her to a local mortuary, where many secrets will be revealed.

Director: Howard Avedis | Stars: Mary Beth McDonough, David Wysocki, Bill Paxton, Lynda Day George

Votes: 994 | Gross: $4.32M

"Where nobody rests in peace."

A little bit of Irony in your tag line is always a good thing!

29. Phenomena (1985)

Not Rated | 116 min | Horror, Mystery

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi, Fiore Argento

Votes: 18,114

"Jennifer has a few million close friends. She's going to need them all."

30. The Conqueror Worm (1968)

Unrated | 86 min | Biography, Drama, Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch hunter.

Director: Michael Reeves | Stars: Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Heath

Votes: 7,237

"Leave the children home! ...and if you are squeamish, stay home with them!!!!!!!"

The English tagline is awful but when the movie was brought to America, they changed it to this masterpiece to draw in the masses. BTW, no this movie is not really squirm inducing at all, but it's a great drama/thriller!

31. Zombie Holocaust (1980)

R | 84 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An expedition in the East Indies, encounters not only the cannibals they were looking for, but also an evil scientist and his zombie army.

Director: Marino Girolami | Stars: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan, Peter O'Neal

Votes: 4,277

"He's a depraved, homicidal killer... and he makes house calls!"

This one goes with the movies alternate US title, Dr. Butcher Medical Deviate. It's a great tag line that is very misleading. To me it sounds like a slasher movie set in a hospital... but it's a zombie/cannibal adventure movie. Created by the legendary distributor Jerry Gross.

32. Night of the Bloody Apes (1969)

R | 81 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

This cheap Mexican horror film is a remake of Cardona's Doctor of Doom (1962), spiced with nudity, medical footage, women wrestling, and cheap gore shots. Female masked wrestler Lucy (who ... See full summary »

Director: René Cardona | Stars: José Elías Moreno, Carlos López Moctezuma, Armando Silvestre, Norma Lazareno

Votes: 703

"Half Man, Half Beast, ALL HORROR!"

Silly but enjoyable movie with a great tag line.

33. Graduation Day (1981)

R | 96 min | Horror, Mystery

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A masked killer begins murdering students on the school track team after a track runner dies upon completion of a 30 second 200-meter race.

Director: Herb Freed | Stars: Christopher George, Patch Mackenzie, E. Danny Murphy, E.J. Peaker

Votes: 2,304 | Gross: $23.89M

"Some kids are dying to graduate..."

34. Alone in the Dark (1982)

R | 92 min | Horror, Thriller

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital during a power blackout and lay siege to their doctor's house.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Dwight Schultz

Votes: 3,227

"When the lights go out the terror begins."

I think this one fits nicely with the title of the movie.

35. Nightbeast (1982)

R | 80 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.7/10 X  

A creature from outer space crash lands in a small town and starts killing people.

Director: Don Dohler | Stars: Tom Griffith, Jamie Zemarel, Karin Kardian, George Stover

Votes: 792

"If you have guts... he wants them!"

I don't know if this is an official tag line from the movies first release. It is included on the DVD box though and it's great, so I'm including it regardless.

36. The Stuff (1985)

R | 87 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino

Votes: 9,884

"Are you eating it ...or is it eating you?"

37. The Howling (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone

Votes: 25,097 | Gross: $17.99M

"Imagine your worst fear a reality."

I haven't seen this one either but I like the over the top tag line.

38. The Beast Within (1982)

R | 98 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A young woman gets raped by a mysterious man-creature, and years later her son begins a horrific transformation into a similar Beast.

Director: Philippe Mora | Stars: Ronny Cox, Bibi Besch, Paul Clemens, Don Gordon

Votes: 2,550 | Gross: $7.74M

"He was on the verge of becoming a man... EATER!"


39. The Sentinel (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Not ready for marriage, a fashion model moves into an unbelievably cheap Brooklyn Heights apartment, where weird occurrences turn into a much more frightening turn of events.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Cristina Raines, Ava Gardner, Chris Sarandon, Martin Balsam

Votes: 7,212

"She is young, she is beautiful, she is next..."