The Hyper-Mystery Documentary Trailer Genre
I want to make a quick note about a sub-genre of documentary films I just noticed. It doesn't have a name. But it's obviously a money maker. I call it: The HyperMysteryTrailer genre.
What is it? And how does it work?
Simple. You're in the movie theater, waiting to watch CAPTAIN FUCKPANTS & THE DESTRUCTION OF EARTH — some new shit superhero movie.
And then you see a trailer beforehand for a documentary: It tells you about an obscure "true life" story that occurred in the past. The trailer reveals 2-3 major plot twists... but also points out that the ending is a massive, huge, incredible, unbelievable, mind blowing plot twist: which will shake you to your core & change everything you believe about everything.
Obviously, this is all puffery on their part, but hey! Puffery is legal.
The trailer ends and the mystery is so goddamn tantalizing you just want to see that movie NOW to satisfy your base curiosity.
Can you just Google the story & find out what happens that way? Sure. But you won't. Even if you do, you'll find yourself wanting to see the movie anyway. Because even then, it's not so much about the raw information as it is the delivery of that information in a cinematic form.
So, the genre revolves entirely around the trailer. Which is interesting because that's something Herschell Gordon Lewis would do. You make the trailer insatiable, and the movie just good enough to not ask for a refund.
Many of the documentaries I've seen in movie theaters have been from this genre. It works to get me out of the house and to pay for a theater ticket. After a few times falling for this, I see that it works like a formula. If you're a pseudo-intellectual like me, your brain needs to KNOW.
To recap: There's a documentary sub-genre floating around, unnamed. I call it the "HyperMysteryTrailer" genre. The requirements of the genre:
A tantalizing trailer
Featuring an obscure true-life story
Unfolding dramatic plot twist after plot twist
Which climaxes with the ultimate plot twist of all time.