21 May 2016

STEPHEN KING'S 'THINNER.' (1996) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.


STEPHEN KING'S 'THINNER.' (1996) BASED ON THE BOOK BY STEPHEN KING. DIRECTED BY TOM HOLLAND. STARRING ROBERT JOHN BURKE, LUCINDA JENNEY, BETHANY JOY LENZ, DANIEL VON BARGEN, JOHN HORTON, MICHAEL CONSTANTINE, KARI WÜHRER AND JOE MANTEGNA. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This American 'body horror' movie may not be as chilling as the Stephen King story on which it's based, but it's a really entertaining and enjoyable horror film nonetheless. It's the story of hotshot lawyer Billy Halleck, who starts the film in a fatsuit so that we can see the weight falling off him as the film progresses. Yes, he does look a bit funny in it but it's integral to the plot so he really needs it...!

One dark night, Billy is driving home with his wife Heidi. He makes the fatal mistake of running over an old gypsy lady while Heidi's mouth is, erm, clamped to his you-know-what, ahem...! That's right, folks, he was getting a blowjob at the wheel, the naughty lawyer. However, it turns out to be the most costly blowjob in the history of, ahem, oral delight. It costs Billy nearly everything he has, in fact.

The old gypsy lady's even older gypsy father puts a horrible curse on Billy to pay him back. Also in the firing line are Billy's chums, Judge Cary Rossington and Police Chief Duncan Hopely, who helped Billy to beat the dangerous driving rap. As a result of Tadzu Lempke's curse, Billy starts to lose weight (or become 'thinner') at an alarming rate.

The Judge's skin starts to grow scales, actual lizard scales. Poor old Police Chief Hopely (Francis's military school Commander Spangler in brilliant American sitcom MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE, in case you think you recognise him) just turns into a plain old monstrosity.

You could say that body horror is one of the most disturbing sub-genres of horror. What scares us more than horrible stuff happening to our own bodies over which we have absolutely no control...? It hits you where it hurts the most: your own physical self. The special effects throughout the film are really good as Billy and his chums swiftly metamorphose into their own worst nightmares. Kudos to the SFX department, anyway.

We certainly feel Billy's fear as he turns to his Mafia client, Richie 'The Hammer' Ginelli, for help in tracking down the mean vindictive old gypsy man and getting him to lift the curse. Ginelli is brilliantly played by Joe Mantegna, who for donkeys' years has portrayed Mob boss 'Fat Tony' in THE SIMPSONS.

Bearing a strong similarity to that other iconic Mob boss Tony Soprano from THE SOPRANOS, Fat Tony is one of the funniest and cleverest characters in a show that's already chock-full of fantastic characters. With his crew consisting of Legs, Louie, Johnny Tight Lips and Jimmy The Squealer, you can be sure that he's at the bottom of every crooked scheme or twisted double-dealings in the town of Springfield.

Joe Mantegna is incredibly handsome as Richie Ginelli. He's so dark and gorgeous! I never realised how atttractive he was until I saw this film. He's my favourite character in it. If you listen closely when he speaks or even close your eyes, you can totally hear Fat Tony's menacing voice:

'My wife has been most vocal on the subject of the pretzel monies. Did you get the pretzel money? When are you getting the money? Why aren't you getting the money now...?' And so on and so forth.

It's so funny as well the way that Richie really enjoys helping Billy get back at the gypsies. It's not his business as such but, like a true Mafia boss, he just loves getting revenge on people, whoever they are...! The sexy gypsy girl is a great character too. She's feisty as hell and twice as dangerous and, speaking of THE SIMPSONS, her skill with a catapult would put little Bart to shame.

I'm in two minds about the ending of the film. Without giving anything away (I hope!), is it silly to end with a pie or is it in keeping with the rest of the film? I'll probably never make up my mind, although Homer Simpson of THE SIMPSONS would probably say that anything that ends with a pie is just fine and dandy by him...!

By the way, Stephen King does a funny cameo in this film as a pharmacist who fills out a prescription for the repugnant old gypsy Tadzu Lempke. He's called Mr. Bangor. 'Mr. Bangor...!' He might as well just call himself 'Mr. Maine...!'
 
 I love the way that Stephen King doesn't seem to take himself too seriously and doesn't mind poking fun at himself either. I also love all the funny cameos he's done in his own films, especially in MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE when he says to his wife after trying to withdraw money from a messed-up cash machine:

'Honey, this machine just called me an ASSHOLE...!'

This film is worth watching whether you're a Stephen King fan or not, but obviously if you've previously read and enjoyed the book you'll get that much more out of it. Finally, the moral of the story is probably that you should never have oral sex in the old jalopy. Not while it's in motion, anyway...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







No comments:

Post a comment