A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.
When Thad Beaumont was a child, he had an operation to remove a tumour from his brain. during the operation, it was discovered that far from being a tumor, the growth was a twin brother of Thad's that never developed. Years later, Thad is a successful author, writing his serious books under his own name, and his pulp money-makers under the pseudonum "George Stark". When blackmailed by someone who has discovered his secret, Thad publically "buries" George Stark. From that point on, Thad increasingly becomes the prime suspect in a series of gruesome murders. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) had a brain tumor as a child that was an undeveloped twin. Now, as an adult, the twin returns, fully formed and violent. The source is a bit supernatural, but real enough to kill.
The story goes over ground that should be familiar to Stephen King fans. The idea of a child growing up to confront something from his childhood. The theme of a writer, explored numerous times ("Misery", "The Shining") but most closely to this in "Secret Window". Howard Maxford calls it a cross between "Misery" and "The Birds", which I do not fully accept but see his point.
Interestingly, Stephen King is not known for good movie adaptations, and George Romero has had his slew of below average films (though, if you stray from his zombie films, you will find an assortment of goodies). But together, they seem to have made a decent movie here. I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed "Creepshow" -- maybe these guys bring out the best in each other? Michael Rooker is here (with hair) playing the role played by Ed Harris in "Needful Things". I would have liked to see some consistency in casting, but how do you choose between Rooker and Harris? Both top notch. Another Harris, Julie Harris, does appear, though... And the music is from Christopher Young, perhaps best known for his "Hellraiser" score.
Some of the factual information I found to be a bit questionable. Does a military service record really go into an FBI fingerprint database? I suppose it might, but the idea struck me as odd. And the idea that one in ten people start off as twins seemed too exaggerated (and then they said that was at the very least). I would like to know the truth on that.
Overall, though, a really decent film. It is not Oscar or Golden Globe material by any means, but a horror fan should enjoy the mix of gore and dark humor. Rue Morgue has called it "a middling Romero film based on a middling King novel", which really sells it short.
Unfortunately, the film did not get the proper respect in 1993, because its distributor (Orion) was fighting a bankruptcy battle and promoted it poorly. But now (2015), it has a second chance thanks to the fine folks at Scream Factory who have loaded up the Blu-ray with everything possible, including the kitchen sink.
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