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...for a King work: they've always had a mixed track record. Generally this one is a tribute to the F/X wizardry as Robert John Burke goes through multiple transformations. That in itself is pretty horrifying. Most of the King subtleties have been sucked out of it, but what's new? It's basically a decent supernatural thriller. There is a slow, relentless horror to the whole thing, which doesn't rely on huge "jump out of the closet" shocks (although there are a few of those). Basically a horror movie for adults.
When a gypsy caravan arrives in Fairview, the conservative judge
Phillips (Howard Erskine) forces the gypsies to leave town. Meanwhile
the gluttony lawyer Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke), who has
difficulties to reduce his weight, successfully defends the mobster
Ritchie Ginelli (Joe Mantegna) in court; during the night, he
celebrates with his partner and wives in a dinner party. While driving
back home, his wife Heidi (Lucinda Jenney) makes oral sex with Billy
and he runs over the old gypsy Suzanne Lempke (Irma St. Paule), the
daughter of the patriarch Tadzu Lempke (Michael Constantine). During
the trial, Billy omits the reason of the accident; the chief of police
Duncan Hopley (Daniel von Bargen) perjuries; and the bigoted judge
declares Billy not- guilty for the accident. On the next day, Billy,
Duncan and Phillips are cursed by Tadzu that puts a hex on each one of
them. Billy gets thinner and thinner and while seeking out Tadzu to ask
him to remove the spell, he suspects that his wife is having an affair
with his doctor and friend Mike Houston (Sam Freed). Billy feels that
his life is running out and asks for help to Ritchie to convince Tadzu
using his method to call off the jinx.
The creepy "Thinner" is an underrated and one of my favorite horror movies based on a Stephen King's novel. The special effects and make-up were state-of-art in 1996 and even thirteen years later, they are very good. With the exception of Billy'/s daughter, all characters are corrupt in some level and deserve their fate. A couple of months ago, I saw another good movie based on the same theme - a gypsy curse Sam Raimi's "Drag me to Hell". My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Maldição" ("The Curse")
Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) hits an old gypsy woman with his car,
and with the help of his lawyer and judge friends gets away without
even a traffic fine. Unfortunately for him, he cannot use legal
maneuvers to get the gypsy curse off of him!
Stephen King has one of the worst track records for film adaptations. For every great film (Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Shining) there are some real piles of rubbish. And any number of films in between. This one, luckily, is closer to the good end. Some have pooh-poohed it, but I found it pretty enjoyable.
Beyond the main story, which was average, the film comes alive due to Joe Mantegna's portrayal of Richie Ginelli. Mantegna, who you may know from "Criminal Minds" or as the voice of Fat Tony from "The Simpsons", is pretty great as violence incarnate. When he unleashes his vengeance on the gypsies, you almost have to feel bad for them, as you admire his tenacious bloodlust.
I have heard people complain about the ending, which apparently varies from the novel. I have also heard that the novel has more intricate subtleties that the movie overlooked. I do not have the novel, so I cannot comment on that, beyond saying that I really enjoyed the ending. I can't say what it is, but I found it very appropriate.
Burke's Clint Eastwood voice may be a bit dramatic, but I did not mind... oh, and Kari Wuhrer appears, as well... though does little more than provide a dash of sex appeal.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have always been a big fan of the novel "Thinner", by Richard Bachman
(Stephen King). It strays from the typical horror/gore plot, and
focuses a lot more on issues of class warfare and social injustices. I
have always seen this book as the story of a WASPy rich white lawyer
having his bubble burst and being forced into a sort of compassion for
the Gypsies and drifters of this world.
This movie was decent, not great. If you're going to watch it because you liked the book, be warned that almost every major plot event has been exaggerated and "Hollywood-ized" to the point of ridiculousness.
For example, instead of Richard Ginelly being the gentlemanly and sophisticated Mafia don from the novel, the movie portrays him as a bloodthirsty maniac who can't be stopped once he's started his "work". I noticed this in the film adaptation of "Shawshank Redemption" as well.. It's a shame that filmmakers feel that the average moviegoer won't enjoy subtlety or sophistication. They obviously feel that they need to whack us over the head with their films in order to get their points across.
Rent this flick if you're a fan of movies like "Sleepwalkers" or the more recent films in the Hellraiser series... definitely entertaining, but unfortunately, not something I can take completely seriously.
I saw this movie on TV a few years back. I'd read the book before seeing the
movie, and I've read the book a second time recently, after seeing the
movie. And I think I can safely say that 'Thinner' is a decent attempt, but
doesn't live up to the book.
The movie is based on Stephen King's 'Thinner'. It is based around an obese small-town lawyer, Billy Halleck (Robert Burke), who has a curse put on him by a gypsy (Michael Constantine), after running over his daughter with his car. Halleck leaves his wife (Lucinda Jenny) and daughter (Joie Lenz), to find the gypsy and get the curse that is steadily making him thin reversed, before it is too late.
Like another reviewer said, this movie seems really TV movie-ish. The only actor I recognize in this movie is the typecasted Joe Mantegna. The rest I've never heard of before or since this movie. For the most part the movie is faithful to the book. But, it lacks much of the vivid detail of the book. Also, the main character is far more tame in the movie. Though, as I said, most of the actors I've never heard of before or since, they do a very good job in this movie. After seeing the movie, I can't picture anyone else playing the roles they did. And the make-up effects are amazing.
Overall, a decent movie. Could've better captured the spirit of the book. You could find a worse way to spend two hours.
The corpulent Billy Halleck(Robert James Burke)is a successful advocate
in law. While he's driving along with his wife(Lucinda Jenney), he
accidentally hits a gypsy with his car and run. Then he's cursed by an
old gypsy(Michael Constantine) and his gorgeous daughter(Kari Wuher)
with a continuous weight loss. With the complicity of local judge and
the sheriff (Daniel Von Bargen)Billy is absolved. Furthermore, Billy is
friend of a local mobster named Richie(Joe Mantegna) who is determined
to save him, originating a cruel vendetta.
Thinner was written by Stephen King in 1984, based on horror master bestselling novel of the same name, under pseudonym Richard Bachman . Early the 90s, Warner Brothers attempted cinema rendition with John Candy, but death actor made the pre-production failed. The Paramount Pictures took the production with interesting script by Tom Holland(Langoliers) and Michael Mc Dowell( screenwriter of Beetlejuice and Tales from the darkside). Casting is frankly decent, Robert James Burke(usual of director Hal Hartley), recently his success in Robocop 3, Joe Mantegna(usual of David Mamet,Things change,House of games,Homicide),the beautiful Kari Wuher(Anaconda,Sliders). Besides, as always, habitual cameo by Stephen King as Dr. Bangor. The film displays adequate musical score fitting to terror and suspense by Daniel Licht The motion picture is professionally directed by Tom Holland(Fright night,Child's play), a director expert in horror and suspense movies. The result is better than previous Stephen king adaptation, the mediocre, Running man. Rating : Acceptable and passable picture, well worth watching for Stephen King fond.
If you're a big fan of Stephen King and want to see a film that stays
true to the book, then this one will please. Thinner is the story of an
obese lawyer, Billy Halleck, who kills a gypsy woman with his car. When
the local judge and sheriff cover up the accident and let Billy off the
hook, a gypsy curse is put on all of them.
One of the big things about this film that gave it it's publicity (besides Stephen King's name) was in the costume work done on Billy Halleck's weight-loss transformation. I think, given how daunting a task this was, that a good job was done. I did notice they forgot to augment his fingers to compensate with his body mass.
"Thinner" is delivered with what might be described as (forgive me) a second or third-string acting class - actors who deliver good roles but aren't chart toppers or as well known (Joe Mantegna, Kari Wuhrer, etc.). King's story teeters a bit when Billy and the gypsies begin playing a game of tit for tat. And the ending, although poetic with its Edgar Allan Poe touch, comes off as "oh brother!" 5/10
From what I've heard, this is a fairly faithful adaption of the Stephen King story of the same name, but I've never read the book myself. The plot is decent, but somewhat ridiculous... and the pacing is awful. I was bored for most of the other half of this movie, despite it only being about 90 minutes long. The acting varies, but it's mostly bad... Kari Wuhrer displays a particularly obvious lack of talent, and Robert John Burke proves that he doesn't have the charisma or talent to carry a movie. Actually, Joe Mantegna pretty much steals the show, and every scene that doesn't involve him has you bored and wanting to see him again. The humor in the film is actually surprisingly good. There are some pretty good exchanges of dialog, and, as a nice variation from the typical King film-adaption, most of the laughs are intentional(though there are a few parts which still seem lame and make you laugh, as opposed to seeming scary and frighten you). The special effects vary, but for the most part, they are quite good. The films gore and violence may be a little over the top, and is definitely extreme, though there isn't terribly much of it in the film(but when there is, it's very graphic), but it didn't bother me as much as I had expected, from hearing it described by someone who has seen the film. Since I haven't really seen any other films by the director, Tom Holland, I can't say if fans of him will like this film. One thing that the fans of King will surely enjoy is that he himself has a role in this, and a pretty easily recognizable one, at that(not the typical somewhere-in-the-immediate-background cameo that writers/directors typically have). All in all, fairly enjoyable horror, but not something that you'll want to see many times. I recommend it to big fans of Stephen King, huge fans of the various actors, and people who just enjoy watching somewhat uneven films just for the heck of it. 5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This creepy, unsettling thriller is one of the more under-rated movies that
have been adapted from Stephen King's stories (Lord knows there have been
plenty of absolutely horrid ones). There are some gruesome scenes, but
credit director Tom Holland (who also wrote and helmed the classic
horror-comedy "Fright Night") for lending what could have been hoary B-Movie
material a heaping helping of style....there are moments where what is
suggested is far more dreadful than what could have been shown. And I
appreciate Holland's fight to keep the book's bleak ending after the studio
supposedly tried to bully him into shooting a happier, more upbeat one.
Robert John Burke is very good as the afflicted man, but Joe Mantegna almost
steals the film as a gangster (once successfully defended in court by
Burke's lawyer character) who tries to repay the favor by helping Burke get
payback from the gypsies who jinxed him.
Like the book, the movie has scenes which will stay with you long after it's all over. Recommended. My rating: ***stars
King adapted movies either work or they don't. Horror type flicks are
very hard to do well. This did have a made-for-TV feel about it similar
to other King flicks, but imo, the reason this was acceptable was in
large part due to the acting and casting of Robert John Burke. Can you
imagine seeing this man walk his dog at night? He seems outside the
human race somehow
I guess that's why they choose acting as a
profession. He so not normal. His voice quality was over the top,
Simpson-esq in quality like in a cartoon
but that worked here.
Joe Mantegna and Michael Constantine were excellent. As stated previously, Kari Wuhrer is smokin' hot. Too bad she looks exactly like that Doritos girl who is on a UON stupid sitcom now. I guess you can't have two Doritos girls in Hollyweird.
You gotta love IMDb.com to look up all the work these actors have done. I knew I saw Burke and Wuhrer's face before but couldn't place them. I thought Michael Constantine was James Coco but only tonight I saw Constantine in The Hustler w/Paul Newman, one of his first roles. IMDb confirmed this.
Even found out Joe's wife owns a pizza place in Burbank...need to stop by.
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