21 user 10 critic

Static (1985)

An eccentric but possibly brilliant young man, troubled by the death of his parents, claims to be readying a world-changing invention.


Mark Romanek
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Gordon ... Ernie Blick
Amanda Plummer ... Julia Purcell
Bob Gunton ... Frank
Barton Heyman ... Sherriff William Orling
Lily Knight Lily Knight ... Patty
Jane Hoffman Jane Hoffman ... Emily Southwick
Reathel Bean Reathel Bean ... Fred Savins
Kitty Mei-Mei Chen Kitty Mei-Mei Chen ... Li
Joel Krehbeil Joel Krehbeil ... Deputy Tom Terrence
Eugene Lee Eugene Lee ... Dale
Jack Murakami Jack Murakami ... North
Mike Murakami Mike Murakami ... South
Uma Ridenhour Uma Ridenhour ... Sarah
Janice Abbott Janice Abbott ... Sonya
Tamma Allgood Tamma Allgood ... T.V. Interviewer


A quirky, out-of-of place worker at a crucifix factory in the Bible Belt invents a device he claims can show pictures of Heaven. Discouraged and confused by the inability of those around him to see anything but a screenful of static, he charismatically hijacks a bus of friendly elderly people in order to get media attention for his invention. Written by Keith Tyler <romulus@shore.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


STATIC... it's on a different wavelength.


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

10 September 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Necessity See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Powell, Utah, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NFI Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of only two theatrical films where Mark Romanek wrote the screenplay for his films. The other was One Hour Photo (2002). See more »


Boom Mike seen swiveling between actors in a two-shot. See more »


Frank: [looks at collection of broken Crucifixes] Sick, huh?
See more »


References The Holy Mountain (1973) See more »


My tears are overdue
Composed by Freddie Hart
Performed by George Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

A must-see for indie fans everywhere
10 July 2002 | by KastoreSee all my reviews

"Static" is the rarest of gems. I am glad Mark Romanek went on to make my alltime favorite music video (Nine Inch Nails' 'closer'), because had he not amazed me with that video, I probably would never have been interested in seeing "Static". When I finally did see this film, I was even more amazed at how great it truly turned out to be, and wondered why it was that I had to discover the film all by myself rather than it being directly recommended to me.

The story and directing is very captivating, as I soon found myself intently watching every second of the film to see what was going to happen next. Keith Gordon (who co-wrote the script with Romanek) was dead-on in his portrayal of Ernie Blick, an out-of-place young man in small town America with an obsession over his new 'invention'. It also took "Static" to turn me into an Amanda Plummer fan.

The movie's soundtrack alone is entertaining. No wonder Romanek went on to a career in music videos as he obviously has a wide knowledge of music. I mean, what can you say about a soundtrack that effectively includes songs from both The The and Elvis?

I can't help but believe that "Static" is one of the roots of today's massive independent film movement. All of the key elements to current popular indies can be found in "Static": limited budget, dark humor, a disturbed main character, psychologically-driven drama. The film's ending is original and surprising even by the standards of the modern 'twist-in-the-end' craze. What made me appreciate "Static" that much more is that it still didn't sit you down and spell everything out for you at the end with a narrated flashback montage (like too many movies do). Instead, it's up to you to figure all out yourself.

If you are a fan of today's popular independent films - especially Pi, Memento, or Donnie Darko - then please do yourself a favor and take a timewarp back to '85 to find out where these films originated from. See "Static".

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