Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Special Effects

Director - Larry Cohen (It's Alive, Full Moon High)
Starring - Zoe Lund (Ms. 45, Hand Gun), Eric Bogosian (Beavis and Butthead Do America, The Stuff), and Brad Rijn (A Return to Salem's Lot, The Stuff)
Release Date - 1984
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "A shocking, sensual thriller"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Larry Cohen, just like David Cronenberg, is a very underrated director.  His career has spawned 4 decades and pumped out some memorable cult classics like It's Alive, Q, The Stuff, and A Return to Salem's Lot.  His career has been pretty impressive but there are several films of his that goes unnoticed.  One film in particular is the 1984 horror/thriller Special Effects.  This is one I've heard a few of the older horror fans talk about but I had no idea it was actually a Larry Cohen film.  Sometime ago Olive Films released Special Effects on bluray.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send one my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows abandoned father Keefe (Rijn) who visits New York to find his wife and bring her back home to be with their son.  He is able to track her down and he holds her against her will until she is able to escape.  She flees across town and tries to meet a famous director that recently had a falling out with Hollywood and succeeds.  He invites her up to his room and makes love to her before killing her on while secretly recording the affair.  Keefe is arrested for the crime but the director uses his influence to get him released and stages to film around her actual murder but as the film continues shooting Keefe gets closer and closer to the real answer as to how his wife actually died.
     I knew this film would be more dark thriller than horror.  The artwork painted that picture clearly but I was expecting a little more in the ways of kills and special effects considering that is the film's name.  It doesn't make this film a bad film but was a little misleading.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  I'm not that familiar with Eric Bogosian but he was phenomenal in this film.  There was a few scenes where he truly came across a maniacal.  I loved that.  Very few actors could pull that off.   Brad Rijn was great as well.  You could really feel the love he has for his estranged wife and child.  The supporting cast is solid as well making this a very well rounded film.  The story for this one I could easily see as being inspired by an erotic romance novel.  It starts out strong, throws a few turns your way, and ends right where you want it to.  I really enjoyed it and thought it was very well written.  Finally, this one has a few on screen kills but they are extremely lackluster and forgettable.  The effects for these are non-existent which takes a lot of points away from the overall film.  I understand why the film has the name Special Effects but the fact there is none in the film somewhat pisses me off.  Overall, Special Effects is not a bloody flick but it is story rich and has an amazing cast.  If you are wanting something story driven with no blood then I would recommend this one.  Check it out.

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