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Steven King fans will find THINNER ($25) to be a macabre little gem of a horror movie. THINNER is one of the novels King wrote under the name Richard Bachman, back when his publishers thought that too many titles from the prolific horror writer would cause a glut in the marketplace. Director Tom Holland and co-writer Michael McDowell effectively bring King’s story to the screen and make it a devilishly fun horror outing. Robert John Burke stars as Billy Halleck, an obese New England lawyer who falls under a gypsy curse after accidentally killing the daughter of the Gypsy King. Since Billy is able to avoid prosecution by the authorities, thanks to a number of high placed friends, he falls victim to gypsy justice.

Michael Constantine portrays Tadzu Lempke, the 109-year-old Gypsy King who touches Billy’s face and utters a single word. That word, "thinner" is all that it takes to set the curse in motion. At first, Billy is delighted with his sudden weight loss, but he soon discovers that no matter how much he eats, he is still rapidly shedding pounds. Doctors are confounded by the problem, and Billy soon comes to realize that his is not a medical problem. Billy makes an appeal to the gypsies for mercy, but Lempke won’t lift the curse. Billy in turn places a curse on the gypsies that they laugh off. However, with the aid of a shady client, Richie Ginelli (Joe Mantegna), Billy manages to make his curse against the gypsies stick. The cast of THINNER also includes Lucinda Jenney, Kari Wuhrer, Joy Lentz, John Horton, Daniel von Bargen, Elizabeth Franz and Stephen King.

Republic Entertainment offers THINNER in a Letterboxed presentation on a THX certified DVD. The Letterboxed transfer presents THINNER close to its proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Color reproduction on the DVD is excellent and the image is well defined. Digital compression artifacts were seldom noticeable.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a very pleasing mix, which uses the discrete channel capabilities very well. The soundtrack has a good stereo image, plus the surrounds are used to excellent effect. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track and a running audio commentary. The audio commentary features director Tom Holland and actor Joe Mantegna. Their talk about THINNER turns out to be quite enjoyable and offers a good bit of information about the production. English captioning as well as Spanish and French subtitles are available on the DVD.

The DVD also includes a featurette about the film’s intricate special effects makeup, which allows actor Robert John Burke to go from 300 pounds down to almost nothing.

THINNER is a terrific little horror movie that looks and sounds great on DVD. Horror fans and Stephen King’s fans in particular are going to eat this DVD up.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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