Movie Review: Thinner (1996) – Scream Factory Blu-ray

January 27, 2024

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Corpulent lawyer Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke, Dust Devil, Robocop 3) spends his days drinking smoothies in an effort to shed some pounds, fucking that up by eating massive quantities of food, and getting mafioso-types off the hook legally… while not starring at the asses of the more comely members of the group of wandering Romany folk that have rolled into town.

Speaking of those folk, Billy manages to run over one of them with his car while getting a blow job from his wife, Heidi (Michael McDowell)… and since he’s buddy-buddy with The Man he gets off scot-F’n-free… but not before the tribe’s elder, Tadzu (Michael Constantine), touches Billy.

Before you can say “Slimfast” ol’ Billy-boy begins shedding pounds lickety-split, even though he hasn’t curbed his eating a damn bit… and get this, other folks the Elder touched have been afflicted with horrible maladies six ways to Sunday!

Will are hero find a way to remove the curse, or will he continue to lose weight until he’s skin and bones… literally?!

Based on a novel by none other than Stephen King himself (who also has a cameo role in the film, so keep those putrid peepers peeled), director Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play) isn’t afraid to go dark with this adaptation, filling the screen with a host of unlikable characters, black humor, and of course a host of impressive practical effects.

Speaking to that first point, Burke’s Billy is the closest thing we have to a “hero” of the piece first comes off as jovial and possessing at least a shred of principals, even if he does make a living getting obviously criminal-types off from various charges, but when the shit hits the fan he turns into a real mother fucker who isn’t above using his power and influential friends to simply walk away from straight up murdering a woman with his car.

Hell, he even throws his wife under the bus to save his ass, blaming the blow job she gave him for the accident… but don’t worry, she’s no saint either and takes to sexing up the town’s doctor even before her husband attempts to have her shoulder the blame.

You know your characters are pretty nasty when a mafioso (Joe Mantegna) is the only real friend Billy has…

All isn’t darkness however, as the film’s script (also provided by Holland along with Michael McDowell) has touches of humor throughout that helps keep us invested… as does the solid acting throughout and the voyeuristic tease of watching Billy try to save his ass while we actively root for the curse to have it’s way with him.

As for the effects of that curse, that is where the meat and potatoes of fun to be had here presents itself as special effects maestro Greg Cannom (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and his team showcase a host of impressive make-ups to depict Billy’s wasting away (along with glimpses of the fates of other sufferers of the preternatural ailment).

While we are talking about special things, this Blu-ray from Scream Factory comes with a belly full of special features!

Kicking things off we get three audio commentaries featuring Holand and Mantegna, producer Mitchell Galin (also joined by Mantegna), and film critic Lee Gambin & author Aaron Dries respectively.

Hollands commentary is archival, while the others are brand-new for this edition and all combined give a thorough analysis of both the film’s production, and legacy within the genre of cinematic King adaptations.

Following that we get new interviews with Holland, actress Jenney, and special make-up effects artist Vincent Guastini, a vintage featurette showcasing the film’s special effects, a theatrical trailer, TV spots, and a still gallery.

Downbeat, dark humored, and filled with great performances and special effects, Thinner is a top-shelf King adaptation and well worth a wicked watch if you dig on tales populated by unconventional protagonists, magic curses, and nastiness above and beyond!

Share This Article

You May Also Like…