Now that the Losers Club has reunited to kill the evil of Pennywise the Clown once and for all in the second chapter of IT, Awfully Good Movies is going back to another "horrific" Stephen King adaptation that probably won't be getting a big budget remake any time soon: the 1996 weight-loss thriller THINNER!
This King tale was the last book that he published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman before he'd have his part-time secret identity revealed to the world, with the book selling ten times as many copies after King was revealed as the real author. And a decade after its publication, it was up to director Tom Holland of FRIGHT NIGHT and CHILD'S PLAY fame and BEETLEJUICE screenwriter Michael McDowell to wring some terror out of King's story involving a sleazy overweight lawyer--played by failed RoboCop replacement Robert John Burke--whose wife attempts to give him some (ahem) "oral arguments" while he's driving behind the wheel, leading to the vehicular manslaughter of an elderly woman crossing the street. Unfortunately, this woman's 109-year-old father happens to be a so-called "gypsy" who conjures up a curse against his daughter's murderer that causes the lawyer to rapidly lose two to three pounds per day until his body has wasted down to nothing, with the lawyer racing against time to get the curse taken off him.
But despite the top-notch prosthetics from Oscar-winning makeup artist Greg Cannom (THE MASK, MRS. DOUBTFIRE), this horror story tends to veer into more comedic territory as it goes along, especially when you bring in Joe Mantegna to play a mobster (what a shock there) who helps his lawyer buddy get revenge on the magically adept Romani by shooting up their campground with a machine gun and splashing them in the face with fake acid. And while this flick does at least contain more intentional laughs and entertainment value than Tom Holland's previous Stephen King miniseries adaptation of THE LANGOLIERS, it forgets to create any actual scares, even with Stephen King himself popping up in a cameo. But then again, the last adaptation of a Richard Bachman book involved a spandexed Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting an opera-singing fat guy who lights up like a Christmas tree, so perhaps this movie is pretty scary by comparison.
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