Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Movie Buffs Attack!

Fanatic (aka "The Last Horror Film") (1982)
Starring: Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro
Director: David Winters
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

A delusional would-be filmmaker, Vinnie, (Spinell) follows his favorite horror movie star, Jana Bates (Munro), to the Cannes Film Festival where he proceeds to stalk her and her collegues while making the ultimate, true-to-life slasher-movie.

There was great potential in this movie, but it fails to reach it because of excessive padding and bad scripting. The story only functions because its characters behave stupidly--Jana is being stalked by a crazed killer who has gone after her twice, and yet she doesn't even hire any bodyguards, and gets no police protection?--and because the killer manages to pull off the impossible--such as making a corpse and all the blood vanish in a matter of moments, gets his hands on a police uniform in a city he doesn't know, and gets in and out of a backstage area during an ongoing production without being seen by anyone. The twist ending helps explain some of these plot problems (and twist-on-the-twist helps further), but these also feel like cop-outs on the part of the filmmakerrs who must have known their script had problems and were trying to do an easy fix.

"Fanatic" was a movie I really wanted to like, but it was just too flawed to be good. Maybe with about ten minutes shaved from the running time, and a little more care taken with the plotting and the twist-endings, this would have been an excellent little flick. It's one that could do with a remake. (In the 2010 version, Vinnie would be updating his Rotten Tomatoes blog on a thrice-daily basis and would have been ejected from the Horror Bloggers Alliance for trolling.)

(Amusing trivia: The movie that Jana Bates is in Cannes to promote is "Scream", which eventually became a real-life self-referential horror movie directed by Wes Craven.)

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