Special Effects

Special Effects

Director: Larry Cohen

Cast: Larry Cohen, Zoe Tamerlis, Eric Bogosian, Brad Rijn

     
 

Unlike other films by this title, the subject matter of Larry Cohen's murder mystery is a dastardly film director whose last movie plummeted at the box office in spite of flashy special effects. He wants to climb back up from this failure, so when he murders an aspiring actress in a Soho apartment, in a twist of his already twisted mind, he throws himself into a… See more details below

Overview

Unlike other films by this title, the subject matter of Larry Cohen's murder mystery is a dastardly film director whose last movie plummeted at the box office in spite of flashy special effects. He wants to climb back up from this failure, so when he murders an aspiring actress in a Soho apartment, in a twist of his already twisted mind, he throws himself into a scheme to film a re-creation of the murder. As the movie plot, which is the director's plot, becomes more and more convoluted, he gets the detective assigned to the case to take part in his scheme and even gets the dead actress' husband to act out her murder in front of the camera. Laced with black humor and unexpected turns in the action, this director keeps the movie going, thanks to real director Larry Cohen who actually keeps the movie going.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Special Effects is an example of writer/director Larry Cohen at his most conceptually audacious. His script for this film touches on Hollywood egotism, the cruelty of showbiz, snuff films, the corrupting allure that moviemaking holds for neophytes and even works in a few allusions to Hitchcock (a key plot device is lifted from Vertigo). He grounds his unusual script with a low-key directorial approach that achieves some fine setpieces: the showiest moments are the murder that kicks off the plot and the loft-set finale but the most effective might be a silent, desolate moment where a dead body is abandoned in an isolated, snow-covered Coney Island parking lot. More importantly, Cohen anchors the film with gutsy performances by actors from New York's experimental arts scene: Brad Rijn brings a convincing sense of raw emotion to the naïve and confused husband and Zoe Tamerlis is an effective chameleon in her dual role as the victim and her fictional counterpart (essentially, creating dual images of naivete from two different backgrounds). However, the glue that holds Special Effects together is Eric Bogosian's furiously intense portrayal of the egomaniacal director who drives the story's events: he hits the right blend of charm and menace necessary to convince the viewer he is capable of pulling off such a bizarre murder-and-coverup scenario. The end result is a worthy sleeper for cult film fans who like their thrillers infused with offbeat themes and satire.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/01/2004
UPC:
0027616906984
Original Release:
1985
Rating:
R
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:46:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Original theatrical trailer; Screen formats: 16x9 widescreen (1.85:1), full frame; English mono; English, French & Spanish language subtitles

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Cast & Crew

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
1. Main Title/"Mary Jean" [4:00]
2. Unfit Mother [7:40]
3. What's Real? [5:05]
4. A Role to Die For [7:34]
5. Under Suspicion [8:18]
6. Let's Make a Movie [10:12]
7. Time to Start Rolling [5:22]
8. Casting the Lead [4:12]
9. Salvaging Andrea [9:52]
10. A Fresh Killing [2:32]
11. Charmed, I'm Sure [5:40]
12. Blurred Reality [9:28]
13. "Total Wipeout" [7:49]
14. Setting Up the Shot [10:03]
15. Final Death Scene [4:03]
16. Last Take/Credits [3:54]
Side #2 -- Full Frame
1. Main Title/"Mary Jean" [4:00]
2. Unfit Mother [7:40]
3. What's Real? [5:05]
4. A Role to Die For [7:34]
5. Under Suspicion [8:18]
6. Let's Make a Movie [10:12]
7. Time to Start Rolling [5:22]
8. Casting the Lead [4:12]
9. Salvaging Andrea [9:52]
10. A Fresh Killing [2:32]
11. Charmed, I'm Sure [5:40]
12. Blurred Reality [9:28]
13. "Total Wipeout" [7:49]
14. Setting Up the Shot [10:03]
15. Final Death Scene [4:03]
16. Last Take/Credits [3:54]

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