1996 Certificate: 18

Synopsis

The director of Child's Play tackles the horror master's grim morality tale about an overweight lawyer (played by one-time Robocop Robert John Burke) who can't stop shedding the pounds after being cursed by an old gypsy. With his health and marriage deteriorating, the desperate lard-loser turns to a shady client (Joe Mantagna) to reverse the curse. But his chances of survival are slim.

Director

  • Tom Holland

Cast

  • Robert John Burke

  • Joe Mantegna

  • Joy Lenz

  • Lucinda Jenney

Review

Out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs? Wife nagging you to lose weight? Diet not working?

Why not try running over and killing the daughter of a 106-year-old gypsy? In the blink of an evil eye, you'll be shedding pounds at an alarming rate, no matter how much you eat.

It may sound drastic, but that's the situation lardy lawyer Billy Halleck (Burke) finds himself in after being distracted from driving by the amorous attentions of his wife (Lenz).

Acquitted of the crime by one of his judicial friends, Billy is confronted by the victim's father Tadzu Lempke (Constantine) outside the courthouse. The old man says one word: "Thinner".

Initial delight at his rapid weight loss soon gives way to fear when Billy realises that the curse is going to eat him away until there's nothing left.

Unable to reason with the vengeful Romany - or his spitting firebrand of a granddaughter, Gina (Kari Wuhrer) - Billy looks to his mobster client Richie (Mantegna) to lean on the family.

Armed with the catchy slogan: "The White Man From Town Says Stop", Richie sets about putting the frighteners on Tadzu and his travelling clan. But his targets are used to threats. They have followed through with many in their time.

Strictly speaking, this should be Richard Bachman's Thinner, written as it was by King under his occasional pseudonym. Appropriately, it is one of the author's leaner works, a gripping story that rattles through to a satisfactorily downbeat conclusion.