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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.27%
Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 6.82%
Pretty Bad: 11.36%
Total Crap52.27%

2 reviews, 32 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"'Children of the Corn,' come back; all is forgiven."
1 stars

In 1985, Stephen King published 'Thinner' under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. The movie version has King's name all over its ads. King got it backward: he should have put his name on the book and Bachman's name on the movie. 'Thinner,' easily the worst movie of 1996, is a wretched excuse for a horror movie and a flat-out disgrace on every level.

King's premise has an air of AIDS/cancer paranoia. Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke), a 300-pound lawyer, tries everything to lose weight. One night, as Billy drives home from another high-calorie dinner, his wife (Lucinda Jenney) distracts him with, um, romantic overtures -- bad timing, because an old woman picks that moment to dart out in front of his car. Splat. The old woman, it so happens, is the daughter of an ancient gypsy (Michael Constantine), who puts a weight-loss whammy on Billy. He goes from 300 pounds to 280, then 240, and so on. This worked in the book, because Billy's deterioration unfolded in our imagination. In the movie, Billy's curse is a matter of a slim actor wearing less and less (unconvincing) fat make-up and more and more (unconvincing) thin make-up.

Thinner wants to be a psychological horror film, but director Tom Holland (who made another bad King movie, The Langoliers, for TV) isn't up to it. He and co-writer Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice) resort to it's-only-a-dream clichés and pitiful attempts at humor, such as Billy and his daughter (Joy Lenz) swapping amazingly unfunny Godfather jokes in reference to Billy's Mafioso client Ginelli (Joe Mantegna). Holland has no idea how real people talk or how real movies move; it's a long 92 minutes.

The movie also deserves an ensemble award for inept acting, since Holland lets everyone underact passively or overact aggressively, shrieking at the poor innocent camera. This could be fun (Bronson Pinchot's psychotic flailing in The Langoliers kept me amused), but here it's just embarrassing. To be fair, the script is no help. Michael Constantine, whose gypsy looks like a homeless Buddy Hackett, gets to deliver great stuff like "You die thin, White Man from Town, but you die clean."

In the difficult lead role, acting through pounds of latex, Robert John Burke is no Eddie Murphy. Partly it's his dull voice, but mainly it's his body language. Most real-life large men (John Goodman, for example) move with a mindful grace that comes from a lifelong awareness that they occupy more room. Murphy had it in The Nutty Professor. Burke just shuffles around in a fat suit, which was a rush job by Oscar-winning make-up artist Greg Cannom (Bram Stoker's Dracula) and looks it.

Thinner is angry and depressing aside from being awful. It can be read as a metaphor for AIDS being spread by infidelity; Billy bitterly blames his wife for his condition and suspects her of honking his doctor buddy. King's twist ending, involving a deadly pie, is nasty and ironic in the tradition of EC Comics and King's own Creepshow, but the movie botches it.

King, at least, served a tasty gypsy pie. Tom Holland's pie is stale and tasteless.

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originally posted: 01/02/07 13:39:21
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell a fat ass gets cursed a viewer gets bored 1 stars
7/04/16 brian Only winner is whatever dentist repaired all the damage from endless chewing of scenery. 2 stars
2/26/11 Marty Holy shit. Fire Charles Tatum. 1 stars
6/08/10 David Hollingsworth A movie about actual paint thinner would be better than this 1 stars
8/31/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! Kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White suspenseful plot as only King can do 4 stars
7/17/07 David Cohen An old world Gypsy band in the US? Who can stay thin swallowing that much corn? 1 stars
2/06/07 action movie fan good thriller better than most usesers here claim it to be 4 stars
1/03/07 del Stephen King sucks...and this movie sucks even WORSE!!!! 1 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
11/21/05 Jeff Anderson Pretty good & Burke's great. The stunningly gorgeous Kari Wuhrer is a STANDOUT & A BLAST!!! 4 stars
8/19/05 ES ok, acting was strained, movie not overly scary 3 stars
6/10/04 Jack Sommersby Substandard adaptation of King's harrowingly effective novel. 2 stars
6/10/04 y2mckay pretty lame, but still better than most adaptations of S.K.'s stories 2 stars
6/08/04 tatum Same downfall as novel- the gangster character 4 stars
11/05/03 American Slasher Goddess Just plain sucks, big time. 1 stars
10/10/03 Erik Van Sant Joe Mantegna was in Baby's Day Out. He can't be cool. 1 stars
7/04/03 Dave Hopman Pretty good and entertaining movie. Not true to the book? Never read it.... 4 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden Gives The Classic King Novel A Bad Name. Pointless. 1 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi The only thing thinner was my wallet. Stephen King rules, but this movie was a turd. 2 stars
2/12/00 Lame-Oh Teen movie critic II's review sucks, 'cause she's a lousy spud. The hell with dis movie! 1 stars
12/24/99 JonnyAngel Teen movie critic2 is a dumb bitch. For proof,read any of her reviews. Thinner sucks too! 1 stars
12/10/99 Kenton R. Riley Obviously used to be a short story, drags as a film. 2 stars
5/15/99 Ah Dooey Advice to Stephen King: YOUR F**KING MOVIES STINK! 1 stars
2/27/99 Viral Messiah Oh boy, this is terrible. 1 stars
2/02/99 Jacques Strap Wham! Wham! Wham! Wham! Wham! 1 stars
10/13/98 tw blows 1 stars
9/25/98 ShadowStar Yep. That's how my wallet felt afterward: Thinner. The book was MUCH better. 1 stars
9/01/98 MikeF This was stupid. ut it entertained me. cause I like almost every movie. 3 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! 1 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball King adapted crap. Lame. 1 stars
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  25-Oct-1996 (R)
  DVD: 21-Aug-2001

  11-Jul-1997 (18)

  25-Dec-1996 (M)

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