HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Spontaneous Combustion Fiery Temper
Year: 1990
Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Brad Dourif, Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher, William Prince, Melinda Dillon, Dey Young, Tegan West, Michael Keys Hall, Dale Dye, Dick Butkus, Joe Mays, Stacy Edwards, Brian Bell, Frank Whiteman, Judy Prescott, Betsy Thomas, John Landis
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in 1955, the United States military were conducting atomic bomb tests to perfect their weapons, and a young couple were part of those experiments. They were Brian (Brian Bremer) and Peggy (Stacy Edwards) who were invited to contribute as the scientists conducted research on them to see if they could counteract the effects of radiation, and were strapped into a lab near a bomb site as the explosion was going off to get a large dose, but as it turned out they suffered no ill effects and went on to feature in news reports. But then they became an actual nuclear family when Peggy fell pregnant: their bosses were not happy, yet someone in the hierarchy saw an opportunity.

Tobe Hooper had not directed a big screen feature since middle of the previous decade with the sequel to his most influential classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, when he made this, though he had been fairly busy in series television in the interim. Somehow, the experience with that trio of mid-eighties Cannon productions had knocked the wind out of his sails cinematically, and you could argue he never really recaptured that talent in the waning years of his career of which Spontaneous Combustion was probably the first to indicate he was no longer a director to be reckoned with. If anything, it looked like a TV movie with stronger violence.

Or maybe a feature length version of an instalment of the Freddy's Nightmares anthology he had experience of, as aside from Brad Dourif going above and beyond the call of duty in a performance more committed than anyone around him, home video was the natural place for this, though it did see the inside of a few theatres. With lowered expectations, you may get a degree of entertainment value out of it, but those expectations would have to be ignoring the fact Hooper directed one of the greatest horror movies of all time, and had spent the rest of his time behind the camera trying to live up to that, so knowing he had penned the script here was no compensation for a shoddy affair.

That introduction before the main plotline began was stretched out to a difficult to accept twenty minutes or so, when what we wanted was to get on with the action, though when that action revealed it was not going to go the Stephen King's Firestarter route and have assorted vehicles exploding in extravagant, oily plumes of flame the anticipated spectacle was thin on the ground. What effects there were turned out to be much like the ones which see off the fifties parents, as no sooner have they named their baby than they have caught fire (superimposed over the actors) and burned to a crisp, hence, spontaneous combustion. We then fast forward to the present, i.e. 1990, and catch up with the child who is Sam (Dourif), about to celebrate his thirty-fifth birthday.

Quite why they had to wait for that advanced age for all this to occur is not explained, but a lot went muddily elucidated upon, what we know is that people around Sam are having the habit of dying in a fire, and he could be responsible since his fingers and a hole in his arm keep lighting up with a jet of flame. He has a girlfriend, Lisa (Cynthia Bain) and she does her best to cope, but she is hiding a secret of her own... well, it's exactly the same secret in a try at milking pathos by introducing a tragic love story. Much as The X-Files on television would, Hooper wove a conspiracy through the narrative as shadowy figures continually hang around with syringes and a doctor from the original tests (Melinda Dillon) has a go at contacting Sam to clear things up, but unlike The X-Files this was unable to sustain its paranoia for a whole movie, never mind a few seasons. With a guest starring John Landis incinerated, the results were all over the place, mostly worth it to see the effects sending the cast into fiery oblivion or maybe the unusual electric accoutrements in Sam's apartment. Music by Graeme Revell (not his finest).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1975 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Tobe Hooper  (1943 - )

American horror director who has spent his whole career trying to live up to his electrifying The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. After the similar but not as good Eaten Alive, he directed the miniseries of Salem's Lot, slasher The Funhouse, and blockbuster Poltergeist (despite rumours of producer Steven Spielberg's hands-on involvement).

Then a string of under-achievers: vampire sci-fi Lifeforce, sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and remake Invaders from Mars led to mostly straight to video or television work: Spontaneous Combustion, Night Terrors, The Mangler and Crocodile. In TV he has directed episodes of Dark Skies and Taken. A remake of The Toolbox Murders went some way to restoring his reputation with horror fans.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: