When an obese attorney accidentally kills a gypsy with his car, the
gypsy's father curses him with extreme weight loss that will never stop.
Directed by Tom Holland
Written by Michael McDowell and Tom Holland
Starring Robert John Burke, Lucinda Jenney, Joe Mantegna, Michael Constantine, Sam Freed, Kari Wuhrer,
Bethany Joy Lenz, Daniel von Bargen
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Thinner is regarded as one of the worst movies ever to be made from Stephen King's work. While I agree that it is by no means a great movie, it's a far cry from the worst. Thinner sports a decent cast and stays true to the book, apart from the ending. The problem is that what sounds haunting on paper ends up looking goofy and ridiculous on film. Some books are unfilmable, and I would say that Thinner is one of them. Still, for what it is, I would argue that Thinner delivers what it promises, even if some things get lost in translation.
Robert John Burke plays obese lawyer Billy Halleck, who accidentally kills a gypsy and uses his connections to avoid jail time. The gypsy's father, Tadzu Lempke (Michael Constantine), curses Halleck and his two accomplices with varying plagues. Halleck gets extreme weight loss. Even though Burke's fat suit is one of the goofiest looking contraptions ever put on film, it's still slightly creepy to watch him drop all that poundage so quickly. I felt that Burke got better as the film progressed, with him being silly and annoying as a fat guy but dangerous and threatening as an anorexic pile of bones. I highly enjoyed Joe Mantegna as mobster Richie Ginelli, simply because he was playing Fat Tony from The Simpsons in live action.
As I said before, Thinner does not deserve the mantle of Worst Stephen King Movie Ever. Instead, I think it falls somewhere towards the bottom, but not quite touching it, right near Children of the Corn. It's not a chore to get through and if you were a fan of the book, it's neat to see pieces of it done relatively well. I do wish that Tom Holland had managed to capture the unsettling tone of King's novel, instead of whatever vision he was working with at the time.