Director: Richard Attenborough
Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) William Goldman (Novel)
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. Andre, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers
Plot: A ventriloquist is at the mercy of his vicious dummy while he tries to renew a romance with his high school sweetheart.
Verdict: Killer Dummy?
Story: We start by seeing how a young wanna be magician recounts his tale of how his first attempt at performing goes completely wrong leading him to snap at the audience. One year later everything has changed, he has worked on his act to include a dummy and now he is on the verge of becoming a major sensation. After the network want him to have a medical he decides to spend some time away from the limelight and tries to rekindle a romance with an old love. All this is happening as the dummy starts to take over his life.
This shows how fame could end up breaking someone as we see our hero slowly start to break with his multiple personalities coming through as his dummy. The dummy ends up being his dark side that is almost tired of everything not going his way next to his mild calm good guy. It uses the idea of a creepy dummy really well because even though you know who the voice and who is controlling him it still has that high level or pure creepiness. In the end it comes off as a very interesting look psychological horror that keeps you guessing. (7/10)
Anthony Hopkins: Corky Withers our young magician turned ventriloquist who is going to hit it big time, but when his dummy starts to take over his life things start to take a sour turn. Anthony shows why he is one of the best in the business by shining from start to finish. (9/10)
Ann-Margret: Peggy Ann Snow the object of Corky’s affection who he wants to run away but her commitments to her husband could stand in his way. Ann-Margret gives a good performance opposite Hopkins. (7/10)
Burgess Meredith: Ben Greene Corky’s agent who is trying to give him a deal of a lifetime and finds him after he runs away, he is the first person to see how Corky is changing and offers help. Burgess gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough time to shine. (6/10)
Ed Lauter: Duke Peggy’s husband who questions both after he returns from a business trip, he gets very suspicious but his curiosity will get the best off him. Ed gives a solid performance but never pulls of anything stand out. (6/10)
Support Cast: We only see any support cast early in the film who are mainly other people in the entertainment business or hecklers.
Director Review: Richard Attenborough – Richard does a great job directing a truly creepy film starring a pre-Hannibal Lecter Hopkins and he gets the dark side out of him perfectly. (9/10)
Horror: It is creepy but never reaches any real horror levels. (7/10)
Settings: After Corky runs away he ends up in an isolated location with no easy escape where he starts to break as the film unfolds. (8/10)
Suggestion: This is one to try, Hopkins gives a brilliant performance but it might not show enough horror for the true horror fans. (Try It)
Best Part: Hopkins is brilliant
Worst Part: Lack of real horror.
Believability: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Awards: Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA.
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $7 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes
Tagline: Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto chango, and now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun; we’re dead.
Trivia: Upon seeing Fats for the first time, Anthony Hopkins was allowed to take the doll home to work with it. However, he wound up being so unnerved by it that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw Fats into the canyon if someone didn’t come and get the doll immediately. Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins’ house to calm him down.
Overall: Creepy Horror Questioning One Man’s Mind