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4.0 out of 5 stars So wonderfully terrible
If you are interested in SHC this film is not for you. If however you want a fantastic, terrible B flim then it is! The bad 70s music, terrible plot and very odd links made me laugh out loud. Acting....mmm... who cares if there isn't any. The ending is one long comedy.
Published on 21 Nov 2010 by Tasi' Nic

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor film, but Brad Dourif is always worth a watch
Nevada desert, 1955. Peggy and Brian Bell, are being experimented on by the US Army to test the effects of exposure to atomic energy whilst testing a nuclear bomb. The test seems to go well, and the Bells are located in a picturesque suburbia. However, after giving birth to their son, the couple suddenly spontaneously combusted, a clear effect of the nuclear fallout. The...
Published on 21 May 2011 by TGillespie


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor film, but Brad Dourif is always worth a watch, 21 May 2011
This review is from: Spontaneous Combustion [DVD] (DVD)
Nevada desert, 1955. Peggy and Brian Bell, are being experimented on by the US Army to test the effects of exposure to atomic energy whilst testing a nuclear bomb. The test seems to go well, and the Bells are located in a picturesque suburbia. However, after giving birth to their son, the couple suddenly spontaneously combusted, a clear effect of the nuclear fallout. The baby boy survives them, and grows up to be Sam (Brad Dourif).

So we flash forward to the present day, where Sam's freakish ability to combust becomes increasingly dangerous to both himself and others around him. In one scene (with a cameo from John Landis), Sam has called into a radio psychic DJ - who has now gone off the air - and gets through to the Landis' radio technician who refuses to pass him onto the DJ (Dr Persons - played by Joe Mays). This increases Sam's anger (which as we have seen previously, makes Sam burnier), and he projects fire through the phone (in a pseudo-telekinetic flash), which results in fire streaming from the knee-caps of poor Landis. Sam's main goal is to find out about his parents and to determine why these phenomena keep occurring.

Tobe Hooper has not had it easy since the release of exceptionally brilliant debut The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre (1974). All of his subsequent films have either fallen foul of studio intervention (Death Trap (1977), The Funhouse (1981)), executive producer Steven Spielberg's ultimate overbearing on-set presence (Poltergeist (1982), or just poorly conceived ideas (Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986) and Texas Chain-Saw Massacre 2 (1986). He seems only in the latter part of the '80's produce Stephen King-like projects, either directly adapting a King novel (Salem's Lot (1979 -TV mini-series), or lifting pseudo-King story devices, much like Spontaneous Combustion. The use of fire as a telekinetic ability had been previously 'explored' in Kings Firestarter.

This is not a great film. The production values are akin to the TV movies/series' that were being broadcast at the time. this was seen throughout the genre in the early years of the decade. This period is almost a vacuum of popular visual culture, with the exception of one horror, the TV series Twin Peaks (1990-1991). The camera movements and compositions are standard television production. Aside from the lack of visual flare, there is one element that never really fails to please. That is of course Brad Dourif. I find everything that Dourif is in to be thoroughly fun to watch. Even, as in this performance, when he is wildly over-the-top. His eyes intense, and his vociferousness projected directly into you brain, sharp and direct. No one does sweaty anger like Dourif does. So, in conclusion. S**t film, but it is totally be forgiven cause Brad Dourif is in it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it, 2 Jan 2013
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A. Moncrieff (up your a s s) - See all my reviews
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It's no masterpiece, or even a terrific movie, but I really liked it! There are really only three actors who spring to mind as being capable of being able to (emotionally) "explode" - Klaus Kinski would obviously be top, Samuel L. Jackson could do it, but Brad Dourif was a really good choice. Right between doing the first Child's Play and playing the Gemini killer in one of my top horror films, Exorcist III, Brad took on a rare leading role in this film and he's really quite good, despite being saddled with some rather weak dialogue here and there. In this film, he gets to do a lovely variation on his soft-speaking, genuine nice and sensitive guy (ala his Academy Award Nominated turn as Billy Babbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) AND be shouty and incredibly intense. Note how awesome his voice is for both of these.
The opening scenes are quite awkward - they are recreations of the '50s, more TV movie than Back to the Future - and they culminate in some of the worst fire effects I've ever seen (John "Star Wars" Dykstra is credited as a effects consultant on this film, if you can believe that). These scenes should have been cut, but having said that, they're pretty vital to the story! So sit tight and point out the people you recognize from other b-movies, like the guy who was the living Ventriloquist dummy in "Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker". The rest of the film picks up a little, alternating between surprisingly well acted (the scenes with Brad Dourif in them) and typical late eighties shenanigans. There's a lot of fun scenes where people make Sam, Brad Dourif's character, really angry and fire erupts, occasionally engulfing the object of his anger in flames (including at one point, director John Landis).
Tobe Hooper was never really one of the heavyweights for me, despite having a near-household name. Three of his other movies I honestly love (Texas Chainsaw Massacre Parts 1 and 2 and The Funhouse), and about three or four of the others I can honestly say I enjoy (Eaten Alive, Lifeforce, Salem's Lot, this movie). This was his follow up to TCM 2, a great and fun movie but not a hit at it's release in 1986, so three years Tobe developed a new project himself, which became SC.
It's no classic, but considering how cheap DVD copies of it are, you really can't go wrong. Brad Dourif will make it worth your while!
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4.0 out of 5 stars So wonderfully terrible, 21 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Spontaneous Combustion [DVD] (DVD)
If you are interested in SHC this film is not for you. If however you want a fantastic, terrible B flim then it is! The bad 70s music, terrible plot and very odd links made me laugh out loud. Acting....mmm... who cares if there isn't any. The ending is one long comedy.
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Spontaneous Combustion [DVD]
Spontaneous Combustion [DVD] by Tobe Hooper (DVD - 2002)
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