Friday, May 27, 2011

Movie Review: The Fury (1978)

Psychic teens are cool. So cool that Brian DePalma had to make another movie about them almost right after directing Carrie in 1976. Two years later he came out with The Fury, with Carrie co-star Amy Irving in one of the lead roles. And though Carrie herself had some pretty awesome power, the kids in this movie are capable of some dangerous stuff of their own.

Psyche out plot: Government agent Peter Sandza are on the run from former co-workers who betrayed him by kidnapping his young son, Robin, who is gifted with psychic powers. In Peter's pursuit to find Robin, he enlists the help of another psychic teen named Gillian, who seems to have a connection to Robin.

While Carrie was about telekinesis in relation to high school horrors, The Fury grows the concept up a bit because now the teens are thrust in the middle of the adult world, with adults who want to harness their powers for evil. In this way, The Fury also resembles another Stephen King book/movie - Firestarter - but in this one the kids don't know what kind of danger they are in. Neither do the adults for that matter.

There's almost two separate movies going on at the same time for most of the film. We start off on a beach in the "Mid East" where Peter - played by the always awesome Kirk Douglas - is enjoying the day with his son and his friend Ben Childress (John Cassavetes, who played the worst husband in the history of the world in Rosemary's Baby). Terrorists with machine guns storms the beach, spray some bullets, and Robin is left thinking that his father has been killed, while Childress whisks him away in a car. Peter is obviously not dead, knows Childress betrayed him, and gets royally pissed off.

The other story going on Gillian's, who has the same awesome power that Robin does. In fact, she's almost cooler because when she has visions while touching people, she makes them bleed out of old wounds, their eyes, and in one gross scene, their fingernails. Gillian wants to go to the Paragon Institute, a place that specializes in helping kids with special abilities. Hester is a woman who works there, and helps both Peter and Gillian to find Robin and keep Gillian from being used like he has.

Gillian is acted quite well by Amy Irving, obviously more well known as Sue Snell in Carrie. It's great to see her in a role with a little more meat to it because she is a pretty good actress. And she's actually well suited for a leading lady role. She must be both vulnerable and able to be manipulated by the people who run the Paragon Institute, but also she must be able to show the kind of power she possesses and how it could make those same people fearful of her.

Some reviews I've read have said that this movie was boring but I didn't get that at all. Kirk Douglas has some interestingly funny scenes early on (when he breaks into that apartment) and Robin and Gillian's displays of their power get more and more violent and revealing so you know that something really cool is going to happen eventually. Robin's shining moment is of course when he makes his girlfriend spin around in the air really fast with blood flying everywhere. However, where that blood came from, I shall never know. That's one thing I didn't catch on to.

Gillian's visions are well shot, although hokey by today's standards. The vision for the visions is there, if that makes sense. While in the Paragon Institute, Gillian sees Robin running up the stairs and either falling or being pushed out the window by the head honcho of that place. This is shown in the background with Amy Irving in the foreground, obviously in front of blue or green screen (see picture). Like I said, it's not as well done as could be done now, but for this movie it works and conveys the idea that it's supposed to. And this isn't the extent of the effects shots in this movie either, don't worry! The best moment ever comes at the very end.

That ending. THAT ENDING. Even if you hated the movie up until then, you can't watch that final scene and not go, "HOLY SHIT! That's awwwwwesome!" I don't know if Childress was as much of a sleazebag to deserve getting telekinetically blown up, but it looked freaking great. He explodes through his chest mostly, leaving his head intact to fly straight up in the air toward the camera. DePalma then makes the moment even more glorious by showing the explosion over and over again in slow motion from almost every angle possible. Thank you, Mr. DePalma, I truly enjoyed that. One of the best endings ever.

Although not as popular as its predecessor Carrie, The Fury is an underrated gem from a great director. There are great actors and some fantastic standout sequences that make it a must see for horror fans.


  1. Girl Who Loves Horror -- once again, you deliver with a great review....
    You know, I actually prefer this film to Carrie. Blasphemy, I know!

    But, great write-up!

  2. simon zinc trumpet-harrisMay 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    I agree with you about that ending Michele its one of the all-time classics, however i always thought the rest of the film was an ocean of relative mediocrity, but then again i always regarded Carrie as being an over-rated movie as well.