The Fury (1978)

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The Fury (1978)

Post  BoG on Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:32 pm

This was director Brian de Palma's follow-up to Carrie (1976) and has some similarities, such as telekinetic superhumans, but there are also some key differences to the plot. A lot of this involves one of those shadowy government agencies, also made popular by Stephen King in later fare such as Firestarter. This agency is interested in developing superhumans as special weapons. Kirk Douglas plays Peter, a retired agent whose son Robin (Andrew Stevens) happens to be one of these extra-talented people. Unfortunately, Peter is betrayed by his friend at this agency, played by John Cassavetes; Robin is spirited away to places unknown, setting the stage for Peter's quest to find his son. Eventually, Peter acquires the aid of another powerful telekinetic, a young girl (Amy Irving) who has just learned of her own powers.
What's surprising about the structure of this supposed meditation on superior humanity is its emphasis on the spy/thriller angle; most of this film comes across as another standard spy thriller, with Kirk Douglas evading the forces of Cassavetes while also on the hunt.  It's only in a few trendsetting set-pieces involving actual displays of superpower that the film veers into unusual territory and establishes its own peculiar style (much was made of the groundbreaking Scanners from Cronenberg a few years later, but it just seemed to copy from this). It all leads up to the eye-popping finale  - that's the scene everyone talks about and remembers.
The cast is uniformly good - Irving especially is impressive in an early starring role (she was also supporting Sissy Spacek in Carrie).  Douglas still had his star power and Cassavetes is appropriately sinister. There's also good support from Carrie Snodgress as Kirk's sometime girlfriend and Charles Durning as the head of the institute that explores potential powers in humans. Though this is thought of as a horror film, it's mostly sci-fi, the then rare exploration of super-powered humans. The horror materializes from the transformation of an average young man into an inhuman monster. Back in the late seventies, this was a fairly bloody presentation. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
Furious Trivia: very early small roles for Dennis Franz (as a beleaguered cop) and Darryl Hannah (as a student).
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