The Last Horror Film - Fanatic 2000 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
Low-budget it may be, but The Last Horror Film (aka Fanatic) has panache aplenty and makes what appears to be a short trip to Camp Gore a surprisingly significant trek into the land of mystery, madness, and mayhem. Despite its greasy star, a real excess of bad acting, wretched early 80s soundtrack, deficient cinematography, and unimpressive special effects, this film really won me over in the end, not least because of the somewhat surprise ending.
Joe Spinell plays Vinny Durand, a New York taxi driver who dreams of becoming a famous movie director. He is particularly taken with Jana Bates (Caroline Munro), the biggest horror film starlet in the world. Jana is in fact so larger than life that she is up for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival (for her performance in Scream, a film which culminates in her character getting a radical new look at the hands of a madman with a blowtorch). Vinny has saved up his money, and so it is that he bids adieu to his mother and heads off to Cannes, determined to get Jana to be in the film he has written just for her. Not surprisingly, he can’t get near such a big movie star, but he does come in contact with her producer ex-husband, an agent, a movie director, and others who don’t exactly embrace his genius. Oddly enough, several of these very same people soon turn up dead or missing, starting with director (and Jana’s ex-husband) Bret Bates (Glenn Jacobson). Many, including the French police, interpret these events as publicity stunts, leaving Jana decidedly vulnerable to Vinny’s determined advances. Speaking of Vinny, we watch him spiral farther and farther into obsession, emotional turmoil, and maniacal behavior. His disturbing mental condition is seen most clearly in a series of emotional phone calls to his mother, in which he often breaks down crying as he tells her that he is indeed filming a movie with Jana and that he is finally going to make her proud of him.
It’s all pretty formulaic stuff until you reach the final crescendo of blood and suspense, and it is this ending that allows The Last Horror Film to rise a little bit above all the unoriginal, derivative films littering the shelves of the B-movie horror genre. But wait - there’s more. The filmmakers even throw in a little social commentary along the way, making the definite link of an obsessed horror fan with the timely assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan by Jodie Foster-obsessed nutjob John Hinckley, Jr. Jana, as the reigning queen of horror, also offers a few nice points about the violence of horror films.
The Last Horror Film was actually filmed in and around the Cannes Film Festival of 1981, which turns out to be an ideal setting for such a film dealing with the blurring of reality and fantasy vis-à-vis the movie business. You’ll see footage of a couple of minor stars (such as Cathy Lee Crosby), and Robin Leach actually turns up as a reporter in one scene. That just makes the film all the more fun to watch. The real highlight for me, though, was the performance of Filomena Spagnuolo as Vinny’s mother; she was a natural for the part because she was the real-life mother of Joe Spinell. She can’t act a lick, but the mother-son dialogue between her and Spinell is really funny at times.
So, in conclusion, I really liked this unprepossessing little film. Its weaknesses are there for all to see, but so is the creativity that is too often found lacking in horror films of any kind, especially ones featuring a decent amount of gore.
About The Last Horror Film - Fanatic (2000)
Starring: Caroline Munro,
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