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Special Effects (1984)

ZoŽ Lund , Eric Bogosian , Larry Cohen  |  R |  DVD
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: ZoŽ Lund, Eric Bogosian, Brad Rijn, Kevin O'Connor, Bill Oland
  • Directors: Larry Cohen
  • Writers: Larry Cohen
  • Producers: Barry Shils, Carter DeHaven, Paul Kurta
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001VTPVI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Special Effects" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From the mind of Larry Cohen (Phone Booth) springs this kinky (Chicago Reader) thriller about voyeurism, filmmaking and murder. Starring Zoe Tamerlis (Bad Lieutenant) and Eric Bogosian (Wonderland), Special Effects is a searing exploration of human nature's darkest depths! She was young. She was beautiful. She was primed to be a star. But now she's dead, and the morally bankrupt director who strangled her is intent on covering up his crime by shrouding its details in the plot of his next movie! By convincing the homicide investigators to consult on his film, director Chris Neville (Bogosian) successfully alters the course of the investigation. But when the movie make-believe becomes too hauntingly similar to reality, Neville finds his plot unraveling in the final reel.

Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rough-hewn movie buoyed by great lead performance. October 24, 2004
By D. Mok
The presence of Ms. .45 star Zoe Tamerlis was what made me rent this DVD in the first place. Unfortunately, since her role in Ms. .45 was as a mute, I had no idea how bad her dialogue delivery could be. She has physical presence and an unusual beauty, but her performance in Special Effects is simply amateurish, like watching an acting student in class. This effectively ruined her character, no matter how much flesh she was willing to show and how victimized the character is.

Luckily, bug-eyed Eric Bogosian delivers the goods big-time as an obsessive, borderline psychotic film director who recreates his murder of an actress in his own film. Bogosian doesn't overdo the mental instability of the character (unlike, say, Joe Spinell in Maniac), relying on low-key menace and internal intensity to do the job, and it succeeds grandly. Fortunate for the film, because Special Effects is an otherwise rough, oftimes pretentious movie with a laughable music score that makes the whole thing look like a porn parody. However, one or two effective thrill sequences (the lights-out ending is great, as well as the murder by film strip) added to Bogosian's terrifically unnerving presence make for a watchable thriller whose strong moments do reward you for enduring through the weak ones. Worth a look.
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Keefe travels from Oklahoma to Manhattan and tracks down his wife, a struggling model (Zoe Lund with an awful southern belle accent) still looking for her first big break. Still wanting to pursue her career and having no interest in returning home to resume the role of mother to their toddler son, Andrea sneaks out the bathroom window of her apartment and leaves her hubby (again). In a last ditch effort at stardom, she ends up at the home of Chris Neville, a recently fired director after budget issues on his latest film, in addition to a recent flop. Andrea assumes gaining the attention of a filmmaker when they're down and out should make getting noticed in the business much easier. But refusal to have sex with Neville while on camera leads to being a reluctant participant in a snuff film. Will she finally get her 15 minutes of fame in the afterlife, as Neville prepares a comeback (and, secretly, an alibi) using the footage of her death? And what are the odds of Keefe (the number one suspect in his wife's death) finding an exact look-alike to Andrea (also Zoe Lund, this time in a more natural European accent) in New York? An unusual thriller that only seems to be in the horror subgenre as well due to writer/director Larry Cohen's track record and the snuff film part of the storyline. Intriguing the first time around, but a second viewing may not be necessary. 5.5/10
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Little Effect! April 6, 2006
By Steve67
Genere favorite Larry Cohen wrote and directed this film, which offers a little more than your typical slasher pic from the 80s. In this movie we follow a husband as he goes to the big city in search of his wife,whom moved from the country in hopes of making it big as an actress. Clues lead the husband to a known director, whom apparently was the last to see his wife. Little does he know that the director actually murdered the wife and caught it on film, which also bcame the inspirationof a new movie featuring the deceased woman's characterand guess who plays the husband inthe film. Yes the real husband actually plays the woman husband in the movie, and the girl they got to playthe role actually looks a lot like the original girl. A case of deja-vu occurs when the director attempts to recreate the actualmurder in his film, where he begins to question fantasy from reality, and ultimatley putting the new girl and husband life in danger. Although the movie does bring an intresting formula to film, the low budget, poor performances,and unintresting characters cause the project to suffer.The film has its up and downs, but do to the slow pacing and seemingly clueless characters, we're left rolling our eyes more than pondering what will happen next. Had they gotten better actors and fxed the script up, then maybe we could have a tense picture.Overall we had poor acting and low budget,it could have been an intresting hitchcockian- thriller was nothing more than a dull interpretation of a would be fake snuff film.
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