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The Fantasist (1986)

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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(Nov 19, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

From the director/writer of the cult classic The Wicker Man, Robin Hardy, comes a new kind of thriller! A psychopathic killer in pursuit of his next victim crosses paths with Patricia Teeling (Moira Harris), a young woman full of enthusiasm for her new life in Dublin. Patricia settles in with Monica, and soon becomes the object of desire for two men - teacher Robert Foxley, and Danny Sullivan (Timothy Bottoms, Johnny Got His Gun, The Last Picture Show), a romantic American writer.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Moira Sinise, Christopher Cazenove, Timothy Bottoms, John Kavanagh, Mick Lally
  • Directors: Robin Hardy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: 101 Distribution ADA
  • DVD Release Date: November 19, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009CW56I8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,403 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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It was made 13 years later (1986) and was marketed on video as a slasher film which it absolutely is not. The image you see on the cover (copied from the original VHS tape) doesn't even remotely occur in the film. Yes there is a serial killer and a couple of women die but, that's not what the film is really about. The movie is set in Dublin and it deals with one woman's attitudes toward men and sex in then contemporary Ireland. The central character of Patricia (Moira Harris) is a country girl who goes to Dublin to make her way and to escape her parochial family who have other plans for her. Although she is savvy enough to be wary of most men, she is still on the lookout for Mr Right. While there she becomes interested in an American writer (Timothy Bottoms) and becomes the target of the "phone killer" who has murdered Bottom's wife along with several other women. Could it possibly be Bottoms and if it isn't then who is it?

Writer-director Hardy takes this scenario and invests it with pungent observations on the nature of relationships especially from a woman's point of view. He also explores the darker side of sexuality as the titular character is obsessed with recreating a famous nude painting by Francois Boucher of Louis XIV's mistress (who happened to be Irish). This gives the film the elements of an Italian "giallo" but if you've come looking for a typical slice and dice offering than forget it. As was evident from THE WICKER MAN, Robin Hardy has more on his mind than just a simple crime story. It is full of eccentric, occasionaly humorous touches including a truly bizarre "spanking" scene (not from Mr Bottoms by the way). It also has a hurried, unsatisfying ending which is why the 3 star rating. Still THE FANTASIST has something to say and should be seen for its social observations alone. It's a hard film to categorize and, as such, will have a very limited appeal.
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Format: DVD
Robin Hardy has been claiming to be the creator of The Wicker Man for all of his undistinguished career, but anyone who knows anything about film knows that screenwriter Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth; Frenzy) was the auteur behind The Wicker Man rather than director Robin Hardy. For proof of this one need only watch his two other films--The Fanatasist and The Wicker Tree, both of which he wrote and directed.

The Fanatasist is in theory a thriller about a madman murdering women in Ireland after making many poetry filled phone calls to the victims before finally finishing them off with a knife. A young lass from the country moves to Dublin and becomes his next target. Sounds promising, no?

The most distinctive element of Robin Hardy's screenplay is the unnatural dialogue that was obviously "written", and The Fantasist offers a whole lot of it--this is one of the talkiest thrillers you are ever likely to see. There really is no attempt to generate any suspense at all until the last twenty minutes of the movie which doesn't make much sense for a thriller, leading to the obvious question--what kind of movie did writer/director Robin Hardy think he was making, exactly?

The Fantasist is talky and dull--the most positive thing I can say about it is that it isn't quite as terrible as The Wicker Tree.
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