Monday, March 13, 2017

The Stephen King Guaranteed Weight Loss Program, or Thoughts on Thinner

From director Tom Holland of Psycho II (1983), Fright Night (1985), and Child’s Play (1998), Thinner (1996) offered Stephen King’s novel approach to weight loss and America’s obesity epidemic: Gypsy curses.  From the 1984 novel of the same name (one of his Bachman books), Thinner features veteran character actor Robert John Burke as New England lawyer Billy Halleck, rocking a fat suit like he’s Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal (2001).  During a late night session of uh, automotive fellatio, he accidentally runs over an elderly Gypsy lady.  During the inquest he’s completely exonerated and the 106 year-old Gypsy father of the victim lays a curse on Billy, along with the judge and the police chief, and Billy starts losing 3 lbs a day and wastes away until he’s skeletal.
The film is a study in gluttony and the old careful what you wish for scenario, and a sly commentary on our national weight loss and fitness obsession.  With Kari Wuhrer from Sliders as Gina Lempke, one of the Gypsies and Joe Mantegna as one of Billy’s mobster clients.  Also watch out for the Stephen King cameo as Dr. Bangor, the pharmacist.  Has Stephen King had a cameo in all of his movies?  Pretty much, his IMDb has 21 acting appearances including crossovers in projects he must have liked, including Sons of Anarchy (2010) and George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007).
Gypsy curses are an under-appreciated genre with only three major films so far, this one, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009), and Lon Chaney Jr.s’ The Wolf Man (1941).  It would take Brad Pitt as Mickey O’Neill in Snatch (2000, “do ye like dags?”) to make Gypsies cool. There are no Gypsy curses in Snatch,  but there is a lot of cursing.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).