CANNES FILM FANATIC
Mr. David N. Alcock | gillingham, kent United Kingdom | 04/25/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Vinnie Durand (Joe Spinell) is a New York cabbie with delusions to be a legendary film producer. He is obsessed by horror movie queen Jana Bates (Caroline Munro)and making her the star of his movie. Vinnie saves his tips and gets a ticket to the south of France where Jana is promoting her new movie at the Cannes Film festival. He tracks her down in clubs and press conferences but can't get close to her. After her producer/ ex-husband's throat is cut he sets about disposing of anyone else "preventing" him making his movie. He finally gets too pitch his big idea to Jana in her bathroom with the aid of a broken champange bottle. She manages to escape but police are sceptical about her story and think it may be publicity stunt. Vinnie eventually kidnaps Jana and makes his movie but not without a few unexpected twists in the plot. Fanatic sees a partial reprise for Spinell's MANIAC role and although dangerous he portrays a much more pathetic,deluded character but not as repressed or indeed manical. The film contains several dream sequences portraying Vinnie as a successful producer and in these and many of the confrontation scenes Spinell's menacing but vunerable performance really convey the extent of his obsession and instability. Also known as THE LAST HORROR MOVIE its worth watching for Spinell and Munro fans and anyone partial to psycho stalker scenarios. Set against the backdrop of Cannes it provides a snapshot of the 1981 film scene. Not so much a must have movie as a must see once movie."
An unusual and surprisingly impressive little horror thrille
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 09/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Cheesy, but interesting....
D. Bortnik | New York, NY | 05/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"No doubt about it...this film is very outdated BUT that's what's great about it! Considering when it was made, I thought it was a decent 80's horror/comedy film. Vinnie Durand is an obssessed fan of scream queen, Janna Bates. He follows her around, tapes her, dreams about her, thinks about her all day long....he basically lives and breathes her. BUT she does not even know he's alive. He desperately wants to make a movie with her, but no one is giving him a chance to get near her....Vinnie won't stop trying though! During all this, several murders are being committed. Each victim (who is part of the film crew) receives a letter saying, "you have made your last horror film....goodbye!" Then dies...
Overall, I thought it was OK. Joe Spinell's performance was good...the others were from OK-bad. I am a big fan of 80's horror flicks/80's films...even the cheesiest ones, so I liked it."