Blu-ray Review: THE FURY (1978)

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Review: The Fury / Cert: 15 / Director: Brian De Palma / Screenplay: John Farris / Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgrass, Charles Durning, Amy Irving, Andrew Stevens, Fiona Lewis / Release Date: October 28th

Kirk Douglas, bless his dimple, was really too old at 62 to play the swimming trunk-wearing hero of Brian de Palma’s The Fury, his telekinetic 1978 follow-up to the similarly-themed classic Carrie (1976). But, 35 years on, an old man in his pants is just one of The Fury’s problems…

Kirk plays Peter Sandza, whose son Robin (Stevens) is taken into the care of duplicitous family friend Ben Childress (Cassavetes) after a holiday resort shoot-out orchestrated by Childress to convince Robin that Dad is dead. Robin, possessed of extraordinary psychic abilities, is drafted to carry out secret experiments designed to weaponise psychics. Meanwhile Gillian (Irving) also possesses abilities including ESP and telekinesis and people she touches have the unfortunate tendency to start bleeding profusely. Attending the Paragon Clinic for help in learning how to control her talents, Gillian finds that she is in tune with Robin’s abilities and helps Peter track down his missing son. But nearly a year has passed and Robin has changed into a powerful, dangerous young man.

The Fury’s two storylines – which converge in an explosive and memorable finale – conspire to make the film a slightly schizophrenic experience. It’s also a slightly dull and plodding one; neither story is told with much energy and the film, steeped in the traditions and styles of post-Watergate American thrillers, never seems to get out of first gear or find any sort of momentum. Much of Kirk’s storyline is characterised by extraordinary and illogical incident and Gillian’s marginally more interesting arc just revisits ground De Palma had already covered to better and more horrific effect in Carrie. But then The Fury isn’t really a horror film per se and as a more conventional thriller it gives De Palma the opportunity to demonstrate some impressive stylistic touches, including a particularly effective slow motion foot chase sequence, some disorientating bird’s eye views and slow, dramatic tracking shots. But when the fractured and meandering narrative starts to come together The Fury belatedly finds its feet and there’s no denying that Cassavetes’ lovingly filmed death sequence ends the film with a very literal bang.

The Fury is very much a creature of its time, a worthy but heavy-going 1970s pseudo-conspiracy theory thriller struggling to come to terms with its supernatural affectations. Aficionados will, however, appreciate Arrow’s brilliant restoration and its slew of comprehensive bonus material. 

Extras: Interview with cinematographer Richard H Kline / Fiona Lewis interview / Location Journal feature / Archive interviews / De Palma film tribute / Production images / Commemorative booklet


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