Scorpion Releasing // 1986 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // July 13th, 2013
Have you never heard of goosefoot?
In 1973, Robin Hardy wrote and directed, The Wicker Man, which would become the most famous horror movie ever to come out of Ireland. Personally, I think it's a wildly overrated film that I remember most for Britt Ekland running down hallways naked and slapping walls. While I know there's more to it than that, I still don't really like it. As much a cult favorite as it is, Hardy only made one other movie until a couple of years ago, when he made a poorly done sequel to his first film. It's called The Fantasist and, lo and behold, it's not pretty bad, too.
Patricia (Moira Harris, Breakdown) is a small town Irish girl who has moved to Dublin to start her life. Almost immediately, she starts receiving strange and perverted phone calls from a stranger. Simultaneously, other young women start turning up naked and stabbed to death and, for good reason, suspects her downstairs neighbor, Danny (Timothy Bottoms, Johnny Got His Gun), who has crazy outbursts at random times and stalks her like he's guilty. But is he the killer, or is somebody more trustworthy to blame?
The Fantasist isn't necessarily awful, but it's so lifeless and boring that I would have preferred the movie had it been painfully bad. On the one hand, the mystery of who is making these calls and killing these women is patently obvious and, on the other, it has nearly no suspense or violence. The dialog and performances are no better; shoddy writing and inexperienced actors will do that to a movie.
Now, I've seen plenty of horror thrillers that are boring and obvious in exactly the same way, but so many of them have graphic violence or goopy special effects to fall back on; this one has neither. Instead, it has long driving and dinner scenes, as well as ridiculous obscene call segments that aren't nearly creepy or perverted enough to make things better. Nope, it has nothing of note that makes it interesting at all. Although, there is a really long horse race toward the climax of the movie, so if you like both the horror genre and the ponies, this might just be something you'll enjoy.
The Fantasist comes to DVD from Scorpion Releasing through the Katarina's Nightmare Theater label. The bumper bits with ex-wrestler Katarina Leigh Waters are the best part of the disc, which makes it pretty bad considering how bad the jokes are. The 1.85:1 image isn't terrible, but it's not as strong as much of their catalog. There's some damage to the print and an overall washed-out look, with weak colors and black levels. The stereo sound isn't much better; there's a bit of noise throughout and dialog is barely average. Aside from those bumpers, there are no extras on the disc.
There's really nothing good to say about The Fantsist. It's dull, suspense-free, and virtually bloodless, with poor performances and bland direction. So many people love The Wicker Man and I'll never understand why, but if you really need to see the only movie Robin Hardy made not in the Wicker universe, then here you go. Enter at your own risk.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1986
MPAA Rating: Rated R