Thinner (1996)

Directed by: Tom Holland

Written by: Michael McDowell & Tom Holland
Stephen King (Novel)


Robert John Burke .... Billy Halleck
Joe Mantegna .... Richie Ginelli
Lucinda Jenney .... Heidi Halleck
Sam Freed .... Dr. Mike Houston
Bethany Joy Lenz .... Linda Halleck
Michael Constantine .... Tadzu Lempke
Kari Wuhrer .... Gina Lempke

Release Date:
Quick Theatrical: October 25, 1996

*Images courtesy at:





An overweight and greedy lawyer Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) is addicted to eating and his wife Heidi (Lucinda Jenney) tries to put him on a diet but one night while he isn't paying attention to what's on the road accidentally runs over and kills an old gypsy woman named Suzanne Lempke (Irma St. Paule) as her husband Tadzu (Michael Constantine) puts a curse on him after he pleads inncocent during a court case on her murder.
Billy realises that he is quickly losing weight no matter how much he eats which he thinks is a great thing but he is getting thin to the bone and also suspects that Heidi is having an affair with Dr. Mike Houston (Sam Freed) in which things go rotten for him and tries to find a way to break off his curse even if it means bringing up his thuggish friend Richie Ginelli (Joe Mantegna) to try and force Tadzu into breaking the curse off.


The story starts off spotting an overweight man which happens to be Billy Haleck in which we spot him on the weighing scale which isn't easy for anyone to see on how much they wiegh and this seemed fairly realistic. There's also corny discussions coming from him and his family here before heading to work.
We spot a situation with a young gypsy woman named Gina Lempke staring at Billy from a close distance doing some sort of a trick and then flipping him the bird and spitting at him as this doesn't give you a good feeling at all while spotting this.
There's even a cheesy situation when Billy dicusses about thinking of food while he's driving and then his wife Heidi starts doing oral on him in which this was supposed to look funny but yet is too silly and not laughable at all. However there's a bit of a shocking and intense moment when he isn't paying attention to the road and accidentally drives over an old gypsy woman.
Also after he wins a court case of being accused of literally killing this woman looks mysterious when the gypsy woman's husband Tadzu puts a curse on him but yet needed a bit more improvement to make this moment seem more convincing here as it fails a little bit.
Things seem to look energetic and uplifting when Billy realises that he's losing weight and gorging out on food as the slapstick situations here seems to be on target and it does make you think that he will be in a dangerous situation if he continues to lose weight which seems to draw you in to thinking the terror is starting very slowly here.
There's a real dark moment when he meets with a woman who gets freaky towards him as she explains about what will happen to him since her husband is having the same curse on him in which this looked nicely twisted here.
There's also a moment when Billy meets his friend when his face is deranged and acts freaky which works in fairly okay but still comes off as a bit cheesy too. The make up effects didn't look all that bad when we spot this though.
There's a real effective and dysfunctional discussion with Billy going crazily aggressive towards Heidi on the situation he's having as the writing on this and the reactions seemed to be on track at a good pace here.
There's a good setting with a bunch of gypsy's residing at their home which is sort of an outdoor campground with the locals hissing at Billy in which this all looked effective as well as him begging to Tadzu to take the curse off which seemed to be a good strong pointer as well as getting vicious about it. Also a nice vicious moment with Gina threatening him and shooting his hand which looked disturbing to watch and well done too.
There's even perfect haunting situations with his ghostly scarred friend driving in his vehicle with him near a bridge and then Tadzu driving his vehicle charging towards him which is the best scene ever and truly terrifying making you wonder if he is having a nightmare on this happening but it makes you glued to see what will happen next.
Also we have a perfect vengeful moment with Billy's friend Richie Ginelli firing away at the gypsy resisdence as well as a trick he has up his sleeve which looks exciting to watch too. There's even a situation when he slaps around Gina giving you a good feeling after the cruel deeds that she has done which also makes you want to watch everything that he does here.
Plus we have great make up effects with Billy looking as skinny and ghostly as ever when he meets up with Tadzu on how he will break the curse exposing a pie that looks lively as well as what he has to do by cutting his hand and putting blood on it. This seemed to look nicely done for a horror plot here.
Also there's a real evil moment which works in well when Billy finally comes home to greet his wife in which you kinda have a feeling that something dreadful is going to happen here.
Bottom line is this film seems to be a ripoff of Tales from the Crypt. Sometimes things seem to pick up but then it slides big time. It's really quite pointless with a thin plot to all of this and can disappoint the Stephen King fans big time. Not really scary either and you can tell the character Billy is wearing fake looking make up effects to make him look fat since the makers didn't put much effort into all of this either. Skip this one for sure.

The acting is fairly well performed but no award winning by any means. Lead actor Robert John Burke (Billy Halleck) seemed like a natural ham in his performance just acting light headed at first as well as showing good expressions on what he was doing. He also shows some good energy while gorging out on food and really getting into all of this. Also he shows great excitement when realising that he's losing weight acting very lifelike about all of this which really shows off well here too. He also shows a great versatality expressing his desperate atttitude which comes off perfectly as well as showing a terrific aggressive atttiude too acting totally off the wall here. Also he does well acting weak nearly dying in which he concentrated hard on this. Near the end of his performance he was pretty good by acting evil with his speaking and expressions too. This guy had all of it which is more than what I can say for the story itself.
Joe Mantegna (Richie Ginelli) really showed a nice slick type of attitude with his speaking plus he does well with his bad ass behavior with his gun shooting or demanding attitude too. He also does a great job by acting violent too showing off a great obnoxious type of energy here. Basically he took the bull by it's horns and was passable by all of this. He also had the nice tough guy looks which adds to what he does into his performance. Another good pointer here.
Lucinda Jenney (Heidi Halleck) does fairly well in her role as the protective wife in the film in which she seems to do fine with her assertive behavior which seemed realistic. But yet when she came across with her comedic attitude it fell flat like in the story but this was due to some corny making in the film regardless. She also does well whenever she acts stern or worried in certain scene's too which shines off well.
Sam Freed (Dr. Mike Houston) had the perfect decent like clean cut appeal to portray himself as the role he was portraying and seems to come off quite intelligently in his performance which also looked greatly done. He shows off a perfect characteristic into his part of the film and comes off nicely onto the camera within his performance here.
Bethany Joy Lenz (Linda Halleck) seemed to come off nicely with her typical teenage type of behavior and feeling down about stuff which she studied this part quite well by being troubled about her family. She also does a nice job acting full of life during the end of her performance as this looked just as good too. She shows some nice energy within this.
Michael Constantine (Tadzu Lempke) certainly knew his craft by portraying a gypsy with his hissing type of voice and a believeable vengeful attitude here. He really knew on how to act closed minded as well as being bitter about stuff. He throws this all in one and a good horror character he portrays here.
Kari Wuhrer (Gina Lempke) I thought was indeed the best out of the cast here as the daughter gypsy in which she seems to do well with her slick moves doing the start of her performance as well as getting vulgar too with a perfect viciousness too. I really found her to be believeably unpleasant and not a good person to be around. She shows alot of great aggressive adrenaline into what she does here. She was good with her aggressive speaking too just coming off by being perfectly wicked and evil. She does it all here.

A woman's head is badly bloodied after being run over with blood smeared on the windshield
A bullet is shot through a hand
A corpse in a car is revealed with his eyes plucked out and a chikens head stuffed in his mouth
A rotting corpse is revealed in a bed

Many great powerful trombone and flute playing along with the drumbeats for the suspenseful scene's used in the film as well as good string plucking. Also some good mellow violin orchestral music in other spots too. Plus some good mysterious piano plaunking for the dark secrets in the story that's about to unravel which sounded fairly impressive too. We also hear some sad violin playing. All of this was put together by Daniel Licht

Billy Halleck: I can't help it, Heidi. All I ever think about is... food!
Heidi Halleck: Well, maybe I can try to help you think about something...
[sticks her hand into Billy's pants]
Heidi Halleck: else. Still thinking about food?

Billy Halleck: What are you trying to do to me?
Heidi Halleck: What you wanted me to do in the back seat of your daddy's car. Prove my love to you.

Chief Duncan Hopley: [about Lempke's daughter] Oh, what the hell. Old lady was jaywalking!

Tadzu Lempke: Sir?
[brushes Billy's cheek with his palm]
Tadzu Lempke: Thinner...

Henry Halliwell: This diet you're on, what is it? I've tried all the others, I might as well try this one.
Billy Halleck: I don't think you'd like it Henry. In fact, I don't think you'd like it at all.

Tadzu Lempke: [tadzu gives Billy the gypsy pie that 2n lift his curse] Okay. You gain weight now. So quick you don't know what's going on. But, somebody, got to eat this pie, and soon. Everyone who eat pie die quick and bad. You got somebody?
Billy Halleck: Yes.
Tadzu Lempke: Yeah, you got somebody.
[He starts to leave but stops]
Tadzu Lempke: But why you don't do right? Eat your own pie. You die thin, but you die clean.
Billy Halleck: Get away from me. Our business is done.
Tadzu Lempke: [Pleadingly] Die clean, white man from town. Die clean...

Gina Lempke: [about Billy] Your friend is a pig! And he will die thin!
[about Richie]
Gina Lempke: But you will die first, you... bastard!

Billy Halleck: [last lines]
Billy Halleck: Dr. Mikey! A bit early for a house call, isn't it?
Dr. Mike Houston: Oh, Billy! It's- it's not what you think! I...
Billy Halleck: It's okay, Dr. Mikey. I was acting like kind of a big jerk. But, everything's fine with Heidi, I'm even starting to gain a little weight. In fact, I was just about to dig into this breakfast pie. Care to join me?
Dr. Mike Houston: I couldn't possibly...
Billy Halleck: Oh, it's no trouble at all...
Dr. Mike Houston: [enters the house]
Billy Halleck: ...white doctor from town.
Billy Halleck: [chuckles and shuts door]