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Spontaneous Combustion (Widescreen)

Brad Dourif , Cynthia Bain , Tobe Hooper    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 55.73
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the last decent movies from Tobe Hooper. Oct. 17 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The premise is a good one, probably inspired by Stephen King "Firestater" in one way. It does begins promisingly in the beginning, two young people (Stacy Edwards and Brian Brener) are used as guinea pigs for an amotic-weapons expierment during the mid 1950's. They survived the expirement but once there son is born. The parents find themselves spontaneous combusts. When the baby grows up fine until 35 years later...Now He is an adult named Sam (Brad Dourif). Which he doesn't know he is born with the side-effects from his parents. Every time, he gets mad, he bursts out fires on himself or other people. Now he finds himself using his powers to find out the truth, including the people, he thought he knew and trusted.

Directed by Tobe Hooper (The Funhouse, Poltergeist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) made an entertaining, sometimes stylish B movie with enough thrills and some darkly humourous moments. Dourif is very intense here, he is the most memorable thing in the movie. Two-thirds of the way, "Spontaneous Combustion" is very entertaining. Hooper, who also co-wrote the story offers enough story. Which usually story is not the thing, he is known for. Hooper is certainly an style over subtance director. Hooper knows, where to set up the camera and he can film some stylish sequences always, even on his weakest pictures. It is the last act of the story falls apart like most of his movies do, like "Lifeforce" and "Invaders from Mars" remake are examples. "Spontaneous Combustion" is notable for being Hooper last decent movie until "The Toolbox Murders" remake. It is a campy, fun picture but it is really Dourif's performances brings it together.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pyromania over the top! Dec 31 2002
Format:DVD
The silliness begins in 1955 with newlyweds Brian and Peggy Bell undergoing a secret government experiment to give humans an increased resistance to radiation. As an unfortunate side effect, (don't all nuclear experiments have icky side effects?)their newborn child has developed the ability to cause people to burst into flame. Alas, Brian and Peggy are our first victims and our first hint that this is not going to be a special-effects masterpiece.
Jump to the present-day (late 80's) and our little firestarter is all grown up in the form of university student, Sam Kramer (Brad Dourif). Sam's opening scene is a school play audition wherein his performance is so pathetically bad that even his loving fiance, Lisa (Cynthia Bain) tells him not to quit his day job. If this scene was meant to ease the audience into Dourif's unconventional manner of acting by poking fun at him, it doesn't work, because we'll get to cringe a whole lot more as Dourif spends the rest of the film screaming and bugging his eyes out in an over-the-top performance that, for many other actors, would be a career-ending one. Even if this movie had a decent director, Dourif is woefully miscast and should really stick to roles that welcome complete psychosis like Grima Wormtongue (The Two Towers) and Piter De Vries (Dune).
Cynthia Bain doesn't fare much better, which is a shame because she does show some promise and is one of the better actors in the movie. Indeed, seeing her smiling face early on, while dressed in some attractive, if outdated outfits is one of the few bright points of the film. Unfortunatley, the screenplay soon has her bouncing between moderate to extreme hysteria, reminiscent of the closing scenes of Pumpkinhead, but without the believable motivation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION: Contents of this movie may be hot! Oct. 25 2002
By chatchi
Format:DVD
spontaneous combustion
Function: noun
: self-ignition of combustible material through chemical action (as oxidation) of its constituents -- called also spontaneous ignition

The thought of inanimate objects -- such as a pile of rags, or an old collection of tools -- spontaneously bursting into flames, is terrifying. Well, imagine if there was such a thing as spontaneous HUMAN combustion! Pretty scary, huh?

For Sam, it's not only scary, it's reality.

Sam always knew that there was something wrong with him, but he couldn't quite figure out the origin of his problem. After years of research, Sam discovers that his parents had been used in a number of atomic-weapons experiments shortly before he was born. The government was attempting to engineer the perfect weapon for war. When the project fails, the government hides all evidence of the project, and it becomes a tightly-kept secret.

Or did it?

No!

As a result of Sam's parents' repeated exposure to radiation, both of their genetic codes were changed, eventually being passed onto their first (and only) child, Sam. Because of the radiation running through his veins, Sam discovers that he has the uncanny ability to make things AND PEOPLE burst into flames.

Talk about getting "hot under the collar"!

"Spontaneous Combustion" is a masterful horror/sci-fi movie by one of the most talented filmmakers in the industry - Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Poltergeist").
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pyromania over the top! Dec 31 2002
By Matthew Duren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The silliness begins in 1955 with newlyweds Brian and Peggy Bell undergoing a secret government experiment to give humans an increased resistance to radiation. As an unfortunate side effect, (don't all nuclear experiments have icky side effects?)their newborn child has developed the ability to cause people to burst into flame. Alas, Brian and Peggy are our first victims and our first hint that this is not going to be a special-effects masterpiece.
Jump to the present-day (late 80's) and our little firestarter is all grown up in the form of university student, Sam Kramer (Brad Dourif). Sam's opening scene is a school play audition wherein his performance is so pathetically bad that even his loving fiance, Lisa (Cynthia Bain) tells him not to quit his day job. If this scene was meant to ease the audience into Dourif's unconventional manner of acting by poking fun at him, it doesn't work, because we'll get to cringe a whole lot more as Dourif spends the rest of the film screaming and bugging his eyes out in an over-the-top performance that, for many other actors, would be a career-ending one. Even if this movie had a decent director, Dourif is woefully miscast and should really stick to roles that welcome complete psychosis like Grima Wormtongue (The Two Towers) and Piter De Vries (Dune).
Cynthia Bain doesn't fare much better, which is a shame because she does show some promise and is one of the better actors in the movie. Indeed, seeing her smiling face early on, while dressed in some attractive, if outdated outfits is one of the few bright points of the film. Unfortunatley, the screenplay soon has her bouncing between moderate to extreme hysteria, reminiscent of the closing scenes of Pumpkinhead, but without the believable motivation. It is actually a testament to her acting abilities that she can keep a straight, albeit tortured face through an increasingly ludicrous and muddled plot. In one scene, while driving her deteriorating, flamethrower of a boyfriend to the doctor, she has to alternately comfort and express her love for him while dodging the jets of flame shooting out of a hole in his arm. With driving skills like these she belongs in NASCAR, not this whacked-out flick.
If you think this sounds completely insane, just wait, it gets better - or worse depending on how you like your camp. After all, the words, "subtle" and "Tobe Hooper" are never found in the same sentence, let alone the same screenplay. As with Hooper's other works like Poltergeist and Lifeforce, the level of chaos and zaniness can only escalate, but in this case, on a very limited budget. Soon Sam Kramer is inadvertently toasting everyone around who even mildly upsets him - from a snotty radio producer (John Landis in a cameo role) to a friendly old security guard to an evil doctor/scientist who's trying to inject our poor hero with some green goo that looks fresh out of a cylume stick. All of this culminates in one of moviedom's most memorably silly climaxes that will leave you either laughing hysterically or uttering a very large: "huh?".
Bottom line: If you enjoy campy movies, Spontaneous Combustion can be quite fun at times. Unfortunately, the film is laced with enough seemingly serious acting and overtones to give the viewer the feeling that it wasn't meant to be funny. This, combined with a demented musical score and some seriously flawed writing make for an experience that can only be truly enjoyed by die-hard Brad Dourif (or Cynthia Bain) fans.
As far as this DVD version goes, the transer is very so-so and the only extra offered is a theatrical trailer. Blech.
6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION: Contents of this movie may be hot! Oct. 25 2002
By chatchi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
spontaneous combustion
Function: noun
: self-ignition of combustible material through chemical action (as oxidation) of its constituents -- called also spontaneous ignition

The thought of inanimate objects -- such as a pile of rags, or an old collection of tools -- spontaneously bursting into flames, is terrifying. Well, imagine if there was such a thing as spontaneous HUMAN combustion! Pretty scary, huh?

For Sam, it's not only scary, it's reality.

Sam always knew that there was something wrong with him, but he couldn't quite figure out the origin of his problem. After years of research, Sam discovers that his parents had been used in a number of atomic-weapons experiments shortly before he was born. The government was attempting to engineer the perfect weapon for war. When the project fails, the government hides all evidence of the project, and it becomes a tightly-kept secret.

Or did it?

No!

As a result of Sam's parents' repeated exposure to radiation, both of their genetic codes were changed, eventually being passed onto their first (and only) child, Sam. Because of the radiation running through his veins, Sam discovers that he has the uncanny ability to make things AND PEOPLE burst into flames.

Talk about getting "hot under the collar"!

"Spontaneous Combustion" is a masterful horror/sci-fi movie by one of the most talented filmmakers in the industry - Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Poltergeist").
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie! Dec 29 2010
By Siddova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
What's not to love? You have to know it's a low budget sci-fi movie from the 80's going into it. If you love those kind of movies then this one is for you!
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Weird Aug. 25 2005
By The Cool Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I remembered seeing this when I was younger and really freaking out over the carousel scene where the parents are in the bed all hot for each other. I mean, really HOT. Flaming hot in fact. That scared the (blank) out of me!

Now that I am no longer a wee lad, but am a bit older and wiser, I watched this movie with great interest. One word: "Huh?" This is the freakiest movie ever. And I don't mean that in a good way. It is Dumb with a capital D. Brad Dourif is weird, man. It freaks me out to even look at the guy. And the story is really lame. A psychic radio show guy gets set on fire through the phone. Sam's mentor turnes out to be an EVIL MADMAN who is trying to set him up with his sister/girlfriend Lisa so that together they will breed and create the ULTIMATE SECRET GOVERNMENT WEAPON so that this crazy guy can have THE ULTIMATE POWER. Uh, sorry. You kind of lost me back there somewhere...

The ending is... uh, funky. Some bad special effects with a memorable last line: "Lisa, I can take your fire." Then the movie just ends. What? It just stops. Like, "Okay that's it. You can all go home now. Sorry for wasting your time."

This movie would have had a great theme song if they had used The Doors' "Light My Fire". I can definitely see telling Cynthia Bain to "Come on baby light my fire." I give this movie 2 stars instead of 1 because... well I'm not sure why really. I guess I just like to witness Brad Dourif's flame-sprouting dementia.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very strange May 3 2005
By NateMonroe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I liked this movie, but there were alot of loop holes in it's logic and the end was horrible. One loop hole is 2 caracters are riding in a car, and one begins shooting flames all over the place. Neither gets even scorched. But by the end of the movie, the one character is burnt pretty bad.On the other hand, the movie takes a creepy surreality at times that if it had maintained, this wold have been a classic. Example is at one point 2 characters are discussing the situation, and in the middle of the conversation voices from the radio add clues to the mystery. The 1950's Area 51 atmosphere is a plus.The ending makes no real sence.I do like ths movie, and love parts, but over all, the end was crap.
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