Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rare Flix: The Lawnmower Man (1987)

Before it went CG, it was a Dollar Baby.   Today's film is The Lawnmower Man, the original Version from 1987.  Time for back-story!  In the 1970s and 80s, King would license the rights to his Stories for a one-time fee of $1.  The films didn't end up in Theaters, but, instead of King's shelf.  Naturally, some of them made it online for us to see.  Will this be as interesting as the earliest version of 'Children of the Corn?'  For one thing, this one is actually based on the Story!  The Brett Leonard film was changed to cash in on the name- thanks, Movie Studios!  Speaking of Movie Studios, the man who wrote this film version was the President of Production for both New Line Cinema and Dreamworks.  He has since gone on to Produce a number of films, including the Social Network, Moneyball and the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey film.  He also Wrote Judge Dredd and Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, so...less good.  If you don't know about the original Story, you will be in for a real surprise.  To find out how odd this 12-minute film is, read on...
A lazy suburbanite is paying a High School Student to mow his lawn for him, since Capitalism.
However, a cat runs into the mower and gets killed.  Don't let the $5,000 Budget fool you- that totally happened.
In the aftermath, his nagging wife forces him to sell the Mower.  When his lawn grows humorously-high, he gets desperate and hires a man who has an ad in the Paper.  Seems natural to me.
He takes a nap, but wakes up when he hears the Mower.  He sees...the Mower running on its own and the man following behind it eating the grass- naked.
He confronts our lead and tells him that this is all natural.  He also says that if anyone doesn't go along with this 'natural' method that bad things happen to them.  Right.
Our hero decides to call the Cops, which doesn't end well for him.  The Lawnmower Man sicks the Mower on him, which eats up a chair before killing him in the yard.

In the aftermath, the Police theorize about who did it as the killer rides off laughing.  The End.
How did this turn into Jobe's War?!?  Damn- this is an odd one.  It is definitely an early King Story though.  Thanks to all of the films made from his work, the tropes are pretty easy to spot.  They don't say it, but it is probably set in New England.  As one Commenter said, this Short has a real Creepshow vibe.  How did this not make it into Cat's Eye and 'The General' did?  That one was about a tiny Goblin that fights a Cat!  Where was I?  Oh yeah, this Story.  Watching this one after watching both of the Theatrical films is really, really weird.  There are loose adaptations and then there are those films!  If someone with actual talent makes another Creepshow film, it would be nice to see this one done right.  As bizarre as this tale is, it feels weird to consider that this only has a low-budget Dollar Baby version available Online (probably not legally) while there are THREE Sometimes...They Come Back films out there.  What do you think about that, CG Sprite of Jobe?
Next up, I cover a film that everyone was in love with three years ago.  Being late to the party doesn't stop my Drive though.  Stay tuned...

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