SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION Add To My Top 10

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Release Date: February 23, 1990

Starring: Brad Dourif, Jon Cypher, William Prince, & Melinda Dillon

Genre: Horror/Science-Fiction

Audience:

Rating: R

Runtime:

Distributor: Taurus Entertainment

Director: Tobe Hooper

Executive Producer:

Producer: Jim Rogers

Writer: Tobe Hooper & Howard Goldberg

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Content:

Very graphic violence; astrology; murder and revenge; and, few profanities and obscenities

Summary:


Review:

Volunteering to take a radiation-protecting serum as part of a government test in 1955 to create "nuclear babies", a young couple is placed in a fallout shelter on which a hydrogen bomb is later dropped. The experiment seems to be a success until the baby, conceived in the shelter, is born. When the baby opens his mouth to cry, his parents burst into flames and are incinerated.

The movie explains the phenomena is explained as "spontaneous human combustion", an occurrence that supposedly has happened many times throughout history. It is also referred to once as "the fire of God."

Meanwhile, the name given to this first baby of the "Samson Project" (to parallel the Samson of the Bible) is Sam, and he grows to adulthood. Sam, though, begins to have problems: parts of his body are starting to explode, and people with whom he is angry are exploding in flames. Like him, Sam's girlfriend turns out to be a product of the same experiment. However, neither one of them can control their fire power.

Together, they uncover a government conspiracy to breed fire babies. Sam sets out to get those responsible, as his body slowly metamorphoses into pure, fiery energy. After frying several people, Sam "heals" his girlfriend by "taking her fire", which, unfortunately for him, causes him to disintegrate.

What makes the film worse than better are the technically well-done special effects, which graphically intensify the unedifying visceral experience of watching someone burn to a cinder. The film makes a feeble attempt to bring God into the picture in a weird, mystical sort of way, but no one ever turns toward God. Sam, in fact, voices a belief in astrology, and his first attempt at finding a solution is to call a radio talk-show psychic. This is one of those films that will be at the video store before you know it, so avoid it there, too.

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