Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor, Jeremy Crutchley, Vanessa Pike
Written by: Tobe Hooper, Stephen Brooks, Peter Welbeck, based on a story by Stephen King
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
MPAA Rating: R for gory horror violence and language
Running Time: 106
Date: 03/03/1995
IMDB

The Mangler (1995)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

My Horrible Laundrette

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After the TV movie Salem's Lot (1976), director Tobe Hooper moved into Stephen King territory once more by adapting this story, the seventh to come from King's superb collection "Night Shift." While the story was only 20 pages long and used its ludicrous idea superbly, Hooper's The Mangler goes on way too long and incorporates way too many ideas. And yet there's still something interesting about it, perhaps because of Hooper's sure touch or perhaps because of the lead performance by Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs). Levine plays John Hunton, a small town private investigator who looks into a brutal accident at an industrial laundry. A giant steam-ironer has begun sucking people into its maw and chewing them up. Daniel Matmor plays (as near as I can tell), John's brother-in-law, a hippie pacifist who introduces John to the idea of demonic possession. Robert Englund plays an entirely tacked-on evil character who runs the laundry; with his voicebox, his eyepatch and his lurching leg braces, he faintly resembles Everett Sloane in The Lady from Shanghai. Hooper provides plenty of rumbling, metallic gore but he uses the lengthy 106-minute running time to spend a few extra moments with Levine's suffering character (who lost his wife years earlier in an accident). Levine's slightly off-center throaty voice gives him a tragic bend, and his tentative relationships with his brother-in-law and with an elderly photographer (Jeremy Crutchley) give the film some much-needed humanity.

DVD Details: New Line Home Entertainment presents the film in its uncut version and provides a few demonstrations of the differences between it and the theatrical version. The disc also comes with the theatrical trailer, plus trailers for Critters and The Hidden.

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