Kirk Fury!

The Fury is on right now. This was the first movie I ever saw where someone got “blowed up real good”. My mom took us to see it without really knowing anything about it. (We were up in the woods, and the only theater was a second or third or fourth run joint.)

Not a great movie (though maybe one of De Palma’s better ones). But Kirk Douglas is in it, and whatever his acting skills, he’s 62 years old in this thing and jumping around in shorts like a kid. Looks ten years younger. (He’s 64 in Saturn 3, where Farrah Fawcett plays his girlfriend at 33–and she looked a lot younger, too.) At 70 he would be in Tough Guys with the also preternaturally vigorous Burt Lancaster, though Lancaster (at 73) was starting to show his age.

Seriously, Kirk is like swinging from signs and jumping across trains. Not as many stunt men as you might think.

Random connections: Director De Palma, of course, got his big start from–and gave a big start to–Stephen King with the iconic Carrie. The Fury was written for the screen by John Farris, who adapted it rather faithfully from his novel. It’s the story of a couple of telekinetic kids who are chased after by the government and ultimately taken to a black ops hideout for military purposes. Kirk Douglas plays the father of one of the kids and he uses his talents as a super-agent to try to break them out, even as they’re tearing up the installation.

Later, Steven King would write a book called Firestarter about a pyrokinetic kid who is chased after by the government and ultimately taken to a black ops hideout for military purposes. George C. Scott would play the super-agent who befriends the kid with the ambition to kill her, even as she starts tearing up the installation.

I read about three of Farris books right in a row back in the ‘90s and all three were similar to books that Stephen King would write several years later. Not making plagiarism accusations, mind you, I just thought it was interesting. It’s probably more indicative of a “horror gestalt”, revealing our collective fears, or at least what horror writers think those fears are.

Farris would publish a sequel to this book in 2001 (but before 9/11) wherein terrorists would attack America (with airplanes, even, if I’m not mistaken), as part of a master plot to make Americans give up their rights out of fear.

Other digressions: The Fury features an early role for Dennis Franz, a small role for 18-year-old Darryl Hannah and Alice “Large Marge” Nunn. At 25, Amy Irving is completely convincing (and quite lovely) as the ostracized high school girl.

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