By Chaz Lipp
The Fury is director Brian De Palma’s 1978 follow-up to his infinite better-remembered 1976 hit Carrie. For anyone who enjoys the more popular works of De Palma, particularly his bravura visual style, The Fury is a worthwhile curiosity. Recently the film made its Blu-ray debut courtesy of the boutique label Twilight Time. As with all their titles, the release is a true limited run, with only 3,000 copies available (via their exclusive distributor Screen Archives).
This genre-bender has an additional pair of household names attached to it that might whet the appetite of anyone for whom the De Palma name holds no appeal. The score is by John Williams, paying tribute to the late Bernard Herrmann. A regular feature of Twilight Time’s release, Williams’ score is available here as an isolated track for those who wish to study his work in further detail. The other big name is star Kirk Douglas, who runs around like a man half his age (he was into his 60s when The Fury was produced).
It’s willingness to blend genre is unfortunately the film’s Achilles heel. De Palma and his screenwriter (John Farris, adapting his own novel) have taken one part horror, one part sci-fi, and one part conspiracy thriller, thrown it into a blender and the result is The Fury. The plot centers on an institute housing psychically-gifted young adults (run by Charles Durning). Government official Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) attempts to weaponize the minds of these kids, including the unusually powerful Gillian (Amy Irving). Childress doesn’t know what he’s getting into when he kidnaps Peter Sandza’s (Douglas) similarly talented son, Robin (Andrew Stevens).
As we get some visually trippy sequences involving Gillian (anyone that touches her bleeds profusely), Peter tries to track down his son. Robin is gaining strength by the day, rapidly losing control of his own powers. Make no mistake, it all adds up to a convoluted, silly mess and should leave no one surprised as to why it has been all but forgotten over the years. But the anything-goes zaniness is also what works in its favor. There’s an unpredictable quality to The Fury, with lots of loopy moments and well-staged suspense, that makes it worth seeing if any of this sounds the least bit intriguing.
The 1080p transfer isn’t among the better I’ve seen of films from this era. The grain gets a little out of hand, with dark scenes looking particularly noisy. I’m not suggesting there should’ve been rampant DNR applied to smooth over the authentically ‘70s film look. But the level of grain here, at times, negatively impacts the level of fine detail on display. It’s not all that bad, however, just not a stunner. Audio is presented in both DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 and 2.0. The dialogue sounded a tad harsh at times (and too prominent) in the 4.0 mix. I preferred the simply, smooth 2.0 mix. Williams’ score sounds great on the isolated DTS-HD 2.0 track.
The only other supplement is the film’s trailer, but don’t forget to read Julie Kirgo’s informative essay about The Fury in the Blu-ray’s booklet.