When a controversial fashion photographer starts to see through the eyes of a maniac, she becomes a target for the killer herself.
It might surprise a few of you out there to know that the storyline for late 70’s slasher Eyes Of Laura Mars was written by John Carpenter. I’m hoping that on its own will be enough to get you to go track a copy down; if not I’ll try and sell you it a little more.
With a stunning cast featuring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, this is a real oddity of a slasher flick. Laura Mars is a controversial fashion photographer, based in New York and dividing critics with her mix of fashion photography and shocking imagery. Her models are often nude, apart from the occasional fur coat, and situated in crime scenes or simulated road accidents.
The problem is that Laura is starting to have psychic episodes, her photographs bear a striking resemblance to unreleased crime scene pictures, and more terrifying, Laura “sees” through the eyes of the killer as he stalks and eventually stabs his victims through the eyes with an ice pick.
It’s an eerie premise, as when the incident occurs, Laura can only see what the killer is seeing.
There are a number of suspects in her circle, and though you probably won’t be fooled by the ending, the performances are so good that you do care about the characters involved, and who will live and die.
Directed by Irvin Kershner, the scenes with Laura “witnessing” the crimes, and trying blindly to prevent them, are distressing and silly at the same time.
During a vision, she gets in her car and drives in busy traffic to try and prevent the attack. Of course, it’s a disaster, but how she even manages to get in the car is a miracle if all she can see is the killer’s viewpoint. However, it’s entertaining enough to allow us to forgive the failings in the premise.
Full of kitsch and sparkle, there’s enough camp here to make Zoolander blush, but it’s still got a very scary idea behind it and the murders and nudity were enough to make Barbara Streisand turn down the roll, although she sings the end credit theme. Everyone is playing this for real, and that adds to the production values.
It’s well scripted, and there are some genuinely tense scenes. Dunaway is terrific and Tommy Lee Jones’ grizzled new York cop also works well. It’s an under rated gem from Carpenter, and widely goes unnoticed in his portfolio, dwarfed by the success of Halloween, but fans should seek this out, especially in the countdown to the 31st.