Blow Out (1981) B-movie Sound Man Records More Than He Can Chew

Blow Out (1981) italian movie poster

Was in the mood for an eighties movie last night, a thriller would do. Nothing came to mind, had a flick through Netflix to see John Travolta looking at me. First thought, I was certain I had seen it, though it must of been a long time ago. Reading the first line of the plot didn’t ring any bells. With a quick scan of IMDB I notice it had a very healthy rating and much loved by many. The little description of the plot sounded excellent and makes me realise that I may not have actually seen this film. Brilliant I’m buzzing, beer poured and ready to tuck into my steak and chips, I press play.

Blow Out is written and directed by the talented Brian De Palma and stars John Travolta as Jack, Nancy Allen as Sally and John Lithgow as Burke. Guess which one is going to be a bad guy out those three?

Blow Out (1981) John Travolta movie sound recording reel to reel cassette

Jack is a sound engineer working the overlaying sound production of low budget B-movie horrors. With the need for spooky sounding wind effects he sets himself up on a bridge overlooking a river. Using his fancy portable recording device to capture the wind rustling through the trees. Jack’s sensitive microphone can be positioned to record sounds from any angle he points at.  Having fun, he swings around listening to frogs, an owl, a courting couple and then out of nowhere the sound of a speeding car.

Tagline – Murder has a sound all of its own!

Right in front of his eyes the car has a blow out, skidding off the road into the river. Jumping into the water without hesitation, Jack manages to save a young lady but unfortunately the driver is already dead, unbeknownst to Jack that driver and girl might be the start of a whole heap of double trouble for him. Plus the girl, Sally, is extremely annoying though our Jack seems to be completely oblivious to this!

Blow Out (1981) John Travolta and Nancy Allen as Sally

It’s not long before Jack realises he has recorded the sounds of the car accident and with his sound technology skills, determines the tragic accident could of been in fact, actually a murder and more. Sadly this now puts Jack and Sally in danger. In walks Burke!

Now I’m no stranger to bad films but with all the praise, surely they can’t all be wrong! Man I thought it was terrible! and unfortunately not in the fun way like rubbish but good for a laugh films can be, like Black Moon Rising. Blow Out in my eyes took itself way too serious and featured some ridiculously bad acting, with the main culprit being Nancy Allen! Wow she was so freaking bad, her voice and mannerisms just didn’t show any panic or duress. Maybe she was just meant to be really stupid!

Blow Out (1981) John Lithgow as Burke psycho nutcase

The crazy serial killer addition to the movie just took the whole thriller conspiracy thread away but I guess it all joined up at the end. Oh the end!  Biggest laugh my ass off for ages. I don’t know if it was meant to be belly laugh, hilarious or deep and meaningful? Bless him, John Travolta is pretty good in this but man did I think it was a prized turkey. Hehe I did actually get really annoyed with myself that I could’ve been watching something really decent but I had to see it till the end.  This is from the man Brian De Palma who gave us classics and big favourites like The Untouchables, CarrieCarlito’s Way and the mofo Scarface!!

Ok I know, I know, don’t worry about it, tick it off and move on. We can’t like them all and we can’t all agree on them all. Some you love, some you get lukewarm feelings from and others you just get plain frustrated by.

Blow Out (1981) John Travolta as Jack close up shot

On a plus side, the filming is ace, some really creative shots. The camera rising up to take views from the ceiling looking down looked fantastic and close up shots with different action overlapping to the side are nicely done. Then there’s a real nauseating spinning 360 set piece which really makes you giddy as Travolta walks in and out of rooms, very cleverly achieved and adds to Jacks stressful scene.  At times it had a real feeling of Hitchcock’s filming style. Oh and another plus point goes to the spotting of the B-movie posters on the wall, that was very cool. Some were real, some were fake, I’m sure? Lure of the Triangle hehe

Blow Out (1981) Lure of the triangle Empire Of The Ants 80s film

Sorry if it’s your favorite film, different strokes and all that. But what with everyone saying it’s a long lost masterpiece! I wanna drink what they are having! You can’t win them all. Big love…… Mikey Wolfinsteiner.


9 thoughts on “Blow Out (1981) B-movie Sound Man Records More Than He Can Chew

  1. Too bad Blow Out didn’t work for you, I loved it. I’ve heard the argument before that Nancy Allen is annoying but didn’t distract me as I was so wrapped up in the story. Movie buffs tend to have watched this film while regular folks have never heard of it 🙂
    A piece of trivia for you, it’s an unofficial sequel of sorts to Blowup (1966), by using sound recording rather than photography as its motif.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Massive fan of Blow Up, superb film and I love David Hemmings. I have it queued up for a post at some point… Don’t get me wrong I didn’t totally mind it, was being a little over dramatic, tongue in cheek say :). Though Nancy Allen was really bad (love her in Robocop and even Strange Invaders which I trashed a bit on too) but it wasn’t that so much as the whole serial killer stuff. My fault though, I was hoping for more of a conspiracy “The Conversation” style. The last scene was quirky and very funny. Plus loved the Hitchcock camera angles homage. The beauty of movies we all see different things, it’s the best hobby. Thanks Chris

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok good news and bad…… bad news is we kind of disagree on this one but are you ready for this….. the good news is I know where I can buy a copy of the poster, Lure of the Triangle. My regular supplier has it if I want to buy it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I seem to be in a small minority if not all on my todd! I don’t normally spy reviews before watching something, so I have myself to blame. Went in with high expectations that cme back to bite me. Well you can’t like them all, it would get boring.
      Haha Lure Of The Triangle is actually a film? I didn’t think it was. Just found it.
      “Steamy Sex combined with beautiful underwater photography” lol
      Oh dude, that poster has to be in your movie vault! A film within a film. Great cocktail party conversation piece too. hehe

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “…if not all on my todd.” Is that some fancy way of saying “on my own” or “off my rocker”? And I’ve always wondered about checking out ‘Blow Out’, but now I think I’ll give it a pass. (Like I should’ve done with ‘Blow-Up’, or as I affectionately call it, ‘Throw-Up’).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes your right, “All on my Todd” (actually Tod) is cockney rhyming slang for being on your “own”.
      Based on a famous American Jockey called Tod Sloan = On your Tod Sloan = On your own.

      Todd it’s definitely worth watching as I seem to be all out to sea on this one and one of a small minority who didn’t get on with it. So I might of been having a bad day!! Blow-Up is ace 🙂


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