Did you know Oliver Stone‘s first movie was a 1974 horror quickie called “Seizure”? Probably not, especially given that he doesn’t want you to know that (hell, even we skipped over it in our retrospective of the director in 2012) . The official story is that Stone got famous writing screenplays in the late 70s and early 80s — “Midnight Express,” “Conan the Barbarian,” “Scarface” — but he made “Seizure” and 1981’s “The Hand” (with Michael Caine!) first. He wasn’t exactly proud of the work, though, and though it did come out on VHS, “Seizure” has never had a DVD release: Stone has bought the rights to ensure it never happens. But thanks to the interwebs, you can still get a (blurry) look at the whole thing.
The film “stars” Jonathan Frid (who played Barnabas Collins, in the original TV run of “Dark Shadows”), Martine Beswick (famous for “catfight” scenes in both “One Million Years BC” with Raquel Welch, and in “From Russia With Love” with a former Miss Israel), Hervé Villechaize (aka Tattoo from “Fantasy Island“) and Mary Wonorov, who would be a great central character for a book about 20th century culture: she danced at original Velvet Underground performances and appeared in numerous Warhol art films before switching to the B-movie world to star in “Death Race 2000” and numerous Roger Corman flicks.
As for “Seizure” itself… it’s hella awkwardly made, complete with massive lapses in timing and editing, lots of running around in poorly-lit darkness and an honest-to-god bit where the radio reports the escape of three dangerous inmates from a nearby asylum…. (yes, it’s playing with the idea of paranoid fantasies, but still): but it’s better than a solid half-dozen Stone movies, and it doesn’t have ranty, sophomoric politics. Enjoy.