The Lawnmower Man (1992)

You know, when Stephen King takes his name off your movie, you probably should think of what that means. Adapted from an original screenplay called CyberGod and King’s 1975 short story, The Lawnmower Man presents a virtual reality world that you could animate on your smartphone today.

Virtual Space Industries Doctor Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) is using psychoactive drugs and virtual reality to enhance cognitive performance. He hopes that his research will help his mentally disabled groundskeeper Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), but the drugs get swapped and Jobe gets all sexual with Marnie (Jenny WrightNear Dark) within virtual reality and wipes her mind out.

By the end of the movie, the power has gone to Jobe’s virtual brain and he’s crucifying people and taking off the grid, if I may use the language of Tron. None of this happens in King’s story, which is about a lawnmower guy sacrificing people to the satyr Pan. If anything, Daniel Keyes should have gotten a credit, because this is totally Flowers for Algernon.

Despite King defeating New Line in court and his name not being allowed to be used to advertise the film, they still released this movie on video as Stephen King’s Lawnmower Man, ending with them getting held in contempt of court.

Writer/director Brett Leonard also directed The Dead Pit, VirtuosityHideawayMan-Thing and the music video for “Shock to the System” for Billy Idol, as well as his clip for “Heroin,” which were both on his hilariously titled Cyberpunk album. How did Billy never act in an ancient future movie?

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