The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) Blu-ray Review

On sale 20th November from Indicator. Directed by Irvin Kershner.

Irvin Kershner’s stylish, violent cult thriller – from an original screenplay by John Carpenter – stars iconic star Faye Dunaway as glamorous fashion photographer Laura Mars, who begins to experience horrific visions when she ‘sees’ a series of brutal murders as they happen.

Irwin Kershner starts proceedings off with a black and white sequence that has a heavy giallo vibe to it, a sign of things to come in this feature.

This was the last film Kershner directed before he would go on to helm what is possibly the best Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back (1980). From Hollywood giallo to sci-fi epic is quite the jump for sure. The scenes in which the viewer sees Laura Mars photograph near nude models having a cat fight in front of a burning car have a campy and exploitation feel. Seeing moments like this make it hard to believe that the same man would go onto have Darth Vader reveal his dirty secret about Luke Skywalker’s parentage.

Disregarding what Kershner would do later with his career, The Eyes of Laura Mars is an interesting mix of thriller, the Italian giallo, mystery and PSYCHIC killer all rolled into one. This does lend itself to some sublime shots of Laura seeing through the eyes of the unknown killer as they strike, which not only creates interest in who the killer is but how/why Laura is experiencing this.

There is one scene when Dunaway runs through an empty warehouse, screaming “NOOOOOO!!! NOOOOO!!!” when she thinks the killer is following her, which is so over the top it’s laughable.

Mars’ profession as a provocative fashion photographer feels like it exists to add a bit of smut to the story. At one point Mars claims her photos are an attempt to capture what is wrong with the world, although how pictures of women lying naked in front of German Shepard’s (the breed of dog, not shepard’s that are from Germany) is meant to reflect that is anyone’s guess.

On screen the film is loaded with talent that were either already established or would go onto bigger and better things. There is of course Dunaway (replacing Barbara Steisland, who still haunts viewers by singing over the end credits), Tommy Lee Jones who was only several movies into his career, a young yet haggard-looking-as-always Brad Dourif and B movie regular Darlanne Fluegel in her first feature film.

This was the first major picture to have the legendary John Carpenter involved, as a script writer.

First time on Blu-ray

Order here.