Everyone had to start somewhere and, long before he became one of the leading political provocateurs of American cinema, Oliver Stone was just another struggling film school grad who was looking for a chance to make a name for himself. Like many aspiring filmmakers, Stone made his directorial debut with a low-budget horror film.
Filmed in Quebec and featuring an eclectic cast that included a soap opera star, a former Warhol superstar, a faded teen idol, a past Bond girl, and a future Bond villain, Seizure stars Jonathan Frid (of Dark Shadows fame) as Edmund Blackstone. Edmund is a horror novelist who is described as being “a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe.” When Edmund’s rich friends get together for the weekend, they are terrorized by three maniacs: the Queen of Evil (Martine Beswick), a mute giant called the Jackal (Henry Judd Baker), and a psychotic dwarf named The Spider (Hervé Villechaize).
All of Edmund’s guests face the inevitability of death in a different way. Playboy Mark Frost (Troy Donahue) is too concerned with pursuing pleasure to realize that he’s in danger. Businessman Charlie Hughes (Joseph Sirola) gets out his wallet and tries to buy his way out of trouble. Mikki (Mary Woronov), Charlie’s much younger wife, strips down to her underwear and runs away. Eunice Kahn (Anne Meachem) jumps out of a window after the Spider ticks her into using an aging cream. Eunice’s husband, philosopher Serge (Roger de Koven), faces death with stoicism. Edmund’s brother-in-law, Gerald (Richard Cox), is a long-haired hippie who accidentally gets shot in the head by Edmund and dies saying, “You bastard!” Edmund’s wife (Christina Pickles) tries to protect her son (Timothy Ousey) and Edmund reveals himself to be the first of the many flawed father figures who would appear in Stone’s films.
If not for the identity of its director, Seizure would be a forgotten film. In fact, it seems to be a film that Stone wishes was forgotten. He rarely mentions it in interviews and usually describes Seizure as being a “learning experience” and there’s really nothing about Seizure that would make you think the director would go on to win three Oscars. It’s a slow and talky movie that is just occasionally weird enough to be interesting. Seizure‘s philosophical digressions are pure Stone but otherwise, it’s hard to see any sign of the director that Stone would become in Seizure.
Still, what other movie features Jonathan Frid and Mary Woronov having a knife fight while Martine Beswick and Hervé Villechaize watch?