In the time-honored tradition of exploitation films, OVER EXPOSED attempts to deliver a few cheap thrills by capitalizing on a genuinely disturbing trend--in this case, the danger posed to celebrities by obsessed, homicidal fans. Catherine Oxenberg ("Dynasty") is the psycho-bait in this
tame thriller, playing Kristen, an actress featured in the vixen role of a sleazy prime-time soap opera. Kristen has been receiving death threats in the mail, and now finds one taped to her dressing-room mirror. When she leaves the TV studio, she is besieged by a gaggle of frenzied fans, among
them Karen Black as Mrs. Towbridge, a brain-damaged victim of the 60s who calls the actress a "whore of the airwaves" and attempts to attack her with a TV Guide. Soon Kristen is spacing out to a soft-focus shot of a knife slicing into a cake, playing with matches, and flashing back to a birthday
party at which a childhood friend accidentally set her own hair on fire. Not surprisingly, her wimpy doctor boy friend, Phillip (David Naughton of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON), begins to worry about her mental health. One night, Kristen finds a nasty note from the psycho taped to her front door
and decides to go for a walk through the mean streets of her suburban neighborhood. She is nearly molested by a group of transplanted street toughs, but saved by Hank (William Bumiller), a mysterious beach-bum ceramicist with a king-sized German shepherd. Next day at the studio, she discovers the
body of one of her fellow actresses, propped up in a closet with her face peeled off. However, by the time she can summon security guards, the body has vanished, and she is driven home by the show's makeup artist, Helen (Jennifer Edwards), who tells her she shouldn't blame people for being
fascinated with her because she is so rich, famous, and beautiful. Kristen begins to think she is cracking up, and Phillip suggests that she see a psychiatrist, which lands him in the doghouse. Back at the studio, Kristen, accosted once more by Mrs. Towbridge, runs her tormentor over with a car
then jumps out to check the damage. Mrs. Towbridge attacks her, whereupon Morrison, the suspicious-looking character (played by director Larry Brand) who has been trailing Kristen, jumps into the fray and decks the nutty woman. Morrison, it turns out, is an undercover policeman. He arrests Mrs.
Towbridge, interrogates her, and decides that she probably isn't the psycho in question--though she does confess to having murdered her husband years ago. Meanwhile, another member of the soap's cast puts on some cold cream in his dressing room. His face melts off, and he dies as he crawls to the
door. Kristen seeks consolation for her romantic troubles with Hank, and almost puts her hand in some powerful acid he keeps around the house to etch ceramics. After a quick roll in the hay, Kristen discovers that Hank has photos of her tacked up all over the house, decides he's the psycho, and
sneaks away. Hank calls to explain that he is merely obsessed with her beauty, then goes over to her house, where he is arrested by Morrison for murder, the police having discovered the missing body of Kristen's actress colleague. Back at work, Kristen opens up another closet and finds the melted
remains of the cold-cream victim. Hank is released for lack of evidence, but trailed by the cops; meanwhile, makeup artist Helen gives Kristen another lift home and reveals herself to be the killer, peeling off a mask and wig to reveal her hideously burned face and head. After conking Kristen with
an ashtray, Helen explains it was she who burned herself at Kristen's birthday party years ago and that she has been nursing a desire for revenge against Kristen and all the world's beautiful people ever since. Outside the house, Morrison jumps Hank, who was attempting to reach Kristen. While the
men duke it out, Helen threatens to peel Kristen's lovely face off. The actress runs downstairs, where she discovers Phillip dead in an armchair with a pair of scissors stuck in his neck, killed while watching TV. Borrowing the scissors, Kristen runs upstairs to fight with Helen. They grapple, and
Helen falls down the staircase, becoming impaled on the scissors just as Morrison and Hank burst into the house.
With its grotesque twist ending, OVER EXPOSED perks up considerably in the final 10 minutes, but otherwise it's basically a snoozer, with a few disgusting makeup effects and a little nudity tossed in here and there to pique the viewer's interest. The most noteworthy thing about this loser is its
unpleasant basis in real-life tragedy: the film recalls the 1989 murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer by an obsessive fan--particularly since Naughton costarred with Schaeffer and Pam Dawber in the CBS sitcom "My Sister Sam." His presence here reflects poorly on the casting director.
On the other hand, the film's writers (director Brand and Rebecca Reynolds) slip enough red herrings into the absurd plot to provide a certain amount of suspense for those viewers who care enough for the vapid Kristen to worry about who is trying to kill her in the first place. OVER EXPOSED is
also graced by an enjoyably wacko performance by Black as Mrs. Towbridge, who believes Kristen should be punished for her soap-opera sins. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1990
- Rating: R
- Review: In the time-honored tradition of exploitation films, OVER EXPOSED attempts to deliver a few cheap thrills by capitalizing on a genuinely disturbing trend--in this case, the danger posed to celebrities by obsessed, homicidal fans. Catherine Oxenberg ("Dynas… (more)