Looker (1981)

Looker (1981)

Taglines: If looks could kill…

This fun, silly thriller written and directed by Michael Crichton manages to combine the dramatic murders of beautiful models, a secret conspiracy to use TV commercials for mind-control, and an unusual seeing-eye device which makes the wearer invisible. Plastic surgeon Larry Roberts (Albert Finney) becomes the prime suspect after two models on whom he operated are killed.

Larry becomes suspicious because both of the women came into his office asking for very precise and seemingly unnecessary physical alterations. Agreeing to operate, because the women’s jobs depended on the surgery, Larry must now clear his own name and save his life and career. With the aid of a friend and model Cindy (Susan Dey), Larry discovers and foils the plot led by corporation-head John Reston (James Coburn). Larry must then fight for his life against Reston’s thugs who are equipped with the devices, called “Lookers.” This is good, if silly fun and Albert Finney does his best with a somewhat implausible script.

Looker (1981)

Looker is a 1981 science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton. It starred Albert Finney, Susan Dey, and James Coburn. Former NFL linebacker Tim Rossovich was featured as the villain’s main henchman. The film is a suspense / science fiction piece that comments upon and satirizes media, advertising, TV’s effects on the populace, and a ridiculous standard of beauty.

Though spare in visual effects, the film is notable for being the first commercial film to attempt to make a realistic computer-generated character, for the model named Cindy. It was also the first film to create three-dimensional shading with a computer, months before the release of the better-known Tron.

About the Story

Dr. Larry Roberts (Albert Finney), a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, is puzzled when four beautiful models working in television commercials request cosmetic surgery to make changes so minor as to be imperceptible to the naked eye. When these models later start dying under mysterious circumstances, he discovers they are all linked to the same advertisement research firm.

The Digital Matrix research firm rates advertising models using a scoring system to measure the combined visual impact of various physical attributes in television commercials. In an experiment to increase their scores, some models are sent to Dr. Roberts to get cosmetic surgery to maximize their visual impacts. Though the models are physically perfect after the surgeries, they still are not as effective as desired, so the research firm decides to use a different approach.

Each model is offered a contract to have her body scanned digitally to create 3D computer-generated models, then the 3D models are animated for use in commercials. The contract deals seem to be incredibly lucrative for the models: once their bodies are represented digitally, they get a paycheck for life, never having to work again, since their digital models are used for all their future work in commercials.

However, when these same models start dying under mysterious circumstances, Roberts becomes suspicious and decides to investigate Digital Matrix. He has a strong interest in investigating the deaths: he is considered a prime suspect by the police (from evidence planted at the scene of one of the murders) and his most recent patient (with whom he is involved in a relationship), Cindy (Susan Dey), is the last of the models to be digitally scanned.

Looker Movie Poster (1981)

Looker (1981)

Directed by: Michael Crichton
Starring: Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Leigh Taylor-Young, Dorian Harewood, Tim Rossovich, Kathryn Witt, Georgann Johnson
Screenplay by: Michael Crichton
Production Design by: Dean Edward Mitzner
Cinematography by: Paul Lohmann
Film Editing by: Carl Kress
Costume Design by: Betsy Cox
Set Decoration by: Jerry Wunderlich
Art Direction by: Jack G. Taylor Jr.
Music by: Barry De Vorzon
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: October 30, 1981