The Lawnmower Man (1992)

4.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 6/10

Somewhat high tech at the time

Dated and story always was horrible

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Lawnmower Man

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  March 6, 1992

MPAA Rating:  R


I know I’ll be up for an Oscar for my sensitive portrayal of the handicapped

Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) is making great strides in the science of virtual reality.  When his latest experiment with apes causes an ape to go insane, Angelo decides to take a break from his project.  Angelo decides to help his local lawnmower man named Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey) who is mentally handicapped.  With Angelo’s virtual reality program and a series of drugs, Jobe is beginning to become more intelligent and tapping into portions of the human mind that had been forgotten…and maybe should have been left unexplored!!!

Directed by Brett Leonard, The Lawnmower Man takes its name from a Stephen King short story from the May 1975 issue of Cavalier and collected in Night Shift.  While little resemblance to the story, the movie was a modest success and received mixed reviews.


Giving new meaning to computer porn

The Lawnmower Man story had previously been made into a short in 1987.  The story involved a man hiring a lawnmowing company to cut his lawn and the lawnmower man “eating” the lawn and anything in his way…King’s name was attached to this film but the film was an actual working script called Cyber God.  King sued and received money for the release, but most of the ties to his name have also been removed.

The Lawnmower Man was rather high tech when it was released.  The idea of improving the intelligence of the handicapped (and the ramifications) had been explored more thoroughly in Charley (1968) which adapted the 1959 book Flowers for Algernon.  This version of that idea was more a means to show off computer generated graphics and techy-stuff.  The basic “story” of the increase of intelligence is more interesting than the whole taking over the world aspect.  It is notable that the idea of the internet and cyberspace was rather on the verge of becoming mainstream…something that the film does show some vision in.


Ooohhh…high tech!!!

The cast really hams it up for the movie.  Jeff Fahey is so goofy as the star Jobe.  His unintelligent Jobe looks a combination of Yahoo Serious and Drop-Dead Fred.  It is so unbelievable and more funny than serious.  Pierce Brosnan’s scientist in Mars Attacks! likewise was probably more realistic than Dr. Angelo.  Everyone in the film is over the top…it just can’t be taken seriously.

The visuals are what really took The Lawnmower Man to the next level when it was released.  The idea of VR was the craze at the time and you could play pretty weak virtual reality games at arcades…they generally just involved walking around and looking around.  The concept never has really developed, but the movie is a nice flashback to that time.  The animation is quite strong (it was a majority of the budget) and are the most memorable scenes of the film…sorry but a mentally control lawnmower just isn’t that frightening.

The Lawnmower Man was just part of a plethora of Stephen King themed movies released in the 1990s.  It was bigger and more memorable than some of the other films, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  The movie is hokey, goofy, but a fun time as a result.  The movie was followed by the even worse Lawnmower Man 2:  Beyond Cyberspace in 1996 which was retitled Lawnmower Man 2:  Jobe’s War.

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Related Links:

Lawnmower Man 2:  Beyond Cyberspace (1996)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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