is attacked by the creepy looking clown doll that becomes possessed (or manipulated, take your choice) by the menacing entities. Oliver reprised that role in “Poltergeist II: The Other Side.”
His other roles include that of Jimmy Wilson in “Airplane II: The Sequel,” and son/brother Kevin in the 1982 TV horror movie “Don’t Go To Sleep,” among others. The latter film starred Valerie Harper as (mom) Laura, and co-starred Robin Ignico (fellow orphan Duffy in the 1982 movie adaptation of “Annie”) as daughter/sister Mary.
Although he hasn’t acted in over three decades, the USC Film School (where he was encouraged to attend by none other than Steven Spielberg, who also gave Mr. Robins a top-model super-8 movie camera) graduate has been behind the scenes the entire time. His writing credits include the 2004 comedy “Wild Roomies” (which he also directed, and I very much enjoyed), 1999’s “Eating L.A,” and the 2007 Hallmark TV movie “You’ve Got A Friend,” just to name a few.
As a director, Oliver also lent his talent to movies such as 2008’s “Man Overboard,” and “29,000 Wishes, 1 Regret” from 2012.
For “Celebrity Crush,” Mr. Robins went back to his “Poltergeist” roots for a story that also borrows from Stephen King’s “Misery,” among other films, but with a moral lesson that just might have significant others of unfaithful partners cheering and applauding.
Oliver plays Jonathan Blakely (whose surname he says was pure coincidence, but that my fellow fans of classic horror might believe is a nod to actress Ronee Blakely, who played Nancy’s mother, Marge Thompson, in the original “Nightmare On Elm Street”), a former child star of the 1980s horror movie “Chain Face Clown.” Jonathan is currently – and reluctantly, at the encouragement of his beautiful fiance Michelle (Melissa McNerney) – signing autographs in honor of “Chain Face Clown’s” new blu-ray re-release, at a local independent Florida comic book store.
During a quiet moment at the signing, Jonathan’s “Chain Face Clown” co-star Peter Norvis (Eddie Craig) – who portrays Chain Face (actually played by Sebastian Vale) in the 1980s horror movie – explains that one of the biggest reasons fans attend celebrity appearances like theirs, is to sleep with their idols. It’s also during the signing appearance that Jonathan notices Emily (Alissa Schneider), who is shopping the store, but not paying Jonathan, nor Peter, any real mind, sans a few glances.
Later, after Jonathan leaves his hotel room to call Michelle (who he admits was right – he did have a really great time and loved the attention from his fans) from the hall so that the unexpectedly-barged-in Peter Norvis can cheat on his wife, he happens to encounter Emily, who he pursues after recognizing her from the signing event.
At this point, Emily claims to have no idea who Jonathan is, and to have never heard of his movie. But we learn early on from clips of “Chain Face Clown” inter-spliced with shots of young Emily (Ella Durliat) obsessing over young Jonathan (Jake T. Getman), and the movie as a whole, that this is not the case.
Emily’s facade continues during the time she and Jonathan spend together at the bar, where Jonathan insisted he be, after Emily described her own plans for later that day. But Emily’s lies are revealed after Jonathan discovers her “Chain Face Clown” tattoo during their sexual encounter.
Once Emily makes sure the now-creeped-out Jonathan – who keeps insisting he has to go – is unable to leave, he is held hostage and made to suffer via Emily’s mistreatment of not only him, but also her abuse of those closest to him. The forthcoming events transpire in ways that neither older films, nor period pieces, could possibly pull off.
There are a lot of fake-out moments throughout “Celebrity Crush,” where you think you know what’s about to happen, just before things take a completely different turn. Not even watching it with an open mind to any possibilities can prepare you for what comes next.
The ending is far from predictable. It definitely goes in a direction that nobody expects, while seemingly borrowing from a plot element in the 1986 Jeff Goldblum remake of “The Fly.”
“Celebrity Crush’s” haunting score by composer Karim Elmamoudi – who worked in the music department for both Ben Stiller “Night At the Museum” films, and "Spiderman 3," among other movies – contains notes reminiscent of Charles Bernstein’s work for “A Nightmare On Elm Street.” And there is one particular situation whose greatest inspiration, I believe, was “A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.”
“Celebrity Crush” has great pacing, some awesome make-up effects, and acting that definitely makes you suspend disbelief. I really feel like I’m watching these characters, instead of the actors portraying them.
From the trailer, I knew one thing for sure going into this movie: I really don’t have much sympathy for Jonathan. He’s a cheater who has a perfectly good woman at home, that he truly doesn’t deserve. And as I watched the movie, I discovered that I had even less sympathy for him than I originally thought.
While Emily is the official villain, all she initially did was show up at the signing. She made no direct attempt to approach, nor pursue Jonathan. After following Peter’s advice, of his own accord, Jonathan became the pursuer of a weekend side fling, using his celebrity status to “get lucky.” So Michelle, and the rest of Jonathan’s peers that Emily attacks as the result of Jonathan’s inability to keep it in his pants, are much more deserving of our sympathy.
Overall, “Celebrity Crush” definitely cements a place for Oliver Robins among other great entertainers like Kevin Smith, and the immortal Michael Landon, who also donned many different hats to make their own projects their own way. I’ll even go so far as to say that creatively, by all accounts except being his first film, “Celebrity Crush” is comparatively Oliver’s “Clerks.” And like the aforementioned pioneers, he utilizes the same close-knit crew for each project. Based on these examples, we can only expect even more great things from this man.
And we just might get some in the form of an actual feature-length film of “Chain Face Clown,” which is a project that Mr. Robins has been discussing, and would really like to make. I would be very excited to see that as well, especially to further explore some of Chain Face’s seemingly heroic character traits.
In the meantime, feel free to enjoy "Celebrity Crush" from Amazon, or any of the other digital platforms listed here. You'll be glad you did!