If special effects can create a convincing murder on the big screen, it stands to reason they'd work in real life, too. That's the theory pitched to blood-and-gore professional Rollie Tyler, when an FBI agent asks him to help fake the death of a mob kingpin who's ready to name names - if the feds can guarantee his safety. But when things go wrong, it's Rollie who's on the run from the cops and the mafia alike.
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Think big: the screenwriters, both novices at the time, intended the script as a made-for-TV movie. But producer Jack Wiener was convinced the project deserved the big screen treatment.
- Director Robert Mandel signed on to helm the movie as a way to shake up his image, as he was tired of being perceived as a "soft, arty director." A couple of afterschool specials on your resume will do that to you.
- Studying the classics: Mandel needed a little help in getting up to speed for the film's action sequences, so he beefed up on the chase scenes from Bullitt and The French Connection.
- One of the film's producers was Dodi Fayed - better known as the tragic future flame of Princess Diana.
- Bringing in the big guns: producers hired special effects whiz John Stears, a veteran of the Bond franchise and a future Oscar winner for his work on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
- Government imitates art: Stears has claimed that government agencies have offered to pay him in return for simulating various effects depicted in the movie.
- Let's hear it for braaaaains! The film's lead character has a poster for the 1979 movie Zombie hanging in his apartment.
- The movie did well enough at the box office, considering its title was lost on many moviegoers. The subtitle "Murder By Illusion" was added later to help clear things up.
- A spinoff version, F/X: The Series, made it to the small screen for two seasons in the mid-'90s. Strangely enough, it aired on CBS - not FX.
- From spinoff to remake: Robert Mandel has reportedly signed on to direct a new version of F/X, announced by MGM in January 2010. Bonus points if Brian Dennehy makes a cameo.