Office Killer (1997)

What is that Dorine up to?

What is that Dorine up to?

I can’t count how many times writing this blog has made me miss the days where I had full access to my parent’s cable box. There is, after all, some pleasure in clicking through countless channels and coming across a horror gem that you otherwise would never have heard of. I watched so many movies when I lived at home with them, I’ve straight up forgotten most. Until recently, Office Killer was one of those, but when Q mentioned a campy horror flick starring Carol Kane as a serial killer, a lightbulb went off. Oh yes, I remember that…

Directed by photographer Cindy Sherman (which is why Q was interested in the first place), Office Killer tells the tale of a meek copy-editor whose job, after nearly two decades, is suddenly at risk. Dorine Douglas (Kane) has been at Constant Consumer almost since its inception, but that hasn’t earned her much respect. In fact, some people think her quiet nature hides something sinister and creepy. Kim Poole (Molly Ringwald) feels strongly about this. Perhaps she’s right.

Michael Imperioli is practically a baby here.

Michael Imperioli is practically a baby here.

Constant Consumer hasn’t had a good quarter, or year, in a long time. To make up for lost cash, Virginia Wingate, the head honcho at the magazine (who also happens to be a chain-smoking asthmatic – this will be important) hires Norah Reed (Jeanne Tripplehorn) to help the company downsize. Of course, Dorine is one of many to receive a nice little pink slip that kindly informs her that not only have her hours been cut down to part time, she’ll also be expected to work from home for most of it. To a lot of us today, a prescription for working from home doesn’t sound so bad. But Dorine’s home life is not exactly ideal. Every moment spent at home is spent looking after her needy, handicapped mother. Without even the minimal contact of her coworkers, Dorine’s going to have to make new friends. If she doesn’t, she just might go insane.

Have you read the latest issue of Constant Consumer?

Have you read the latest issue of Constant Consumer?

I’ve always liked Carol Kane as an actress, but I’m certainly more used to seeing her play a loud, obnoxious character (Scrooged, Princess Bride) than the quiet mouse she plays here. I’m happy to report she handles this role just as well as anything else I’ve ever seen her in, and she does so with just enough humor to fit the film perfectly. I’ve heard the film referred to as campy, and while that’s true in some places, it certainly isn’t an all-out romp. In fact, I think you could even say it’s a little sedate in places where it most definitely could have been taken over the top. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re walking into this one expecting a laugh riot, you’re not going to be pleased. There are some chuckles all right, but just chuckles. I’m hesitant to even add comedy as an appropriate category for this movie.

Office Killer is about as good as I remember it being when I first saw it ages ago. And that, according to my Netflix star-ratings, is about three stars. It’s not a movie I’d go up and down the street shouting about, but it is a pretty solid outing. It’s certainly not a bad way to spend a night in October. And hey, you get to see a pre-Sopranos Michael Imperioli playing an awkward character. That might be worth it in and of itself!


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