The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Blow Out

On the cusp of its 40th anniversary of release is director Brian De Palma’s tantalizing ode to Hitchcock and giallo, Blow Out.

John Travolta takes the lead as Jack Terry, a professional sound technician getting by on sleazy low-budget slasher flicks. While attempting to record better screams and wind effects for a film around a park late at night, he just so happens to capture a car plunging into a river, which may or may not have been an accident. As Jack begins to involve himself more in the case–including getting involved with a passenger in the car played by Nancy Allen–he just as equally begins to plant himself directly in the path of a merciless assassin (John Lithgow), who will stop at nothing to silence those who threaten to unravel the political conspiracy threatening to destroy a presidential hopeful.

A textbook example of De Palma’s maestro-esque crafting of suspense, all while paying homage to those who came before him, Blow-Out has long cemented its status as a technical and anxiety-inducing masterwork. It all culminates in an explosive gut-punch of a climax that make the film a must-see on the big screen.


“ … classic De Palma, with its sinister elegance, meticulous cinematic choreography, voyeuristic obsessions, and fascination with guilt, as well as his most human and mortally vulnerable film.” — Sean Axmaker, Stream on Demand

“Blow Out is not known as one of Brian De Palma’s horror movies, but of all his films, it’s the one that feels most like a nightmare.” — Paul Schrodt, Slant Magazine

“The final moments of Blow Out are among the most shocking and powerful of De Palma’s oeuvre, tacking a final note of irony onto a story that is in every other way a straightforward denunciation of power run amok.” — James Kendrick,Q Network Film Desk