Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Luther The Geek (1990)

By the late 80's and early 90's, the Grindhouse was dead. Why? Well, for several reasons, but the VHS was the main one. People just saw more of a market for Exploitation flicks in that realm-now at home you could watch such movies as "The Hanging Woman," "Class of Nuke 'Em High" and "The Evil Dead" at home with friends without having to put up with annoying audience members, sticky floors and bad air conditioning. Yet, one of the strangest Straight to Video Horror/Exploitation flicks from this era-as well as one of the few that felt like it could have been a relic from the era of the Grindhouse-is Carlton J. Albright's Slasher oddity "Luther the Geek."

The movie starts in 1938, when a young Luther Watts sees a Circus Geek-someone who bites the heads off of chickens and drinks the blood for booze money. To say the least, this warps his fragile little mind. Cut to modern times (or in this case, 1990), in which the most incompetent Justice System I've ever seen in a horror movie decides 3 to 2 that Luther (played as an adult by Edward Terry) has paid his debt to society, and now has the right to be let free. Why anybody would think a man like Luther should be allowed into society again is beyond me, but hey, what do I know? I actually enjoyed "Sorority Row." Anyways, in the grand horror tradition, it doesn't take long for Luther to go back to his old ways , and he soon terrorizes a woman named Hillary (Joan Roth), her daughter Beth (Stacy Haiduk), Beth's boyfriend with a stereotypical redneck hairstyle Rob (Thomas Mills) and a Trooper (J. Joseph Clark.)

Also, Luther has metal dentures he uses to tear his victims throats out with, and he clucks like a chicken.

I'm not making that last part up.

Yep, "Luther the Geek" is unlike any other horror flick I've seen (though it could be said it at times resembles "Lucker the Necrophagus"-only it's nowhere near as terrible as that movie.) The acting is mostly bad, plot holes remain unexplained, there are several surreal moments in which no dialogue other than Luther's clucking occurs, and people do things that are really dumb.

Yet I liked this movie.

While the acting is as mentioned, terrible, there is one exception in Edward Terry as Luther. As goofy as his clucking and mannerisms may be, he still manages to make the killer an imposing, threatening, and all around unpredictable figure who is one of horrors strangest villains ever. Also, the film achieves a Grubby Ambiance. The low budget, electronic score, gore, moments of Black Humor, nudity, and sex present in the film makes all feel dirty, and does what few movies in the 90's could do-it really does feel like a Grindhouse movie from the late 70's or early to mid 80's. The movie also has an excellent shower scene, and an ending that beggars description.

Can I recommend this movie? Well, it's not perfect, and some will hate it. Those with a thing for oddball Exploitation and Horror might enjoy this, as there is no other movie or villain quite like "Luther the Geek."

Rating: 7/10

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