Saturday, November 8, 2008

Grotesque (1987)

Directed by:
Joe Tornatore

Some claim this is a PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE-like so-bad-its-good classic. It's bad all right, but I can't say I really laughed much. My jaw did hit the floor a few times in sheer disbelief that a film can be *this* ill-conceived. You won't believe the overacting either, and it even has the nerve to contain a sequence that mocks other cheap, bad horror movies. Lisa (played by Linda Blair, also a co-producer on this project) and her friend Kathy (Donna Wilkes) travel to a secluded mountain cabin to visit Linda's parents. Her father Orville (Guy Stockwell) is a make-up artist for horror films, so we get some film-within-a-film moments and some additional false alarms before the "real" action starts. A group of obnoxious 80s punkers with names like "Scratch" and "Ear Box" (?) invade the home. They have no idea that Linda's disfigured brother, who is kept hidden in a secret room in the home, has just escaped and is lurking around. The punks torture and kill everyone there except Linda, who manages to escape, so the killers go looking for Linda while the mutant brother goes looking for them. Eventually Blair is beaten unconscious and the two surviving punks convince the cops that the brother is responsible. He's promptly shot dead, Blair dies in the hospital and her plastic surgeon uncle (Tab Hunter) makes an eleventh-hour appearance looking for revenge. He kidnaps the two punks, disfigures their faces and keeps them locked in the secret room while goofy music plays. And no, I didn't even reveal the big twist that comes after that. You simply will not believe it. It's one of the worst ever, but I doubt you will see it coming.

So to make a long story short, GROTESQUE is basically terrible, pitiful, awful, bottom-of-the-barrel 1980s trash. However, it's not just bad... It's "uniquely bad," which means it has potential to develop into an off-the-wall cult flick one day. Since it has what camp fanatics look for in their bad movies, you never know. Also in the cast are Brad Wilson, Sharon Hughes, Robert Z'Dar, Billy Frank, Nels Van Patten, Mikel Angel (who also scripted), Charles Dierkop (the rapist-killer Santa in the original SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT), John F. Goff, Mike Lane and Luana Patten. For more delirious nonsense, make sure you check out Tornatore's DEMON KEEPER (1993), which is more formulaic that this one but has more (unintentional) laughs.

Score: 1.5 out of 10

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