Somewhen in the mid-to-late-1980s when video tapes were commonly rented from the same place you might buy your milk, bread, Twizzlers and Cadbury Cream Eggs, I came across an awesome-looking VHS box cover for a film called Future-Kill. Both the cover and the title were right up my alley, which meant, of course, that I had to see the damned thing. Please be aware that when Future-Kill was released in Theatres (if you can believe that it ever was) I had yet to turn eleven years old. Therefore my grocery store video revelation must have been pretty soon after. How long a theatrical run could Future-Kill have had anyway?
When the opportunity finally presented itself (in the form of yet another borrowed Video from Dad's buddy "Mister Jimmy") we got fifteen whole minutes into the film before my Dad stood up, walked over to the VCR, popped out the tape and gave his one-line review: "That's CRAPPY!"
Well, I was pissed (especially because we had just gotten our first two scenes of nudity - one good, one not-so-good)! After all this waiting and anticipation, all I got was fifteen minutes and four boobs? Still, I couldn't argue too much! After all, when we finally got a look at the character featured on the cover it looked less like a frightening vision of future assassins than he looked like some clown you might see in the crowd at an Oakland Raiders game in a homemade costume for about three seconds before we break for commercial. In short, the character looked about seventy-eight percent of nothing like the cover.
The most common statement about this cat box nugget is "The only good thing about Future Kill is the H.R. Giger poster!" I'm going to differ (slightly) with most reviewers, commentators and Oakland Raiders fans out there on this one small point. The truth is that the MAIN good thing about Future-Kill is the poster/ box cover by the amazing H.R. Giger. However the nude scene by Karin Kay is also worth seeing. In addition, the Denice Creach nude scene is worth seeing. Download those two illegally online (for all of the seven to fourteen seconds those two moments make up) and skip the rest of this sorry excuse for a "film".
Ha ha! And you thought I was going to say that the at-long-last reunion of the stars of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the reason to watch this thing? RIGHT, because audiences were clamoring to see Marilyn Burns reunite with Edwin Neal for some wasted screen time!
Who is it, please who said "Honey, we could go see Out of Africa, Cocoon, The Jewel of the Nile or Rocky IV or... oh, wait! Hey, look at that, Neal and Burns together again at last! Let's go see Future-Kill, babe! How could we go wrong?"
"What is... 'NOBODY', Alex?"
Some guy named Ronald W. Moore wrote and directed this thing and if that name sounds familiar it's probably because you've been experimenting with certain mind-altering drugs or because you happen to be his neighbor because he didn't write, associate produce or direct jack-shit else beyond Future-Kill! Three other guys also teamed-up to "polish" the script (such that doing so is even possible). While you might not recognize co-writers Gregg Unterberger and John H. Best, you might (but almost certainly won't) be interested in the fact that the third co-writer was Edwin Neal himself. The bombastic four tell us this tale from the dystopian future of Austin, Texas in which a deadly, yet nonviolent(!) street gang who call themselves the "Mutants" dress like Siouxie fans and act like hippies to protest nuclear technology. The idea is that by dressing up like radiation-deformed monstrosities they can call attention to the fact that radiation can deform people into monstrosities!
There's just one problem, true believers! One of the "Mutants" actually was deformed by radiation and has become a monstrosity. That being Edwin Neal's character Splatter. Ostensibly that's the cool-looking character on the Giger cover, though, again, you're likely to see his exact doppelganger right in between the guy with the hollowed-out watermelon on his noggin and the fat guy in the bondage costume with the spiked football helmet on singing "The Battle Hymn of the Raider Nation." Strangely, aside from his corn-ball costume, he doesn't look all that "Mutated". The script does imply that his deformity is primarily somewhere in the groin area, though, which... pretty much defines "Too Much Information!"
But the Future of Austin, Texas isn't all cyberpunk wannabes and post-apocalyptic football fans! No! In case you thought the world of the future couldn't get any worse, apparently tomorrow is also overrun by a gaggle of prankster FRAT BROTHERS! Shit. Luckily, as an early pajama party indicates, there is a third faction present... that of really hot women (with unfortunately huge hair). It isn't long before the incessant pranking of the Fraternity Boys is jacked up to a new level and some sort of idiotic punishment must be meted out upon them. Thus their Den Mother... or the Frat Boy equivalent thereof (in the form of Craig Kanne's Clint) sends the five worst offenders into post-apocalyptic downtown Austin to... kidnap a Mutant.
Yeah, see? That's how we get from a lame, screwball sex comedy with undertones of Animal House into an urban warfare thriller from the future that frequently apes and then re-apes The Warriors... but not terribly well, I'm afraid. Look, I'm not saying that every one of "The Warriors" hold up as the evergreen classification of "Cool", but damn, man, when Clint and his ladies go to dress up and apply garish Goth Makeup to Paul (Gabriel Folse), Steve (Wade Reese), Tom (Barton Faulks), Jay (Rob Rowley) and George (Jeffrey Scott) as "Mutants", they're not only not even as cool as the Mutants we've seen so far (which is saying something), but they actually change Pathos into Bathos as they parade around the nightmarish downtown with elaborate gothic face paints and... Polo Shirts. I wonder if the new Goth in them was just forced to kick the asses of the preps in them, just on general principle. Hell.
Things go from bad to worse when Splatter goes on a stiff, nerdy rampage, much to the chagrin of the "Peaceful" gang leader Eddie Pain (Doug Davis)! See, not even the mutants (who aren't mutants) can even stand Splatter (who actually IS a mutant). Now if he's too dangerous for his own mascaraed people, can you imagine how he reacts to the invasion of a few painted preps who are up to no good downtown? Look, I'll admit, him killing a frat boy or two would make me like him slightly more but around the time he kills a really hot, topless hooker with his Wolverine-rip off claws (as opposed to his Freddy rip-off claws... he has both) I realized no matter what he did he couldn't be as cool as the supposedly linked figure on the movie poster.
Luckily (for them, not the audience), the Sigma Epsilon Warriors do team up with a lone Gangland Chick who is sympathetic to their "cause" in the form of Julie (Alice Villarreal)... just like Mercy from The Warriors, man. Seriously, man, why the hell am I reviewing this when I could be reviewing The Warriors?
"What is... 'I'm Stupid!', Alex?"
And, lest the advertisements be full of more crap than a hippopotamus who eats exclusively at P.F. Chang's, Marilyn Burns does show up as Dorothy Grim, a woman with a revenge focus all her own. And nice boobs. Which we never see.
So... Grim, Pain, Splatter... quite a roster these Mutants have, name-wise, eh? Makes me wonder how the four writers came up with names like Tom, Steve, Paul, Jay, George, Clint and Julie. But, hey, that apparently was somewhat taxing in and of itself, seeing as how beyond these main dudes, there are no less than six characters named "Splatter's Elite Guard", three named "Mean Mutant in Alley", ten named "Beautiful Girl" (which isn't enough for my money), sixteen named "Really Cool Frat", ten named "Street Mutant", two named "Tall Girl", one named "Curious Bad Girl", one named "Uncurious Bad Girl" (for good balance, no doubt) and, unsurprisingly, two named "Unimpressed Girl". Don't misunderstand those last two, however. I'm sure there were a lot more than only two girls who were completely unimpressed here, but there were only two who committed to such a confirmation right there in the credits.
I'm with you ladies. With all these generic human resources as a backdrop, Splatter chases our... well, I can't say "heroes", can I? He chases... he chases... he chases "The Frats" toward a really silly ending that both gives me a headache and makes me like the finale of Judgment Night just a tad better now, if only by comparison. And when the last of several too many ideas is tossed haphazardly onto the tarnished silver screen, the credits roll without pomp or circumstance. Aside from the brief nudity, the fade-to-credits just might be the most memorable part of the film.
As for the other memorable thing about Future-Kill, that poster may just be the only reason this film is still watched. I can't imagine that the tagline above the cool drawing led that many people in. It read "The Stars of 'THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE' are back...", ellipses and all! Those three little dots at the end are the most compelling part of the tagline, actually, because they make me wonder what the hell was supposed to be at the end of that sentence. If I had to guess, it would be something like: "The Stars of 'THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE' are back... AT THEIR DAY JOBS!!!"
Okay, okay, I'm sorry, I'll be nice! I just can't help it because, as much as I hate to admit it, no matter how many times I try watching Future-Kill (and it's been an uncomfortable and ill-advised number of times) I still can't deny that my dad was right when he said "That's CRAPPY!" Fucking Raiders freaks! Future-Kill gets a Dog rating. Surprised? Well, that's probably because you've been experimenting with certain mind-altering drugs or because you happen to be Ronald W. Moore's neighbor! Damn it, I'm repeating myself again. Never judge a VHS by its cover! Et Tu, Giger? Thank Heavens that Brain Salad Surgery didn't suck! That makes Future-Kill unique in one way... it's the one Giger-designed advertising material item that sucks worse than a Kingdom Come cover band! Okay, then! Let me repeat one last thing before I kick into my OWN tagline: Future-Kill is, indeed, Crappy! Thanks, Dad!
I'll see you in the next reel... (AT MY DAY JOB)!!!
Fraternity Kill! Suture Spill! Putrid Quill!
I... I got nothin'...
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