Future-Kill (DVD)

Click to see it bigger!Starring Edwin Neal, Marilyn Burns, Gabriel Folse, Wade Resse

Directed by Ronald W. Moore

Released by Subversive Cinema

For years I would walk past this video in my local mom and pop video store and just never got around to picking it up. The cover always intrigued me, though, as it was done by the man who created so much of the world of Alien, H. R. Giger. Unfortunately for Future-Kill, that’s about all it has going for it.

Some producer somewhere got the idea that if they got two of the stars of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre back together, they’d make a shitload of money, despite the fact that the movie had nothing to do with cannibals or a massacre. Instead they would throw them into a quasi-future world where you’re either against nukes or you’re… well, everyone else.

Though the film is called Future-Kill, they never actually say when it takes place, and it sure as hell doesn’t look like the future or at least not any kind of future I would want to be a part of. The movie screams “80s” from beginning to end, from the ridiculous, Porky’s-esque shenanigans our heroes get into in the beginning to the clothes and the absolutely horrendous music, and there are very few films that remind you just how much the 80s sucked than Future-Kill.

Click to see it bigger!So what’s it about? A group of frat boys, in order to make up for tarring and feathering the leader of a rival frat, are sent to the bad part of town to capture a “mutant”; kids who wear makeup and have strange hair in protest of nuclear power, pretending to showcase what the whole world would look like after a nuclear war. Most of the makeup is laughable, but one mutant, who goes by the catchy name Splatter, has actually been mutated by nuclear radiation and now walks around at all times covered in metal and spikes, sorta like a cyberpunk Gwar character. While the rest of the mutants claim to be peace loving, Splatter is a madman who kills indiscriminately. He sets the whole city against the college kids when he kills the mutants’ beloved leader and blames it on them.

So now they’re separated and being chased and have nowhere to hide, though all of them seem to be able to handle themselves in poorly choreographed fight after poorly choreographed fight, because they eventually manage to meet up with one another again and find their way out of town thanks to a friendly local, though of course not before dispatching the bad guy in a particularly nasty way.

The list of what works in Future-Kill is far shorter than that of what doesn’t, so I’ll save the time of laying out all its flaws and just say that this is not a movie that has aged well by any stretch of the imagination. The acting is sub-par, the direction is bored, the music simply hurts to sit through and Ed Neal’s outfit is ridiculous. I really don’t get why he agreed to the role, other than to do a favor for a friend and try something different, since it’s so unlike Neal’s personality it’s almost laughable. A cold-hearted killer he is not.

Click to see it bigger!And the reason I know this? Because of the best part about this movie being on DVD; a 20-minute interview with Neal in which he discusses both his acting and voiceover work as well as his life-long obsession; collecting posters. That’s why the Future-Kill cover is so badass, incidentally. Neal’s done a lot of stage acting and voiceover work and is just a hilarious guy to listen to. I never honestly expected him to be as funny as he comes across in this interview, so needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. If only it were for a better film.

The disc also features a somewhat entertaining commentary by Neal and director Ronald W. Moore, though the two of them don’t really seem very comfortable with one another at first. Moore admits that watching the movie for the commentary is the first time he’s seen it in 20 years, so there are some large gaps between dialogues despite the fact that I’m sure Neal had plenty to say. You won’t learn a lot from it, but it’s worth a listen for the moments when it does pick up.

Rounding out the disc are some bios and trailers, but the coolest thing is that the DVD insert actually folds out into a mini-replica of the badass Giger artwork! Well, that and the sexy-shiny slipcase for the DVD.

I’m actually glad Subersive didn’t go overboard with their features, as this is one movie that’s not really deserving. What they do have on here makes for a good purchase if you’re a lover of all things cheesy and 80s horror. Too bad the movie is nearly unwatchable.

Special Features:
Commentary by director Ronald Moore and star/co-writer Edwin Neal
Interview with Edwin Neal
Cast and crew bios
Reproduction of original artwork by H. R. Giger

2 1/2 out of 5

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Johnny Butane

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