Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Erin Brown, Andrew Divoff, Reggie Bannister, Ryan Hooks
Directed by Robert Kurtzman
Distributed by Screen Media Films
Now this is what I’m talking about, man. Lots of films claim to be throwbacks to simpler cinema times, but few succeed. Sometimes it feels as if all the fun has been sucked out of our genre what with all the remakes, bad sequels, and neutered PG-13 rated chills. Where are our bloodbaths? Where are our monster movies? Where are our Herbert Wests? I’ll tell you where. They are alive, well, and ready to maim for your pleasure at a moment’s notice thanks to a little film from F/X genius Robert Kurtzman called The Rage.
Meet Dr. Viktor Vasilienko (Andrew Divoff, kicking a copious amount of ass as always). After his parents succumb to cancer when he is a boy, he vows to find a cure. The good doctor ends up spending his entire youth into adulthood poring through books and researching any possibility to rid humanity of this debilitating curse. But what happens when he hits pay-dirt? Is there a Nobel Prize waiting for him? Are there accolades of any kind? No. Instead, Western Pharmaceutical Companies has him imprisoned in a mental institution because they don’t want his cure to get out there. It seems that it’s more profitable to treat the disease than it is to cure it altogether.
After months of torture and degradation Dr. V escapes and makes it to the States. Again, he tries to let the world know about his discovery but is quickly dismissed as a nutcase after having his picture splashed across the cover of The Weekly World News. How I miss that paper. Taking a shit has just never been the same since it went under. Anyways, this latest injustice was the last straw for our soon-to-be-evil mad scientist. He decides that if he cannot cure the world, he’ll infect it further with a new virus he calls Rage.
Rage turns its victims into murderous zombie-like mutants whose only motivation for living is killing. Yet, even these madmen are not indestructible as they can be offed in any conventional way. Things spiral even further out of control when vultures start feasting on the remains of these creatures, and before you know it, the human race has got an airborne disease of monstrous proportions to deal with. Good thing for us horror fans that a Winnebago full of young adults gets caught in the crossfire because the splatter in this movie splashes across the screen by the bucket full.
The Rage would feel right at home in the Eighties stuffed between classics like Re-Animator and From Beyond. It pulls no punches and never tries to be more than what it is — a movie to pop in on a Friday night with an ample amount of friends, beer, booze, and a fat sack of leafy party favors in tow. Though it drags slightly around act two into act three, things never slow down too much, and this is one experience that can be enjoyed over multiple viewings. Mutant vultures! Gooey killers! Unabashed over-the-top blood-splattered mayhem! Robert Kurtzman’s The Rage reminds fans everywhere why we love this genre to begin with. It is without question an instant splatter classic!
Every good film should have a good DVD release, and thankfully the folks over at Screen Media have put together one hell of a package. Things kick off with a feature length making-of entitled, what else, The Making of The Rage. Clocking in at just over the eighty-minute mark you can expect none of the usual behind-the-scenes bullshit that drones on and on about things you couldn’t care less about. Instead, just like the film, we get right to the good stuff. The majority of this feature’s runtime is devoted to the creatures and the great gore effects. After all, that’s what we’re here for, right? Of course it’s not all splatter related as we also get to hear from the incomparable Divoff, Kurtzman himself, and just about every single person associated with the film. Never dull and always fun, this is the best making-of I’ve watched in what feels like forever. From there we get three very extensive photo galleries, two music videos from the band Mushroomhead, and an audio commentary with Kurtzman and co-writer, creature designer, and everything else John Bisson. Being that The Rage is a tiny indie film made outside of the watchful and always obtrusive eye of Hollywood, everyone working on the movie had two or even three jobs. As you would imagine, this gives Bisson and Kurtzman plenty of fodder for what turns out to be a genuinely amusing listen. From top to bottom, the supplemental material delivers exactly what you want. Bravo.
So there you have it, kids. The Rage is one part nature run amok mixed with a heavy dosage of West’s re-agent to create a formula that’s all-time blood-drenched fun. There will no doubt be some who complain about the acting, along with numerous other things, and to them I say: Lighten up and remember the good times. There are plenty of movies out there that are considered classics that don’t exactly have what you would call thespian level performances or Spielberg level production values. Just pop a brew, grab a buddy, and enjoy the ride!
4 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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