Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Bo Hopkins, Timothy Bottoms, Robert Forster, P.J. Soles, William Smith, Isaac Hayes
Directed by William Lustig
Distributed by Blue Underground
Every good holiday needs a maniacal killer to go along with it. That’s just a fact. With all the explosions that occur and the prospect of sheer mayhem, you would think that the Fourth of July would have more than one, but it doesn’t need it … the way underrated slasher flick Uncle Sam does a fine job of bringing the pain while we celebrate our independence.
The film starts off in the midst of George Bush Senior’s Middle Eastern fiasco. Kuwait to be exact, where a US aircraft was shot down via friendly fire. Amongst the wreckage is the not-quite-so-dead and extremely pissed off soldier by the name of Sgt. Sam Harper (David Fralick). Once his body is collected, it’s shipped home to his family, which includes his wife and nephew, who mourn him accordingly — that is, until he rises from his grave, dons an Uncle Sam costume, and begins killing his town’s unpatriotic in as violent a way as possible. Good thing for the community that Korean War veteran and soul sensation Isaac Hayes is on hand to help put an end to Harper’s gore-soaked rampage.
Sound silly? Yes, it very much is. In fact none of it really makes too much sense, but that’s okay as Uncle Sam at its heart is a violent good time that doesn’t always get its proper due in the slasher world. Sure, there are moments when the flick kind of plods along, but when compared to the many other bloodless affairs of the Nineties, this film feels like a throwback to the days when the killers were the stars of these movies and not the pretty pensive-looking teens that have all but taken over the slasher subgenre. I’ll take that kind of vibe any day over the alternative.
Being that Uncle Sam is making its high-definition debut, let me start with the good stuff first — it looks amazing. The image, while still occasionally soft, is for the most part razor sharp, the blacks ludicrously deep, and the palette really pops. This is without question the best this flick has ever looked or sounded so if you’re a fan with the tech, feel free to buy without a second thought.
That being said, if picture and sound quality don’t mean that much to you, you’ll be hard pressed to find another reason to shell out the extra cash for this Blu-ray edition as the crux of the special features are identical to its Special Edition DVD release from several years ago. It’s all here: the two commentary tracks, the stunt featurette with commentary, and of course the poster and still gallery, deleted scene, gag reel, etc. What’s here is good but nothing new. I know we’re not dealing with the re-release of Citizen Kane, but this product could use a little more than just a high-def makeover.
Uncle Sam may never be widely considered as a classic horror flick, but it’s leaps and bounds better than the usual crap that’s shoved down our throats. Check it out, and let your grue-stained freak flag fly!
3 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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