A group of entitled frat boy douchebags venture into the inner city to capture an anti-nuke protester as a prank to atone for their zany college antics. When they run into a violent member of the group, they flee with their tails between their legs as they are pursued by ridiculous looking “punks” with mustaches and Uzis.
You know a film is in trouble when they rely so heavily on who is in it rather than focusing on the film itself. The “stars” of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Edwin Neal and Marilyn Burns) are back and unrecognizable as Splatter, the angry mutated punk with a partial metal exoskeleton and a silly clawed hand and his freaked-up old lady Dorothy Grim. Nobody hates nukes more than Splatter, and all the pacifist
punks protesters are terrified of him and his merry band of malcontents. It turns out that a local group of whiny leftist anti-nuke dissidents calling themselves “mutants” have decided to dress as punks (come on, it’s 1985) in order to somehow make the rest of the populace sit up and take notice of their cause. They throw peaceful demonstrations and generally whine about things at the behest of their leader, Eddie Pain (Doug Davis). When the frat boy douchebags show up and try to kidnap him as a prank (because how does one make up for childish antics? More pranks of course! The whole plot is beyond stupid) Splatter makes his move and kills Pain, framing the murder on the frats. Soon they find themselves stranded on the wrong side of town and pursued by Splatter’s less-than-peaceful mutant rebels. Think The Warriors meets The Terminator, but nowhere near as good.
Rife with class-war rhetoric and social commentary with a little bit of 80s anti-nuke environmentalism thrown in for good measure, Future-Kill is a bit of an oddity. It starts out like some kind of ridiculous fraternity comedy then pulls a 180° and tries to go all dark and dystopian – which doesn’t work at all seeing as we have no background as to whether there has been some kind of catastrophe that has turned the downtown streets at night into a toilet or if it’s just overt social commentary. The film’s micro budget certainly doesn’t help matters, with most of it being poured into Splatter’s armored visage and a couple decent gore effects (which initially earned the film an X rating and required one scene to be cut in order to get it down to an R). Neal and Burns are in fact the highlight, both of them chewing the scenery like there’s no tomorrow. They certainly aren’t the kind of star-power to compel a throng of people to watch the film, and those who do/did watch it probably did so based solely on the awesome cover art/poster by H.R. Giger (who was allegedly begged by director Ronald W. Moore to contribute the cover art lest the film lose all its financing). It’s clear that the production’s money issues crippled the film; there’s a lot of potential here but it really just feels like it’s half finished.
Regardless, Future-Kill does have its moments, most of them involving Splatter killing people or just being a complete psycho in punk-rock armor. There’s an amusing scene involving a curious hooker in an abandoned building where she decides to blow him, only to be met with what we can only assume to be some kind of mutated flesh-probe where his dick should be (see, Splatter is so hardcore that he was actually EXPOSED to nuclear radiation, and that made him a twisted aberration). Naturally, Splatter ends up wrapping her in some kind of sheet metal siding until she is crushed to death. It’s exactly those kind of WTF moments that keep the film interesting.
The film itself is pretty empty looking; there are some nice gritty looking shots when the mutants are protesting some burning laboratory or something, but for the most part all the locations just look completely abandoned and devoid of people. It’s hard to get wrapped up in a story about a group of outcasts living in the inner city when there’s pretty much nobody to be seen. Also of note is an awesome synthesizer score that positively screams the 80s, so film audiophiles may want to take heed.
The dialogue is terrible and delivered with about as much enthusiasm as a bowel movement; look for one of the frat guys channeling Jim Carrey’s shtick years before he became famous for it. The film tries to make ups for its shortcomings by dishing up a modest helping of ultraviolence, some interesting kill sequences and of course what would a film from the 80s be without a gratuitous titty shot or two?
Fans of trash cinema will likely have a field day with Future-Kill; It positively drips 80s panache… it just happens to do it in a very cheap and flimsy manner.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.