Future-Kill review by Matt Fuerst


I remember being like a 12 year old kid and going with my parents to the video store on a Friday or Saturday. I'd wander in the Horror and Sci-Fi sections and daydream about the day when I could rent all these movies with scary covers. My parents were pretty liberal, but a few flicks were deemed off limits, and became the "Holy Grail" of a young movie fan. "When I grow up, I am going to watch A Clockwork Orange!" I seem to remember Future-Kill being one of these forbidden fruits. Future-Kill sports an effective cover from the uber-famous futuristic artist H.R. Giger, apparently a little too effective since I have to guess it made my mom or dad furrow their brow and give me the nay on the flick.

Fast forward a decade plus, and one day there's an offer to review a flick called Future-Kill. I read the description, it sounded fairly interesting, and asked for a copy for a review. At the time I hadn't seen the cover, so when I unwrapped my FedEx package a smile washed across my face. "Ohhh! That movie! What an awesome cover!" I was pretty eager to pop it in and see what awaited me.

Future-Kill is an interesting, unlikely clash of genres. It opens as a straight sci-fi futuristic semi-apocalyptic inner city setting. Our main antagonist, Splatter (Edwin Neal) is arguing with the Eddie Pain, the leader of the "mutant" punk gang over their future. Splatter is ready to shut down the use of nuclear technology by any means necessary, and the more violence required the better. Eddie prefers more peaceful methods for change. It's worth noting here that Splatter and Eddie are both wearing what we'd call "goth" makeup and garb today, and Splatter has had some serious hardware attached to his body, apparently due to accidents involving radiation. I thought this opening scene was very effective at setting the tone for the film, so I was shocked when the next scenes were essentially something copy and pasted from a Porky's sequel. You see, we are next following a group of frat students, attending a rival frat party, to apologize for a inter-frat prank gone awry. (No, I am not making this up.) Frat boys being frat boys, the apology goes awry and the our gentlemen end up getting themselves into even deeper frat-trouble.

The frat leader decrees their punishment: they must go into the run-down downtown area, and kidnap a "mutant" as penance for their deeds. The group of 5 relatively forgettable frat characters stuff into a mid-80's sedan, along with their fearless, nerdy leader, on the hunt for some "mutant" victim. "Mutants" are easy to pick out of a crowd since they have awful makeup, and are wearing fugly clothing. I highly doubt anyone involved in the production thought this was a good representation of how people were going to dress in the future, but I imagine ugly clothing and tons of Maybelline was the only costuming that was in the budget. Alright, so at this point in the movie we're dealing with a amazingly odd juxtaposition of themes. Just to recap... Set in the future, we've got a group of social radicals trying to generate an uprising and a group of frat boys out to reclaim their frat honor. Right. Now we're all up to speed, let's continue our trip down "weirdo lane".

Frat boys happen to stumble upon Splatter and Eddie Pain in midst of their tried and true argument. To fight the "Nukers" with violence or no? Splatter, as you may expect from the kind of guy named "Splatter", sees an opportunity and decides to sink his three Wolverine-esque claws into Eddie Pain's dome, and blames it on the hapless frat boys walking by at the time. Immediately, Splatter rallys the "mutant troops" to capture the "frat boy murderers". The movie has now re-jumped the Shark, and becomes a very low rent Escape from New York as our frat boys try to escape the city with their hides in one piece. As it turns out, there is a bit of a split in the "mutant" underground, and some members realize that Splatter isn't everything he claims to be, and the frat boys come across a Femme Mutant with a heart of gold, to help them escape the city.

Frat boys run around supposedly futuristic, abandoned building looking for ways out. The buildings look more like run-down, crappy 80's abandoned buildings, but I am willing to suspend my disbelief. "Mutants" run around the city holding 80's era weaponry (there aren't nearly enough Uzi's in cinema today) trying to track down the "leader murdering" frats. Run, run, run. Chase, chase, chase. A few bad action scenes are staged, and we're set for our climatic finale. Will the frats make it out of the city? Will Splatter lead the "mutants" with his mad delusions of violence?

I again have to take a moment to emphasize just how jarring I found the transition from the first scene (Splatter and Eddie arguing in a futuristic looking lab) and the second (frat boys at a frat party doing frat things). The first scene displayed all the obvious limitations of the budget, not exactly $100M blockbuster type costuming, set decoration and video quality. But an interesting enough looking film. Transitioning to a low rent party.. man just weird. There were obviously a few ideas in play here, but I don't think any of them were really fleshed out all that successfully. In the mid-80's, there certainly was a lot of tension over the nuclear arms race with the Ruskies. Playing off that with a mass of people worried about our world, that's reasonable enough. But the "mutants" aren't really ever developed beyond this surface reason-to-exist. No goals are really talked about, no plans ever enacted. There is also some play on class warfare going on here, with the frat boys representing big money, city slicker types, and the "mutants" being the lower class, stepped on and ignored by the masses. But once again, this is really only a surface deep type analysis.

So, we are stuck just looking at the movie as presented to us, for entertainment purposes. The budget is tiny, the story rough, the humor locked in the 80's, and the big draw of the movie - it's two stars connection to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre would leave people today scratching their heads. All that said, I have to say, Future-Kill does have some charm, and a great cover. I couldn't help but be intrigued when Splatter is on the screen. His costume is one of the best parts of the film, pretty well done and I dare say it cost more than the price of a Happy Meal. The frat scenes may be childish and out of place, but hey, they do open the possibility for some 80's era boobie shots.

Listen, I can't honestly tell you you're going to rent this and love it. If you go to the movies 3 times a year to see the latest Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts movies, you're not going to get 20 minutes into Future-Kill. If you are up for a so-so cult flick with some charms, give it a shot. It's a great capsule of independent movie-making in the 80's.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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