Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Uncle Sam

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56% (Critics) / 23% (Audience)
Directed By: William Lustig
Written By: Larry Cohen
Starring: Christopher Ogden, Robert Forster, Timothy Bottoms, P.J. Soles and Isaac Hayes
Studio: A-Pix Entertainment

Synopsis:After being killed by friendly fire during the Gulf War, soldier Sam Harper (David Shark Fralick) inexplicably returns from the dead to wreak revenge upon corrupt military men, draft dodgers, tax cheats, and flag burners. His memory is cherished only by his nephew, who doesn’t realize that in life Sam was an angry, violent alcoholic who abused his family members and earned his heroic medals simply by being psychotic on the battlefield. Sam crawls out of his coffin after being brought back to his hometown, steals an Uncle Sam costume and proceeds to wreak havoc on insincere patriots during a Fourth of July celebration. – (Source)

The Good:
The guy who made this movie really hated wars…I mean he hated war with a passion.
So what this movie basically ends up being is an anti-war horror movie with bad acting and no budget to speak of which is really not the most appealing sounding thing in the world. What saves this movie from being just bad and moves it into the so bad it’s good category is the clunky direction, heavy-handed script and best of all the creepily earnest acting of Christopher Ogden as Jody. I loved the fact that no one he lived with seemed to like him all that much. It was like his mom and aunt knew that he was a freak and wanted as little contact with him as possible.
If this kid wasn’t in this movie being all weird and inappropriately jingoistic I don’t think I would have enjoyed this movie at all. But then the folks behind this silliness upped the adolescent creep factor ante by introducing Jody’s burned up, wheelchair bound and blind friend Barry who behaved like a future Batman villain and it just increased the bizarreness to all sorts of awesome levels.

The Bad:
The titular character of Uncle Sam was incredibly lame. TO be brutally honest, Uncle Sam was the least necessary part of this movie. He wasn’t all that compelling a movie monster, his shtick was weak sauce and his kills were the antithesis of creative.
The acting is what you’d expect from this type of movie even from the actors (especially poor unfortunate Robert Forster) that have shown they are capable of doing much better.

The Ugly:
For some reason Uncle Sam’s behavior was very inappropriate around young boys. There is a 5 minute scene of Sam caressing burnt up wheelchair kid Barry’s face while whispering sweet nothings at the kid that had me hoping Chris Hansen would pop out of a bush and put a stop to the icky madness.

Final Verdict:A bad movie by every definition of the word but it teeters enough on the side of “so bad it’s good” that I recommend it just because it is one of those films any horror fan should experience for themselves even if it is just to see the creepy kid actors.
Happy 4th of July, America!

Grade: C-

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