Monday, January 4, 2010

80s Trash: Uninvited (1988)

Right off the bat, I want to make clear that this movie is unrelated to the recent American film or the film that 'inspired it.' This is actually an obscure 1980s horror film that has somehow found its way onto DVD. Why review it then? Nobody cares about a film if it doesn't have two weird twins trying to kill the lady from Zak and Miri Make A Porno and save Edward R. Murrow, right? Wrong. This movie's plot is so bizarre and random that it demands attention. It is sort of like that kid who is covering himself in spaghetti so that his mother will look at him. Well son, we're looking at you now. This is...
The film begins with the most horrifying image to anyone that has seen Pet Sematary- a cat. This is no ordinary cat, however, as it is in the middle of escaping from a science lab. What kind of work can you do to a cat there, aside from testing mascara on them though? The movie puts off this answer in lieu of some men in silly silver HAZMAT suits and funny goggles. Hilarious and safe- a good combination. They get killed off-camera by the beast and we get the lazy 'blood thrown at the wall' effect. That is never a good sign. More random scientists chase the thing around a parking lot, but another one bites the dust via shadows. Finally, we get to see the evil secret of the cat. When it is cornered by another scientist, it reveals itself to be...a sock puppet monster inside of a cat sock puppet. Words fail me, gentlemen. The movie changes focuses to a pair of nubile teens (who look about twenty-five) who don't have a room to stay in during Spring Break. Just don't take a ride from a biker with an electrical battery on the back, kids! They run across an 80s businessman stereotype- complete with the mustache- who buys them dinner. His business associates show up and they are...George Kennedy with mutton chops and the Bartender from the Feast films. Oh boy!

The next day, we learn that the girls had a big party with the man and they invite a trio of guys to come with them (including Phantom of the Mall's Rob Estes). We learn the truth behind the businessman's suddenly-nice behavior. Him and his cronies have to leave the country with the money from an experimental drug test gone bad. Gee, I wonder if these two things are related. Just to set the mood, we get a scene of them killing a 'loose end' earlier. Along the way to the docks, the stumble across the cat and take it with them. The businessman actually tries to stop them from taking on board, but the blond uses the power of her boobs to make him relent. On the ship, we get a sub-plot set up with a woman whose American accent is only outdone by the lead heroine from Werewolf (aka Arizona Werewolf). The yacht used to be owned by her dad, but the rich guy bought it and lets her run it for him. The guys end up being forced to work on the ship thanks to some government men heading to the yacht. That night, the girls throw a party and leave the Bartender to drive the ship. He gets attacked by the film's Nesting Doll of a monster and even manages to damage the engine in the process. Great- you broke the engine and you're dead.

Things escalate on the ship and quickly. The rich guy makes his intentions known and tries to get 'friendly' with the girls, in spite of them hooking up with the young guys. This leads to George Kennedy punt-kicking Estes with all the conviction of a man kicking a Nerf ball. The monster bites him, however, and he dies from the infection. Apparently, the thing is full of toxins due to the processes done to it (which they never explain) and is deadly. Mind you, it kills you without the toxin, but, whatever. This portion of the film is very oddly-paced, including long bits of dialogue between the people who are stranded and can't call for help- thanks again, Bartender. They eventually turn on the rich guy, but they are still stuck. The kills also come in odd spurts, including one where two of them bite the dust in one fell swoop. The cute blond dies after eating toxin-infected food (it was all they have left), while Estes is burned by the world's hottest steam pipe in a surprisingly-gory death. As the film wraps up, the rich guy dies at the cat's, er paw, but leaves a briefcase full of money with our lone heroes. They give us not one, but TWO 'the monster is dead...oh no, it's not moments' to boot. Bonus props go out to the terrible boat model as well. The good guys get rich and the monster do nothing. The End.

This movie is not good for a lot of reasons. The whole premise is ridiculous and only held together by a couple of huge jumps in logic. If the stupid guy had just not let the cat on board, there would be no movie. On top of that, the logic behind the monster is never really addressed. It's not an alien, but what the hell could it be? You would have to do some Mengele-level drug-testing to get that killer cat fetus thing. I will give the film credit for some interesting ideas, like focusing most of the latter half on them being stuck, as opposed to the monster. Many ideas are set up and never really closed off. They set up the idea of Estes' character turning on the others for money, but he dies before that can happen. Thanks for going nowhere, plot thread! It is interesting to see George Kennedy and Mr. Gulager show up, but their parts are minimal at best. We are mostly left with Estes and the others to carry the load...which they can't. As a side note, I always love the sequel-bait endings that have no pay-off. Ah, irony. This movie is worth a look for a curious horror fan, but not recommended for most. Seeing the monster in all of it's...err, glory and an hilarious bit with some window-crashing effects are worth the price of admission, but just barely.

Next up, we begin a three-part look at a nearly-forgotten horror series from the 1980s. It is a Full Moon effort, however, so bear that in mind. Stay tuned...


  1. I love this movie because of it's horrible-ness. We took in a stray cat we named "The Uninvited"- we call him Uno.

    He meows a little less though.

  2. I'd say that naming a cat after this movie was nerdy, but my parents named their first cat Strider.

    As long as your cat isn't a killer hand-puppet with radiation sickness, it's a far better pet than the movie's creature was.

  3. We also have a lizard named Officer Murphy, so I can't really argue the nerd thing.

    So far offerings of Lil' Friskies have prevented a cat within a cat attack.

  4. This mutant-cat horror flick is soooooo interesting!!! Seriously, I think horror filmmaking people oughta make thousands and thousands more weird special effects horror flicks like this. And they should also make six to seven SEQUELS about the movie "UNINVITED," only they should do several more body bulging and body bursting mutations and make more cat monsters.