In the future, the mutants rule!
Description on the hind of the box: “Edwin Neal and Marilyn Burns, stars of the infamous cult-classic, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ have returned! Featuring ghastly special effects by Robert A. Burns (Poltergeist, The Howling,) Future Kill is a horrifying tale of suspense with nightmarish realism. Future Kill presents a grim view of a world where anti-nuclear activists have taken control of the cities, reducing them to a battlefield unsafe for anyone but the followers of the violently wicked Splatter (Neal.) “
How many times has a VHS cover lied to you? I lost count but Future-Kill is one of the more memorable covers thanks to accomplished artist H.R. Giger. Most viewers will tell you they remember the fancy cover art drawing their eye at the video store when they were 12 years old. That’s just a rounded number. The entity on the cover looks like an enhanced version of The Terminator but what lies inside the box is a completely different story. With a title like Future Kill I’d like to picture the year 2026 with cyborgs and advanced technology. Nope. The future is 1985 in downtown Austin.
The confusion treads on as the film opens with the intimidating Splatter talking to the leader of the mutants, Eddie Pain, about how he had to put one of his fellow mutants down after talking to reporters only to follow up with a frat party, making it a hybrid sub-genre that combines frat comedy and Dystopia. I like to think of it as The Warrios meets Animal House. The frat party is identical to every frat party portrayed on screen. There are blow up dolls, Deep Throat Pin Ball machines, girls running around in sexy lingerie, booze, and the usual pranks. We meet our batch of young hunks who get a kick out of pranking the alternative chapter’s president. Their own chapter president is not amused while he reveals their harsh punishment. The boys are forced to go downtown to capture one of these mutants. Splatter is not taking the situation lightly as he kills the frat president and Eddie Pain, making him the new leader.
The boys try to find a way out of the city while Splatter and his ornery disciples are on the hunt for blood. Let me stop for a second and describe these ‘mutants.’ They do not appear to have any special powers or deformities. If I didn’t know any better I’d say they were nothing but anarchist punks that wear too much eyeliner complete with Mohawks. They’re nothing more than regular folk who are anti-nuclear activists. Splatter does appear to have some deformities even in the crotchal region which is probably why he is such a prick. I do not have a penis but I cannot imagine having a reason to live without having my naughty bits. It appears that he had a little accident involving radiation. The mutant’s anti-nuke plans are never developed nor do they go anywhere. I know in the 80s there was a lot of tension between the US and the Ruskies regarding the nuclear arms but the mutants never expand their organization.
Moving on. While the boys are on the run they save mutant hottie, Julie (Alice Villarreal,) from being raped by a couple of perverted cops. She agrees to show the boys a way out. There’s also Eddie Pain’s lady friend Dorothy Grimm (Marilyn Burns) who wants revenge for Eddie’s death. If you’re huge fan of Burns after falling in love with Texas Chainsaw Massacre you may be disappointed. She’s only in the film for maybe 20 minutes. There’s a nifty night club scene with a band called Max and the Make-ups. The boys begin to respect this alternative life style and one of them develops a crush on Julie. Eventually, Splatter and his lame followers catch up with the group and there are no spoilers here but I’m sure you can tell where this is going.
The film has many flaws. Due to its budget I understand the limitations as far as costuming but it’s hard for me to take Edwin Neal seriously. Not only is his custom ridiculous looking but I keep imagining him as that creepy hitchhiker that gets a kick out of cutting himself in TCM. Now seeing him as this ‘monster’ it’s just not very convincing. Not to mention to poor acting accompanied by the dreadful dialogue which you can partially blame Edwin Neal for as he co-wrote the script with director Ronald Moore. The fights are badly choreographed and the music wasn’t memorable enough for me to remember. Normally I produce several quotes for these articles but it’s challenging since none of the dialogue was memorable.
What saves this movie is the obvious heart. The cast and crew put their heart and soul into the making of this film and even though it flopped they still continue to praise it. Future-Kill is a cheesy independent 80’s exploitation flick that should be seen at least once or twice. Maybe invite a few friends over with a brewsky.
Surprisingly the film was given an X rating for extreme violence by the MPAA. After a single edit the film passed with an R rating. There aren’t many deaths on screen and while these minuscule deaths are graphic it’s hard to see because the film is so dark.
Future-Kill has been released on DVD thanks to Subversive Cinema. Special features include a commentary, interview with Edwin Neal, bios, trailers, and art work by H.R. Giger.