Uncle Sam (1996)
Review by Lance Dale
Rating: 2/5 Juds
It’s July. It’s America. Sweat is dripping from every pore and the smoke of last week’s fireworks is still stinging the nostrils. It’s time to saddle up the nearest eagle and prepare for a review of the most patriotic horror movie ever created: Uncle Sam.
Uncle Sam was directed by William Lustig, who gave us the amazing classic Maniac and the entire Maniac Cop series. This dude fucking loves maniacs. Find yourself someone who looks at you the way William Lustig looks at a maniac. It was also written by, B-movie all-star, Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent). When their powers combine you get a movie more American than Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet.
The story follows a kid named Jody who idolizes his uncle, who is conveniently named Sam (see what they did there). Sam is killed by friendly fire in Kuwait but comes back to life just to kill the rescue squad who arrived to save him. That’s how Sam rolls. Sam’s body is then found three years later and shipped home just before the town’s annual 4th of July celebration. That night Sam comes back to life again, for reasons which are never explained, and proceeds to kill the fuck out of anyone he deems un-American. Draft dodgers, tax cheats, flag burners, and weed smokers beware!
The make-effects on Sam are well done, literally. He kind of looks like Maniac Cop if someone forgot him in the oven. He’s a walking piece of blackened beef jerky. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see a whole lot of it. He wears a cheap Uncle Sam costume, which he steals from a peeping tom on stilts, throughout most of the movie.
There are a couple surprise actors and actresses who show up too. There’s a wooden legged Isaac Hayes who reassures the audience his dong is still fully intact. P.J. Soles, the actress from Halloween who totally wants to know if you see anything you like, shows up with her omnipotent, blind, wheel chair bound son. For some reason this kid has a psychic link with Sam. Why? Who knows? It’s another one of those things which is never explained. Also, Robert Forster (mostly known as the bondsman from Quentin Tarentino’s Jackie Brown) plays a corrupt politician who gets all explody.
The story moves pretty slow through the first half. The action doesn’t really start until you are about 40 minutes deep. If you don’t want the attempt of character building and storytelling to tread on you, the fast forward/skip button is your friend. Once it picks up, you get some kills which are as American as apple pie. If you’ve ever wanted to see a violent potato sack race (who hasn’t!?) or watch someone get blasted to bits by a fireworks display, this has you covered. Flag pole impalements? There’s a little bit of that too. This movie is by no means good, but if you want some campy horror to accompany your next 4th of July party, this just might be your jam.