All these years I’ve sorta avoided ‘Uncle Sam’ from 1996, assuming it was some sort of idiotic throw away, direct to video waste of time. The VHS cover was unforgettable, a wild lenticular evil Uncle Sam in glorious 3-D! Still for decades I never checked this out kind of on purpose.
This 4th of July however I was looking for something in the horror genre that might take place around the holiday and of COURSE there was good ol ‘Uncle Sam’ front and center. I almost passed on it yet again, but this time I noticed something that I def hadn’t before. It was directed by William Lustig famed for the brilliant ‘Maniac Cop’ franchise and written by one of my genre favorites Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, The Ambulance, Return to Salem’s Lot, Q: The Winged Serpent). Why the Hell hadn’t I realized this sooner?!
Well Uncle Sam indeed delivered everything I’d hoped it would and much more! It’s a great horror flick with some razor sharp comedy/social commentary, just what you’d hope it would have being written by Larry Cohen. It’s a wild story about a kid who’s freakishly obsessed with becoming a soldier, kickin’ ass for the USA & doing whatever the fuck President tells him to! He’s also obsessed with his Uncle, who’s real name is Sam, who tragically dies in the Iraq war from “friendly fire”.
When his body is shipped back to their home(?) to sit until his grave is dug, bizarre events lead to his dead decaying body reanimating and donning an Uncle Sam outfit which he strips from a peeping Tom on stilts after after murdering him!
At this point Uncle Sam embarks on a full on “Jason Voorhees” killing spree during the 4th of July as the small town starts to celebrate. I’d always assumed that this movie was a total farce/spoof, but far from it. It’s got a cool fast paced story, plenty of obnoxious patriotic humor and even a strong social commentary about the US government and war itself. There’s also some inventive kills (with fireworks of course!), cool make up effects and a cast which stars fan favorites Robert Forster and Isaac Hayes.
Probably one of the most ridiculous aspects and enjoyable parts of the whole movie is the kid and his crazy ass obsession with the United States and his over the top ludicrous patriotism on full display. It’s pretty gut busting and as a whole Uncle Sam is a total delight that somehow eluded me for almost three damn decades.
As far as 4th of July viewing you really can’t do better than this, the most “4th of July” horror movie of all time thankfully has got all the right moves and the talent behind it is evident in the final product. I got this bad boy on blu ray from Blue Underground! But now I want that damn 3-D lenticular VHS too! Hunt down Uncle Sam THIS 4th of July!!
Yes it’s 2021 and I’ve STILL got the old skool big red envelope Netflix by mail service! Deal with it peeps! In fact the DVD service is so much more superior and satisfying than the boring vanilla streaming service I suggest everyone go back to simpler times and try waiting a few days for a damn movie to arrive. That being said going into 2020’s ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ (yep on DVD) I’d assumed it was going to be some flimsy-ass modern werewolf tale I’d likely forget an hour after viewing. Not the case, this one was a total gem and really defied all expectations which admittedly were pretty freakin’ low. I personally find most modern horror movies to be a chore to get through lately, but every now and again one hits all the right beats.
What starts out as a simple tale turns into something quite complex, then somehow morphs at the end into something completely different than what I’d expected to unfold. It tells the tale of a small mountain town that’s gripped by horror, when mauled bodies are mysteriously discovered apparently after each full moon. Small town cop, Officer Marshall is hot on the case and stressed the fuck out. While raising a teenage daughter and covering for his aging father, Robert Forster (who also happens to be the Sheriff), he’s losing lotsa sleep, trying to solve the murders while desperately trying to convince the the town that there’s no such thing as a killer beast on the prowl. Most importantly NOT werewolves. But what are his true motives? Does the small town cop have bigger secrets he’s trying to hide?
This sweet little horror comedy has a lot to offer, some charming characters work their way through this unique little mystery while the creep factor is cranked up with the presence of a menacing monster who shows up to shred his victims for all the town to behold. Officer Marshall is a pretty hilarious character and following him as he seemingly tries to solve the caper is a true delight, the clues subtly placed out there for the audience make this a unique little tale of terror. The cozy little winter ski town of Snow Hollow is the perfect place for the mayhem to unfold, giving this one a slightly “Scooby Doo-esque” vibe to it all. It can also double as a holiday movie as it’s clearly the Christmas season in Snow Hollow when the animal attacks hit their stride. The werewolf aspect of it is also pretty compelling with a menacing hulking monster on the prowl of the dark snow bound streets of the small town. There’s no bad CGI werewolves to rain on the parade here either, instead an impressive creature who doesn’t wear out his welcome by remaining fairly elusive never fully revealing his full form too clearly in the moonlight.
This one doesn’t follow the traditional tropes of older werewolf tales or the trending formulas newer horror films that are trying to work in any sort of political angle. Like I mentioned before, it’s really like a violent Scooby Doo mystery with a dash of 1985’s ‘Silver Bullet’ that knows how to keep the audience guessing until the very end. As soon as you think you’ve got it all firmly figured out it throws a loop that send the viewer down a different trail. Director Jim Cummings, who also plays Officer Marshall, has does great job here bringing this offbeat werewolf tale to life and making his character a memorable one for the modern horror genre-check this one out if you’re looking for a wildly fun, gory little mystery!