Sunday, September 11, 2011

#401. Uncle Sam (1997)

Directed By: William Lustig

Starring: William Smith, David 'Shark' Fralick, Christopher Ogden

Tag line: "Uncle Sam wants you... DEAD!"

Trivia:  A lenticular 3-D poster was produced for Uncle Sam. Reportedly, only 10 of the 3-D posters were issued

Soldier Sam Harper (David Shark Fralick) is killed when his helicopter's shot down during Operation Desert Storm, and the only one upset by his passing seems to be his young nephew, Jody (Christopher Pgden). That's probably because Jody never knew him.  Prior to enlisting, Sam wasn't a very good person' a drunk who got a kick out of abusing his wife, Louise (Anne Tremko), he also spent the majority of his adolescence molesting his younger sister, Sally (Leslie Neale), Jody's mother. But Jody refuses to believe such stories, keeping alive the memory of his beloved Uncle Sam, an American Hero who died for his country. What Jody doesn't know is that his Uncle Sam isn't entirely dead, and on the 4th of July, he'll rise again, taking out his anger on the unpatriotic citizens of their home town. 

I was impressed by the cast director William Lustig assembled for Uncle Sam, many playing characters not particularly proud to be Americans. Timothy Bottoms is Mr. Crandall, Jody's teacher, who, years earlier, headed north to avoid serving in Vietnam. Bo Hopkins, on the other hand, is Sgt. Twining, a man quite happy to be in the military. After delivering the sad news of her husband's passing, he immediately puts the moves on Louise, later bragging that he's “batting .750” when it comes to scoring with bereaved widows. Congressman Cummings (Robert Forster) views the town's 4th of July celebration as little more than a way to schmooze voters, while Mrs. Cronin (P.J. Soles) has hated the holiday ever since her only son, Barry (Zachary McLemore), was badly injured by a faulty fireworks display. Even Jed Crowley (Isaac Hayes), a veteran who lost his leg fighting in the Korean War, tries to convince young Jody not to enlist in the military, claiming modern warfare doesn't have much of a purpose. Many of them will pay the ultimate price for their disloyalty once Sam shows up on the scene. 

That's because Sam can't abide a lack of patriotism, and ensures that anyone he catches disrespecting their country will never do so again. His first victim, a peeping tom in an Uncle Sam costume, learns the hard way that he shouldn't have sullied the good name of an American icon, and a few teens who burn the flag don't live long enough to brag about it (one is strung up by the neck...on a flagpole). Throughout Uncle Sam, the killer stalks the Un-American at the town's 4th of July picnic, culminating in a fireworks display nobody will soon forget. 

After Halloween, Black Christmas, even Mother's Day, it was only a matter of time before the slasher genre got around to the glorious 4th, and Uncle Sam does not disappoint. Bringing gore to the birthday of the good 'ole USA, Uncle Sam is an all-American blood bath, not to mention a flag-waving good time.


Ian Montgomery said...

Uncle Sam doesn't like draft dodgers or Gulf War critics? Sounds like someone had some bitter political statements they wanted to make.

Looks a weird fun movie. Thanks for writing about it.

Dave B. said...

Ian: Thanks for stopping by!

It is a weird film, but also a funny one at times (Robert Forster delivers a rare comedic performance). Definitely worth a watch!

beep said...

Well dear gawd, how did this sucker fly under the radar? If you don't tell the Alamo about this, I must :)