Luther The Geek (1990)

DVD Cover (Troma Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Slasher Film
As a young child Luther The Geek or "The Freak" witnesses a band of men goading a geek (a man who bites off chicken's heads and drinks the blood) into performing. In the ensuing hullabaloo, Luther bites his lip and likes the taste of blood. Flash forward some thirty years and a parole board is meeting to discuss Luther's release. It seems the cheeky blighter has been murdering folk in the meantime. A dopey parole board trainee sides with the liberals and so Luther is unleashed, except now he has a special pair of customized metal teeth. Luther then proceeds to "bite the heads off" of many hapless folk until the tense ending. --IMDb
Carlton J. Albright Carlton J. Albright
Edward Terry Edward Terry
Joan Roth Joan Roth
Stacy Haiduk Stacy Haiduk
Thomas Mills Thomas Mills
Jerry Clarke Jerry Clarke

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 11, 2008
There are certain ideas in the world of horror that are easy to judge on paper, but once you see them in action, you get a completely different outlook on said idea. Let's see... imagine telling a horror fan back in 1983 that a great idea for a horror flick would involve a man who attacks you in your dreams. Rubbish? Well, that idea worked out surprisingly well. How about rewinding a little further, going back to 1979, and telling horror fans that a little retarded boy who fell in the lake would become one of the icons of horror? They'd laugh in your face, but Jason is here to stay. Still not convinced? Alright, let's head back to 1977 and try to keep a straight face while telling people that a man in a William Shatner mask would be scaring moviegoers silly this time next year. That sounds completely asinine, but time hasn't lied on that particular offering.

This brings us to today's film, a little slasher flick that went completely under the radar upon its release in 1990, most likely due to its bizarre premise. You see, the "geek" in Luther the Geek doesn't reference a social outcast or a nerdy Star Wars fan - no, the "geek" found here is of the old-school carnival sideshow variety. Geeks, for the woefully uninformed, were performers who would bite the heads off of live chickens, drink their blood, and then... well, that's about it, but sideshow visitors ate this act up. Disgusting? You bet your bottom dollar it was, but they always managed to put asses in seats.

Luther (Edward Terry), the titular geek, happened to see one of these shows as a young boy and was scarred for life to put it mildly. A few years would pass between his encounter with a circus geek who performed simply to scrape together the cash to buy his next bottle of booze and Luther's savage neck-biting murders of three innocent victims, and for his crimes, Luther was sentenced to three consecutive life terms. Case closed, end of movie? Well, not quite - the parole board figures that a guy who only speaks in clucks, wears sharpened false teeth, and who is completely batshit insane is a model prisoner, and thus, he is released back into the waiting arms of the general public. Talk about a wonderful justice system.

Luther's first order of business after gaining his freedom is to head to the local supermarket, where he wastes no time in killing an elderly woman by biting her on the neck with his sharpened teeth and leaving her to die in a pool of her own blood. Luckily, a cop was in the area when the call for help came in, but unfortunately for Hilary (Joan Roth), Luther decided to stow away in her back seat under an old blanket. Hilary eventually finishes her shopping and heads home to her little house out in the middle of nowhere, and there, Luther attacks her, ties her up, and...

Before he can go any further, Hilary's daughter Beth (Stacy Haiduk) and Beth's boyfriend Rob (Thomas Mills) show up to pay a visit to mother dearest, unaware of the horrors that are taking place upstairs. They'll find out all about Luther in short order though, as he isn't shy about making his presence known and proceeds to terrorize this little family throughout the evening and into the morning.

Remember how I said up above that certain ideas are easy to judge on paper? This is one of them. Yes, the villain is a geek who dispatches of his victims by biting them on the neck like his carnie hero from days gone by, and yes, he does walk around clucking like a chicken. It's true that this is cheesy as all hell when you read about it in this review, but much like the aforementioned films, Luther the Geek takes this idea and makes it work in a big-time way. While it's certainly not the classic that those films are and it didn't make a quarter of the impact, this little release is right up there alongside them in terms of pure entertainment and rewatchability.

Edward Terry is by far the biggest reason for this, as even though the man had only one other credit to his name prior to starring in this release, he made the character - a character that is silly on paper - into something truly menacing and memorable. This is especially impressive when you consider that the character didn't utter a single line of dialogue save for clucking like a chicken, but there's just something about his mannerisms, his body language, and his overall look that will cause this character to stay etched in your brain for years to come.

The gore is another thing that will stick with you, as there are some damned fine displays of it found throughout the running time. The opening scene with the "real" geek is extremely convincing (I wouldn't be surprised if his act wasn't staged for the camera), and that scene with the old lady outside the supermarket will cause gorehounds to piss in their panties. The rest of the gore effects are just as good, and I'm shocked that the special effects artist refused credit for his work here. It's public knowledge who did it now (look it up on IMDb if interested), but it's just completely mind-boggling why someone would refuse credit for something that was done so beautifully.

Overall, Luther the Geek is a criminally underrated horror flick that should be on every horror fan's shelves. It's got scares, it's got a memorable villain, and of course, it's got gore that outdoes a solid ninety percent of everything on the market - then and now. The storyline flows wonderfully with no padding to be found, the characters make smart decisions instead of falling into the standard horror clichés, and it's just an overall excellent time in front of the tube. Troma may be handling the distribution duties for the DVD, but don't let that fool you: this is a legitimate horror flick that sets out to scare, shock, and disgust the audience, and it accomplishes all of that and more. 10/10.
The Red Clover #1: The Red Clover - added 08/14/2008, 09:15 AM
This was a great movie. Thanks for pointing me in it's direction!
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 10/12/2008, 01:05 PM
Loved it.

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