director Ronald W. Moore
Whether Future-Kill‘s poster ever teased anyone into seeing it in the theater or not, its image on a video box sure lured a rental or hundreds over the years. That’s not a knock-off H.R. Giger image but the real deal, dressing up an image from the film in far cooler raiment than truly earned. Giger did the poster as a favor when asked and did so purely on the fact that Future-Kill featured some of the actors and production staff that had worked on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Future-Kill‘s one other selling point. Giger apparently turned down many a film for such a treatment, so Future-Kill‘s poster coup was coup indeed.
Whatever it looks like from the outside, the film is a hard curve ball on expectations.
The heroes/protagonists of Future-Kill are frat boys. In fact, the film’s whole perspective (and probable production) is a fantasy of frat boys who cross over into the seedy side of town (that town being Austin, TX) and cross some “freaks” (read: punks). And why do they cross over to the seedy side of town? To kidnap a freak and him back to the frat house for a laugh. Little do they know but the freaks (who protest against nuclear energy) have a rogue among them who was personally exposed to radiation and is now a killing machine. This would be “Splatter” (played by Edwin Neal of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre who also co-wrote this film.)
To blend in with the freaks, the frat guys (or ‘Zods as the punks call them) tease their hair, put on make-up, and torn clothes. The punks aren’t really any different that the ‘Zods, seemingly played by other preppies dressed as frat guys of the time no doubt thought “looked punk”. A lot of fighting ensues. The ‘Zods are pretty adept at fighting, it turns out.
The opening sequence of the film, which takes place at a frat party, situates the perspective that these comical douchebags are the heroes and the center of this story. They play all kinds of antics, filled with misogyny, homophobia, and other wonderful things, and the film seems to think that these happy-go-lucky guys are exactly who the audience would side with.
Back in the 80’s in my hometown of Gainesville, FL, one of the fraternities had a “punk night” where they dressed up like Halloween and listened to alternative music and played mockery mixed with love and yearning much like here for the “freaks”. So, for me, there is an air of flashback here, which comes with an unpleasant flavor in the back of my throat.
The film does feature some pretty nice analog FX at times and is indeed an independent horror film reeking of its time and place. Merits and demerits abound and for me the film on the whole is a weak mixed bag of stuff. I can’t help but find it interesting (and occasionally charming) if at the same time mildly or even strongly repugnant.
What a weird, weird little film.