Luther the Geek

Director: Carlton J. Albright

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The carnival geek (Tom Brittington) lives in a cage is fed live chickens for the entertainment of rednecks. A little kid, Luther (Carlton Williams), is totally imrpessed by the geek, & takes teh geek as his roll model.

Luther the Geek (1990) takes up many years later, "in the present." Luther (now played by Edwdard Terry) has grown up to be a different sort of geek, having made steel teeth for himself, with which to act out his psycho killer fantasies.

Luther the GeekHe's been in prison for twenty-five years. Having always been a model prisoner, a bleeding-heart member of the parole board goes to bat for him, & he's out to start his rampages anew.

Before long he's biting out the throat of a woman at the bus stop. Gore, alas, turns out to be pretty much the whole point. It all gets too silly to be horrific, but it's also not one-tenth as funny as must've been intended.

Nearly void of humor, it's just kinda dumb. Plus neck-biting isn't geekish; geeks bite the heads plum off chickens, & no one who thinks "geek" thinks of ripping out throats.

But Luther is simultaneously a true geek, & no chicken is safe in his vicinity. The actor is definitely weird & creepy, making chicken-noises as he stalks women, & if he had had any personality to speak of this might've been more interesting as a no-budget psycho tale.

It's not a Troma production & lacks the kitsch element of Troma, which can be a good thing. But Troma did buy it for distribution, finding in it an affinity for their own dumb stuff. It has similarly bad acting, simpleminded gore FX, bad editing, bad photography, but a humorous title which makes it marketable without regard for merits of content.

For years, though, it was hard to get a copy of Luther the Geek & during its absence from the marketplace it developed a tiny cult following, either because it was more straightfaced than most silly Troma offerings; or, because some viewers can impose via their own imaginations the film this might have been had it had an even half-competent director with a script that had something to develop in its Chicken Man Psycho; or absence made the heart grow fonder, while today availability deflates a legend.

The amateurishness of the Troma product has the excuse of it all being adolescent comedy of the sickest sort, but Luther the Geek lacks that element of goofy fun. The make-up FX guy was so embarassed by the film he refused to permit his name to be included in the credits. That was going a mite far; if I'd been involved in making a stupid, stupid movie, I'd still be tickled to see my name in the credits.

I tried to give the film every consideration, looking for something of merit within its own context of cheap thrills. There were only two such moments, beginning with the opening scene when the child Luther saw his first geek & got all excited. That was an attention-grabber.

Then there's nothing of interest until near the end, when one victim (Stacy Haiduk -- ha ha, Hi Duck!) attempts to communicate with Luther by bucking & flapping her arms & being a hen. She was really thinking through how to survive. So it was not that the film funny for about a minute, it was more like for a minute something made sense & really worked within the context of a story.

This is by far the best moment in the film, as Luther begins strutting like a rooster who has found his perfect hen. But then the film is over with so fast that it's sort of too bad that it spent the whole film being dull, & when it finally captures the viewer, it's over without developing its one good notion.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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