Sometimes, when someone gives you advice, you really ought to take it. I was advised never to watch Future-Kill by multiple sources, under the impression that it was so absolutely appalling that it could injure me spiritually. I love bad movies, so I figured “what the Hell?”
Now there are bad movies and there are bad movies. Future-Kill ranks among the type of bad that has no redeeming value, not even from a humor standpoint. I think I’d sooner subject myself to Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare or R.O.T.O.R. than a repeat viewing of this sorry excuse for entertainment.
As a fraternity gag, five frat boys are sent to the seedy downtown district of their city to abduct the leader of the Mutants: A gang of anti-nuclear protesting punks. Unfortunately for them, they try to kidnap Splatter (Edwin Neal), a disfigured and murderous member of the Mutants, garbed in body armor and a razor-clawed gauntlet (don’t let the poster art by H. R. Giger fool you; it really doesn’t look that cool). The five frat boys realize their folly too late and find themselves trapped in the maze-like urban sprawl. Finding their way out is the least of their worries, as Splatter and his hordes of Mutant followers are determined to see them die one-by-one.
Director Ronald W. Moore seeks to combine the plot of The Warriors with some slasher film aesthetics. While this might sound like a cool idea, don’t be fooled; the result is a boring, tedious mess.
The film begins as a very goofy, over-the-top teen comedy, complete with slapstick, sight gags and humor of the raunchiest variety (fire-roasted dildo on a bun, anyone?). Future-Kill takes a turn for a darker direction as soon as the frat boys enter downtown and become Splatter’s prey. It comes across as very uneven, though I have a hunch the spontaneous gearshift was Moore’s intention. Moore also attempts to cram some sort of West Side Story morality into the plot, with one of the frat boys falling for a good-hearted Mutant girl and both characters discovering not to judge the other half based on appearances. You know, the whole, “We can’t be in love; we’re from two different worlds” bit. It’s incredibly heavy-handed and feels extremely out of place in a movie that’s half teen sex comedy and half slasher gore fest.
The film attempts to bank on nostalgia from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, casting two players from the film and even promoting their presence in the trailer. Edwin Neal, the Hitch-hiker from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” stars as the film’s main villain: Splatter. Despite a gaudy appearance, it’s a far more subdued role than the off-the-wall Hitch-hiker and really doesn’t suit Neal’s strengths. His single shining moment in the film is a painfully protracted scene in which a hooker tries to give him a blowjob, only to become horrified by his irradiated junk. Be grateful the following screencap isn’t of higher resolution.
The other Texas Chainsaw alumni featured here is Marilyn Burns who starred as Sally Hardesty in that much better movie. Here, she plays Splatter’s love-interest, though she conspires against him. There’s a reason Burns’ filmography can just about be counted on one hand: she’s a terrible actress. The silly punk outfit and hammy dialogue don’t do her any favors, either.
Just as perplexing as everything else going on in this film is the name: Future-Kill. Why is it called that? The film’s title sequence features a computer screen and electronic sound effects, but no such technology is featured in the movie. It’s as if they were trying to pull in the Mad Max crowd with punks in silly costumes and a title that kind-of-sort-of implies a post-apocalyptic setting, but its lies. All lies. Future-Kill takes place firmly within the present of 1985.
As far as gore goes, Future-Kill can’t even manage to deliver on that. Most of the violence involves the frat boys tackling Mutant punks and punching each other a lot. The lighting is so incredibly dim that even if there was any blood you’d have a hard time seeing it. Splatter, for all his promotion of that clawed-gauntlet, doesn’t kill all that many people. I’d say he’s a victim of hype… but WHAT hype? The goriest scene in the film is Splatter’s ultimate demise. It actually is pretty cool, though woefully short and hardly worth the eighty-five minute wait.
Not a lot of people are going to recommend this film to you, and I can hardly blame them. It is bad in a way that makes it a chore to sit through and scarcely entertaining on any level (so many minutes of characters running down alleys and streets). Most of the time, you can’t even muster up the enthusiasm to laugh at it.