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3.8 out of 5 stars
Uncle Sam [Blu-ray]
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on July 9, 2004
I really enjoyed this movie it was chessy but at the same time kinda creepy.It made no sense that they would send a three year dead corpse to a family's house.I think this was the last of creative Horror Movies brutal deaths ,and funny one liners by Sam Harper.I thought the plot was good Though it never explains why he came back from the dead.Anyhow this a must have for any horror movie fan Collection.
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on July 5, 2004
After his helicopter is shot down by "friendly fire" in Kuwait, the charred remains of Desert Storm hero Sam Harper (David "Shark" Frahlich) are recovered by a reconnaissance team and shipped off to his Midwestern hometown back in the States. His sister Sally (Leslie Neale) and his widow Louise (Anne Tremko) are actually relieved to learn that the abusive Sam is dead, because in life he was a fanatical right-winger whose legendary heroics actually stemmed from his propensity for being domineering and downright sadistic. In fact, the only person in town who seems to mourn Sam's demise is his nephew, Jody (Christopher Ogden), who has long worshipped his uncle as the epitome of bravery and manhood.
Sam's burned and apparently mummified body arrives home in a sealed casket a scant day or two before the 4th of July, and when some of the town's juvenile delinquents perform a disrespectful flag-burning ritual at the fallen war hero's freshly dug grave, not even Death can restrain Sam's patriotic indignation. Sam rises from his coffin, appropriates an Uncle Sam costume, and celebrates Independence Day by meting out fatal punishments to the town's hoodlums, crooked politicians, draft dodgers, and anybody else he considers to be un-American. When young Jody discovers who's behind the wave of killings, the lad realizes that his uncle may not be so worthy of admiration after all, and he and a few of his friends set out to thwart the activities of the flag-waving fiend. But will Jody and his buddies be able to stop Uncle Sam before it's too late?
On the surface, 1997's UNCLE SAM seems to hearken back to the early 1980s and the heyday of the slasher-flick. Following the basic formula of the popular films from that era--films such as HALLOWEEN (1978) and FRIDAY THE 13th (1980)--UNCLE SAM centers around a mentally unbalanced individual who inexplicably rises from the grave to become a serial-killing juggernaut, and only a few innocents are able to learn the killer's identity and ultimately halt his murderous spree. The unique variation in this film is that, instead of eliminating promiscuous teens (the typical slasher-flick victims), the unctuous Uncle Sam is picking off anybody who pooh-poohs old glory, hot dogs, baseball, apple pie, or any other icon of the American way of life.
But if viewed as straight horror, UNCLE SAM will read as a rather goofy film. There is actually much more going on here than just a bunch of gratuitous bloodletting. Scripted by indie auteur Larry Cohen--well known for penning and directing way-above-average exploitation genre flicks such as IT'S ALIVE! (1974), GOD TOLD ME TO (1976), and Q: THE WINGED SERPENT (1982)--and directed by Cohen's sometimes-collaborator William Lustig (1988's MANIAC COP and sequels), UNCLE SAM is actually a dark Juvenalian satire of cultural phenomena like blind patriotism, patriotic demagoguery, the romanticizing of war, and misguided hero worship. Although the satirical aspects are more blatant here than in THE STUFF (1985)--Cohen's top-notch feature-length mockery of consumer excess and the smarmy advertising industry that spurs it on--UNCLE SAM still cogently and humorously delivers its message and is therefore a lot of fun to watch. It has also been argued that UNCLE SAM is gently spoofing the slasher sub-genre itself. While it's obvious that this is not the primary theme, it would be difficult to deny that the film does offer a few playful jabs at other holiday-themed slasher flicks.
The acting in the film is above par, especially for a low-budget horror film. (Watch for lots of well-known faces, including Timothy Bottoms, Isaac Hayes, and the cute P.J. Soles of HALLOWEEN fame.) The cinematography is excellent, the attention to color (especially the reds, whites, and blues), the use of shadows and contrast, and the skillful framing in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio at times breathtakingly beautiful. And Lustig's direction is tight but not overbearing, and he keeps the plot moving along at a natural but exciting pace.
In many ways, UNCLE SAM is a family-friendly slasher flick. That's not to say that it's suitable viewing for the pre-teen Disney crowd, but the characteristics typical of the genre have been toned down. Some of the killings carried out by the titular character actually take place offscreen and are therefore merely implied, and even the murders that do occur within the camera frame are not nearly as bloody nor as gruesome as the genre norm. And unlike many horror films of recent decades, the T&A factor is practically non-existent, with only one scene offering a very brief flash of female nudity. For a genre-loving family with children aged 13 or older, screening this film as part of the 4th-of-July celebration could become a fun annual tradition.
The new DVD treatment of UNCLE SAM from Blue Underground is superb. The digital transfer is nearly perfect, with nary a discernable filmic or digital artifact. The sound quality is also wonderful, with viewers given two versions of Dolby from which to choose. And there is lots of cool bonus material, too, including two feature commentaries, the original theatrical trailer, and more.
UNCLE SAM may not be to every viewers taste, but most genre fans who enjoy dark satire will want to give the disc a spin. And fans of Larry Cohen will certainly want to add this one to their DVD collections.
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on June 30, 2004
this is one of my new favorite horror flicks!! its more of a SLASHER flick than a ZOMBIE flick(the slasher is the zombie) this movie is a breath of fresh air in my opinion!!! it plays like a "HALLOWEEN" "FRIDAY the 13th" or a "NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET" on the 4th of july but then it has its own unique creative bite to it, wich makes it just as good if not better than those masterpieces!!! in the 80s this flick would have been a box office smash instead of going straight to video!! if some big name like WES CRAVEN was involved it would have been a hit!?!? "UNCLE SAM" makes "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER" look like a freakin walk in the park!!! much better in so many different ways!!!! way scarier/more creative directing/better make up & special effects/acting isnt so bad. the only thing about the movie that rubbed me the wrong way was the stupid kid in the wheel chair!!! the movie could have done without him!!! they could have come up with a much better way for the kid to find out who his uncle was & you all will understand what i mean when you watch it for your self!!! anyway it doesn't ruin the movie by no means! so hurry up & get this refreshing new slasher/zombie classic!! done up 80s style!!!!! E!!!!N!!!!J!!!!O!!!!Y!!!!
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on June 3, 2004
OH MY GOD...UNCLE SAM I WANT YOU DEAD IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!! A MUST SEE! SCARY, SUSPENSFUL, AND VERY FUNNY! HOLLA
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on May 5, 2004
This movie is pretty good if you are looking for a cheesy movie. however the first 30 minutes move kind of slow! it has some really original stuff in it and i wish this movie was easier to find!
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on February 23, 2004
Any movie that ends with veteran William Smith spouting off something called "Desert Fire" has to be a howler. UNCLE SAM is one of those movies that misses more than it hits, but it has such a patriotic pallor behind it, one can see where screenwriter Cohen was coming from. It's not a war-mongers movie, nor a pacifists, either. Just don't mess with the flag when crazy Uncle Sam's around. The cast is comprised of a bunch of B movie actors: PJ Soles; Robert Forster; Isaac Hayes; Timothy Bottoms; Bo Hopkins; William Smith, just to name a few.
Muddled and manic, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
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on January 18, 2004
I was at movie gallery, looking for some cheesy movies and this is what i found...
uncle sam is highly original, and has a very good plot. very realistic and original killings. Killings include: hanging, tree trimmers, gun, meat cleaver, buryed alive, and many more! i gave it 4 stars because tge 1st of the movie was slow and boring, but it came together nicely. and some of the charcters where very annoying! it is definatly diferent but it is batter than alot of movies i've seen! when i first picked it up i though it was going to be cheesy but its not! it definatly has its scary moments and its extreamly gory moments! definatly worth watching!
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on July 24, 2003
Sam Harper went to the Persian Gulf War with a wife in the States and a belly full of hate. His chopper crashed in the desert, a victim of friendly fire, and it took three years to find his body. Now Harper is back home in a metal coffin with a wife who no longer wants to remember him and a nephew who thinks his uncle's sacrifice is the height of honor. Sam's hatred of those who besmirch American values is enough to bring him back to life, and now his hometown of Twin Falls is about to pay a heavy price when this soldier awakens to settle some scores. During the course of Harper's bloody rampage, his nephew Jody learns that a love of death is a poor substitute for love of one's country. Everything reaches a head at the July 4th celebration when bodies start to fall like rain. This is the fundamental plot of William Lustig's bloody 1997 horror film "Uncle Sam." Starring a cast of notables including Bo Hopkins, Isaac Hayes, Robert Forster, and Timothy Bottoms, Lustig's homage to misguided patriotism delivers on several levels while failing on several more.
One thing that works here is the gore, with a nasty looking broken leg, an impalement with an American flag, TWO guys on fire, a beheading, and a hatchet in the head. I also liked the look of Sam Harper as a desiccated zombie who dispatches anyone he considers unpatriotic. Although we don't see Harper for most of the movie because he's dressed in a cheesy Uncle Sam outfit, look for the scene where a dead Harper pins medals on his bare chest. The sound effects in this scene and when Sam walks are unsettling, as he squelches and crackles with every step. I think most gorehounds will like a lot of what they see in terms of special effects in this movie. Throw in Isaac Hayes as a one-legged aging war veteran who feels guilty about glorifying war, Timothy Bottoms as a draft-dodging teacher, and Bo Hopkins as a sleazy Army sergeant and you have B movie gold.
Unfortunately, "Uncle Sam" founders with laughable dialogue and plot holes you could sail the British Navy through. I should vacillate here and mention that a pathetic and fragmented script may go either way. If you don't like to laugh at movies unless they are comedies, then the failings of Lustig's film will bother you. However, if you are like me and occasionally find cheesy dialogue funny, "Uncle Sam" may fit the bill. I laughed repeatedly as this movie lurched and shuddered to its conclusion. Allow me to make a few comments on some of the more implausible scenes and interactions in this movie. I will only mention a few, but anyone with a sharp eye could easily list more:
How does Sam Harper get out of his casket? I understand that Jody undid one of the latches the first time he messed with it, but later we see two latches when Jody and Jed Crawley check to see if Harper is still in his coffin. Besides, Sergeant Twining told us in the beginning of the film that the coffin is 'sealed.' Doesn't this mean there are more than a couple of easily turned latches keeping the casket closed?
I have never, ever, witnessed a gunnysack race where the sacks cover the entire person's body. As if that is not enough, the racecourse goes through the woods where roots, huge fallen logs, and steep hills challenge the contestants. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't think of jumping through a forest in a gunnysack, let alone allow my kids to do so. But they are doing it here, and you can hear people grunting and yelling in pain when they fall down. This scene is so ridiculous you cannot help but laugh at it.
What's up with Barry? Is he Strangelove's kid? Barry appears late in the film; a blind, wheelchair bound youth permanently scarred in a fireworks accident the previous year. Apparently, Barry is psychic, as he always knows what's going to happen with Sam Harper before anyone else does. Not only that, but Crawley and Jody haul him along when they return to the house where Harper's casket lies. Why take a kid in a wheelchair into a potentially life threatening situation? Incredibly, they always leave Barry sitting outside alone when they run around the house or go to fetch a weapon to use against Sam. Barry's in a wheelchair, for goodness sake! How will he defend himself if confronted by Uncle Sam? The capper occurs when Crawley positions himself outside the house with a cannon (!) waiting for Jody to lure Sam outside. Crawley growls "I can't fire with that kid in the way," and Barry replies, "Go ahead and fire. He'll get out of the way!" WHAT? How do you know that, Barry? Oh, I forgot. He's psychic. Barry may well be one of the creepiest characters in film history.
I could go on forever with the bloopers and blunders in nearly every scene of this movie. I'm being a little harsh, but overall I really liked "Uncle Sam." I can't help it; this movie is just too funny to hate. I watched the "Special Edition" widescreen DVD version, which includes a trailer and a commentary with Isaac Hayes and William Lustig. I listened to a good portion of this commentary, and Bill Lustig is almost childlike with joy over "Uncle Sam." His enthusiasm for filmmaking is infectious. Give "Uncle Sam" a chance; it's great, cheesy fun.
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on July 5, 2003
The only reason i gave this movie 1 star because,it was funny as hell.The special F/X was one of the reasons it was funny,like the part where you can see the string when uncle sam gets blown away.Another was the horrible acting.And the funniest part is the bagrace.
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on September 13, 2001
I'm trying to figure out what this person who claims to be a Concerned Mother from Little Rock, Arkansas is talking about. They have obviously never seen this movie since none of those events that they report actually happend in this movie. These forums are not for playing around and posting crap like that. Amazon needs to ban your account and erase that post. You are sick and obviously need professional psychological help.
Uncle Sam isn't a great horror movie. THe pacing is a bit too slow and there are way too many missed opportunities to elevate it to the status of quasi-parody. It is worth watching for a good laugh. If you are into MST3K, this is a perfect movie to collect your friends together and riff the heck out of. The commentary track is very nice.
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