Uncle Sam (1996)

You don’t actually need to see William Lustig and Larry Cohen’s names in the credits to know this movie belongs to both of them from beginning to end. Their shared enthusiasm for disreputable cinema – the kind of schlocky, made-for-grindhouse semi-serious horror movies that positively glow from the sweat and tears that went into making it – is all over the screen here. In particular, “Uncle Sam” is reminiscent of director Lustig’s own “Maniac Cop” franchise, in that it features a lumbering zombie killer with vicious methods and a wickedly sinister sense of humor, so much so that with only a few minor changes here and there it may as well be part of the series. Additionally, there are a few surreal moments here and there that recall the feverish, compelling insanity of the “Sleepaway Camp” movies by way of hyper-stylized, dream-like ’80s Italian horror, with a healthy dollop of sardonic, gallows humor, all of which is onscreen with Lustig’s signature do-it-yourself aesthetic. It’s definitely not the type of horror entry that casual viewers will enjoy, but there’s plenty for its core audience to sink its teeth into.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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