Directed by Greydon Clark
Expectations: Low. I don’t know anything about this except it has a killer mutated cat.
On the general scale:
On the B-Movie scale:
Well, I gotta give this movie credit. I’ve never seen a horror movie about an escaped lab cat that has a mutated version of itself living inside it that crawls out of its mouth to kill those that do it wrong. That’s about where the imagination ends in Uninvited, but with such a killer setup, it would be a shame if they wasted it. Thankfully they don’t, and the killer cat mutation stuff is fantastic, it’s just everything else surrounding it that’s kind of lame. As a low-budget horror film from the late 80s though, it should be expected that “the other stuff” is gonna be fairly sub-par.
Uninvited is yet another entry into the “stuck in a location being hunted down by an unseen killer” subgenre of horror that I mentioned in my Crash and Burn review yesterday. The subgenre is brilliant in its simplicity and absolute flexibility. It’s like Madlibs for the movies, where if you can think up a good location for the people to be stuck in, along with a creative type of killer, you’ve pretty much got yourself a winner. Films within the subgenre become instantly recognizable by these two traits alone, and simply by mentioning them you should be able to jog your friend’s memory to recall what film you’re talking about. Horror fans will forever remember Uninvited as “the one where the mutated cat kills people on a yacht.”
I could go into a lengthy summary of the plot, but it’s so secondary in this movie that it feels completely unnecessary at this point. Just know this. Besides the mutated cat and the yacht, there’s also a shitload of killer 80s clichés, all thrown together for your amusement. It’s like a claw game filled with all your favorites and you’re pulling something out with every grab. We’ve got the loose spring break girls in hot pink bikinis. We’ve got a group of guys out on the hunt for some girls, with the group composed of a well-dressed, blond-haired yuppie, a buff meathead and a sensitive nerdy guy that always gets left out and made fun of. Don’t forget the wealthy businessman, who’s cheating his company and on the run to the Cayman Islands, with the intention of buying a South American country and living like a dictator when he arrives there. There’s also his partner in crime (played by Oscar-winner George Kennedy!) who’s basically around to look mean and tell the wealthy businessman he doesn’t think this is a good idea. Not to be left out, there’s a hard-nosed girl who works for the wealthy businessman, not because she needs the money but because he screwed her father over and she won’t back down until she gets her yacht back. Oh, and don’t forget the Miami beach setting, with the 80s go-to marina location and a wealth of cheesy synth scoring. It’s like The Expendables of random 80s movie clichés… The Uninvited’s if you will.
But I digress. There’s only one reason to watch this movie, and that’s to see the mutated cat kill some of these people. Kill them he does, usually in fun, gory ways that really get you hooting and hollering. I haven’t laughed this loud at death scenes in a while. They aren’t everything they could be by any means, but damn, some of them are really enjoyable. Many times when the cat is about to kill someone, the filmmakers cut to a shot of the mutated cat puppet crawling its way out of the real cat’s mouth (which is also a puppet). Each and every time I laughed at it and ate it up. In some of the later shots, the real cat puppet’s eye get into the shot and kind of kills the illusion, but it is only a minor grievance in an otherwise convincing FX shot.
When the mutated cat actually extracts itself from its shell, it becomes incredibly devious and agile. It darts around the room, dodging quick hands and gunfire, sometimes jumping up from behind something to give a quick taunt. One especially great moment was when it got behind George Kennedy and then started gnawing on his ankle from underneath a chair. The ankle is a tender spot for everyone so it’s always a great place to go after for audience squirms. The cat decimates Kennedy’s ankle, leaving it nothing more than a ragged mound of bloody flesh. In addition to this, the cat is poisonous and every bite transmits its venom into the victim, causing their heart to beat much too fast and their skin to bubble and stretch.
Bottom line, this movie is a total piece of shit, but the fun off-the-wall nature of the setup and the FX makes it worthwhile for fans of horror from the era. I had the added bonus of the cat in the film looking almost exactly like my cat, so that elevated my viewing experience quite a bit as well. I can’t say that I recommend this completely, but if you decide to check it out, make sure you leave your brain on the pier as you cast off onto the high seas.