Luther The Geek (1990)
By: Devon B. on April 23, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 85 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Whitey Styles (Carlton J. Albright)
Starring: Edward Terry, Joan Roth, Stacy Haiduk, Thomas Mills
Screenplay: Carlton J. Albright
Country: USA
The DVD sleeve claims that Luther is a 'splatter flick in the tradition of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Toxic Avenger .' Given that TCM is not a splatter flick however, I didn't know what to expect.

The film is prefaced with an intro by Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of The Toxic Avenger. This is actually one of Lloyd's funniest intros, but it goes on too long and gets silly (surprise!).

Luther proper opens in 30s Illinois, where li'l Luther witnesses a geek act. Poor Luther also gets shoved over by some rude people in the audience, which knocks out several of his teeth. The film cuts to present day, and Luther is in an asylum filing metal dentures that replace his missing teeth. Despite previous heinous crimes involving ripping throats out, he is paroled. Luther takes about four seconds to start acting up in a supermarket, and begins doing his best impression of Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. Not satisfied with merely being kicked out of a supermarket, Luther then assaults an 'old' lady. Luther makes his way to a farmhouse inhabited by a widow who's being visited by her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. Since the movie is in the tradition of TCM, I guess I'll sum up the rest of the plot with a familiar catchphrase: Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Parts of Luther reminded me of Lucker the Necrophagous, but thankfully Luther never succumbs to being a dull mess like Lucker. For a low budget film, the cast is remarkably diverse, with people of varied ages and appearance, and some of the performances aren't bad either. The film bogs down near the middle and then loses momentum, but for a no budget wonder, it's pretty engaging. Luther is particularly of note for the most ridiculous excuse for a gratuitous shower scene ever, but you won't hear me complaining about that.

I wouldn't call the film horrifying, though. Perhaps inspired by The New York Ripper's The Duck, Luther bawks like a chicken. While the movie is otherwise played straight, aside from the possibly tongue-in-cheek reason for a shower, I find the clucking killer too silly to take seriously, no matter how grisly the goings on may get. This is exactly what happened in The New York Ripper as well, so hopefully future filmmakers who want to be taken entirely seriously will avoid the poultry and fowl connections. While the FX in Luther aren't as vicious as.oh, to pick a film at random.The New York Ripper, what's on display is not bad at all, although real chicken corpses were used in places.
Video
Luther The Geek is presented full frame. The movie is slightly above VHS quality, but I don't think Troma had much to work with. The print's a bit murky, light levels can fluctuate, grain is present, the print is overly dark at times, and the film suffers scratches and specks.
Audio
The audio is presented in a 2 channel English track. The mix is clear, but there is some distortion on 's' noises. Once I'd noted that for review, it was never bad enough for me to take notice of again. The dialogue remains understandable throughout, unless it's chicken speak, which hopefully no viewer will claim is intelligible.
Extra Features
The extras begin with outtakes given intros and commentary by director Carlton J. Albright. The outtakes are letterboxed, and reveal the original title of the film was The Freak. Albright provides anecdotes about shooting, like the gore editing and shooting fiasco. Most importantly, the outtakes feature additional shower footage nudity! This is a great idea, which first came to my attention on Nikos The Impaler. I think all good DVDs should have this extended shower scene bonus feature, and if a movie didn't have a shower scene to extend, the DVD probably isn't worth owning anyway.

There's also a five minute interview with Albright; a 2 ½ minute interview with his son, who played little Luther; a teaser for Albright's The Children; and Troma's Freak Show from Troma's Edge TV. The freak show features geek tricks like those that Harry Anderson of Night Court fame is fond of, and some archery, which I guess makes one a freak as well?

The Troma trailers were still RC at the time of this release, though that appears to finally have been corrected by the time of Citizen Toxie, so hopefully future DVDs will have all special features intact.

General Troma extras include the Radiation March short…which I've certainly had enough of. There're also the usual ads for Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger's book; the Troma website; and some ads from PETA. These later ads are why the DVD gets the animal slaughter warning.

My disc also came with a Stomp booklet which has a brief, sarcastic, interview with Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger.
The Verdict
While Luther's cat and mouse antics wear thin, the movie does benefit from playing things straight. It provides silly splatter fun for those interested, and fits in nicely with Troma's off-kilter approach to the film industry.
Movie Score
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