Luther the Geek: Director's Cut (Stomp Visual) (1990) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Introduction-Lloyd Kaufman (President Of Troma)
Outtakes-With Director's Commentary
Interviews-Crew-Carlton J. Albright (Director)
Teaser Trailer-The Children
Featurette-Troma's Freak Show
Featurette-Tromatic Extras - Trailers, PSA's
|Year Of Production||1990|
|Running Time||85:29 (Case: 80)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Carlton J. Albright|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
“Luther is the story of a different kind of geek!”
Following a solemn voice-over narration explaining that a geek was an alcoholic so down on their luck they bit the heads off chickens in circus sideshows to earn booze, we’re introduced to a young Luther witnessing one such atrocious act.
As the local townsmen goad the pathetic creature into doing the deed, Luther is jostled during the testosterone-charged atmosphere and has his top and bottom front teeth knocked out. Enjoying the taste of his own blood, Luther then puts his hand inside the Geek’s cage and savours some of the chicken blood that spattered on the dirty cage floor.
Cut to…a mental institution where Luther (Edward Terry), after being incarcerated for years following a number of heinous crimes, is deemed sane and released – even though he has no way to communicate other than being able to cluck like a chicken and crow like a rooster! Regardless, the clueless psychiatric authorities send the egg lover on his way into an uncaring, Kentucky-fried world.
When the impoverished Luther tries to befriend an old lady (actually a young Gail Buxton in bad make-up) waiting at a bus stop by offering her an egg as a token of his esteem, she accidentally drops it. Enraged, Luther lunges at her, rips out her throat with his metal teeth and disappears into suburbia to satisfy his cravings.
Separate out all the elements – a dubious flashback opening sequence, exploitative nudity, incredibly stupid characters, sloppy acting, chunky unconvincing special effects, and a chicken clucking lead – and Luther the Geek should be, pardon the pun, an absolute turkey. Yet the film manages to rise above the absurdity of its plot devices and is a highly entertaining slice of urban horror.
Perhaps it’s the demented manner in which Edward Terry as Luther portrays his Bad Boy Bubby-esque character. Or maybe it’s the way the film’s narrative shifts from suburban Illinois to a more intimate rural setting. Suddenly, the film evolves into a stalk ‘n’ slash affair that culminates in a bizarre show-down in a farmhouse equipped with an enormous maze-like chicken coop.
The 1.33:1 full-screen transfer is about average for a Troma release – which isn’t saying much.
Sharpness and shadow detail clarity is weakened by the lo-fi grain and the general soft, fuzzy look of the print. This is especially noticeable during night-time sequences (6:48, 47:02, 48:15 for example). However, black levels and contrast are deep and stable, without being compromised by low level noise.
An irritating ghosting effect is an issue throughout, indicating the DVD was directly ported from a VHS master without any digital restoration (regardless of what shyster Lloyd Kaufman says in his introduction). Three notable instances include the text during the opening and closing credits, jackets on the characters sitting around a table (14:08) and at 16:50 where the “bus loading zone” sign is almost completely out of focus. There are numerous other examples.
Aliasing is evident to certain degrees. Finely detailed objects such as fences, trees and patterned cupboards and walls flicker away, threatening to break up into pixellated messes.
Colours tend to look vibrant to the point of over-saturation in some scenes, while in others they appear dull and lifeless.
The print is quite clean, with only mild instances of dirt, white flecks and hair lines cropping up occasionally.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix is adequate, but poorly recorded. The creepy mood music to indicate the presence of Luther, some frantically paced synthesiser droppings and a few incidental “shock” orchestrations add the right dose of atmosphere to enhance the dramatic or horrific visuals.
Dialogue is generally clear and easily understood, but often sounded tinny and jarring. Even Luther’s clucking and crowing sounds like it was recorded in a tin shack.
Being a two-channel mono mix the surrounds and subwoofer are silent.
Kaufman assures us this is the lovingly created, digitally remastered Director’s Cut of the film. Well, it may be the Director’s cut, but there has been no effort to digitally restore it. He then introduces a number of ‘freaky’ Troma staff: Rob, the self-fellator; Edward the copraphage webmaster and…well you get the picture.
A mildly exasperated Albright explains in frank detail the problems shooting the following sequences:
• The old woman getting attacked by Luther (2:37)
• Luther getting shot (1:11)
• Fight between Luther and the police officer (8:49)
• The shower scene (7:30)
The informative Albright talks about the genesis of the film, construction of Luther’s metal teeth, Edward Terry’s (Luther) drinking problem, and how he thinks the movie holds up today.
As the Director’s son, the now adult William Albright briefly talks about his experience as being a 10-year-old on the set in his dad’s movie.
The Children (0:55) There is something wrong with the children of Ravensback…
This rather beaten and murky teaser is for Albright’s only foray into writing a script. The film is about a group of irradiated kids who fry their parents and adults with their touch.
In what could have been a series of fascinating featurettes, Lloyd Kaufman’s antics, of course, reduce them to a juvenile farce:
• Tim the Torture King (1:41) Tim inserts wires through his skin in this wince-inducing segment.
• The Sword Swallower (0:52) A real-life sword swallower shows us his talent.
• The Archery Freak (1:47) With his death-defying, gorgeous Asian assistant, the Archery Freak shows us his accuracy.
• The Man who walks on Blades (1:11) The Man lies on a bed of nails and walks up a series of steps of razor blades. This is interrupted by Kaufman insisting that we would be more interested in “some hot lesbo action”, where inserted footage of two women having sex is played instead.
The usual guff from Troma using children dressed in tights to warn us of the dangers of pollution.
An incredibly shameless marketing piece for Kaufman’s book.
Another shameless marketing piece using women’s breasts to urge you to shop online at www.troma.com
My God…I certainly wasn’t expecting this. The following segments show sickening, supposedly real-life slaughterhouse and animal cruelty footage from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) files:
• Meet Your Meat (12:43)
• Chew on This (3:42)
• Free Me (2:34)
The inclusion of this horrendous footage on a Troma disc has about as much credibility as a Paris Hilton seminar on poverty.
A list of credits for the DVD authoring of Luther the Geek.
Due to censorship reasons the following trailers are listed as bonus features, but cannot be played: Citizen Toxie, Tales from the Crapper, Bloodsucking Freaks.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 edition contains the Troma Trailers plus a Tribute to Rue Morgue magazine music video: Freak of the Week by DJ Polo, which technically makes it the version of choice.
However, I’m unclear about the legal status of the Troma Trailers and why they are still not being included in Stomp releases. So, to avoid the risk and embarrassment of having the Region 1 seized by customs, the Region 4 is the winner by default.
Luther the Geek is a wonderfully sick, engaging B-movie experience, reminiscent of Basket Case (1982) and John Hough’s American Gothic (1988).
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|