JULY 27, 2011
On the other side of the Mutant disc was Uninvited, a film of equally generic titling. That’s what’s great about big hit movies. If you tell someone you’re watching Pulp Fiction or whatever, the answer isn’t “Which one?”. But tell someone you’re watching Uninvited, and you’re met with “Oh, the one with Elizabeth Banks?” “The 1940s one?” “A film version of the Alanis Morissette song?” (OK, no one probably says that). To be fair, this one drops the “The” from the title, but come on, that barely helps. “The” isn’t even really a word.
THIS Uninvited is the one with Clu Gulager and a mutant cat, which instantly makes it more memorable than the 40 or so others. It’s also possibly the most coked out movie ever made, as the movie starts in a lab (where the mutant cat is “born”) but races through the whys and hows in order to get to where the producers and Without Warning writer/director Greydon Clark clearly wanted to be – a party yacht! What could exemplify 80s yuppies better than a yacht decked out with plenty of floor space for aerobics exercises, endless champagne, and guys in pink shirts? Oh and embezzlers, for that added Trump-ed up 1988 flavor.
Plus the villain could only be dreamed up by two wholly lit assholes sitting around one of their Beverly Hills mansions, talking over each other in a brainstorming session in which every idea is considered a great one. Granted, cats are often presented as villains or at least omens of death in movies, but few grow to mutant size and/or have smaller mutant cats coming out of their host’s mouth. And whether Clark didn’t understand basic continuity or just didn’t care, I don’t know, but either way the cat keeps changing size throughout the movie, sometimes more than once in the same scene. It will be normal size, then at least twice the size of a normal cat, than just sort of bloated... the little “in mouth” mutant cat also comes and goes; every now and then it seems like the thing has long since passed the point where it could readily be identified as a feline, but then two scenes later it will be back to a standard, cute little orange fluffball.
Of course, this just makes the movie far more entertaining than it has any right to be. It’s actually pretty boring; there are long stretches where no one dies via mutant cat, and too much time spent with the mustached asshole human villain berating the other cast mates or talking about his plan with George Kennedy. Hell at one point it seems that the cat might get to sit back and just let everyone kill each other, since Kennedy attempts to murder one of the younger yuppies and Mr. Mustache tries to start the boat when the engines were already overheated, but Garfield finally springs back into action during the 3rd act and eventually helps sink the boat (or, technically, a toy model of it). But the laughably bad continuity makes these scenes more than make up for the movie’s slow parts; at one point it changes size three times in a single attack.
The ending is also a wonderfully ridiculous sequence, as our two nice heroes have managed to make it onto a lifeboat and are seemingly safe, but then the cat leaps from somewhere and claws at the hero’s face. He tosses it into the water and it does it again, at which point the heroine realizes he just wants to avoid drowning. So they decided to take the obligatory metal suitcase filled with one million dollars (equal to the fine a producer would endure if any late 80s movie neglected to include one as a plot element) and toss it off so the cat can float on that. It’s already amazing, but it gets better – first they dump the cash into a bag, thus sparing us the eye-rolling “hero tosses away the dirty money” scene for once (yes!), and then when they toss the case into the water, it turns out that they were right! The cat jumps onto the case and calmly sits, watching them as they float apart. It is honestly one of the most gloriously idiotic/awesome things I have ever seen.
It also helps make up for the movie’s cripplingly bad decision to kill Clu off first (save for a few random lab techs and such as the cat makes its way to the yacht). The great thing about Clu here is that he appears to be acting in a completely different and far more entertaining movie. First he awkwardly tries to hit on some girls at a restaurant, then he stabs a guy in a kiddie pool (and later complains about being freezing from the water), and finally he gets drunk and starts singing to himself while purposely steering the boat off course. Even his death scene is wonderful, as he drags it out to Paul Reubens in Buffy-esque length and finally topples overboard what seems like three minutes later. I could have used an entire movie of him singing and fighting a cat, but as we know, our world is just not a perfect one.
Kennedy lasts much longer, though isn’t nearly as memorable. He mostly just sits around and scowls, apparently saving all of his energy for Naked Gun that same year (“He has a 50/50 chance of living, but there’s only a 10% chance of that.”). Also he’s already been down this road before, having starred in Death Ship, a movie I remember renting but have no recollection of actually watching. Never got released on DVD, far as I know, so Uninvited has one up on it, even if it’s a pretty piss poor release. As with Mutant, it’s a full frame VHS transfer, and given the most obnoxious menus ever, as they replay the movie’s score on a very short loop over and over. I should note that the score for this movie is incredibly bad, and thus the fact that someone sat there and did the necessary authoring to have it play/loop on the main menu (and the chapter selection) just depresses me. Sometimes a static, basic menu is actually better, fellas.
What say you?