Monday, February 6, 2012

Igor and the Lunatics (USA, 1985)

Yet another Troma non-masterpiece, an independent production picked up for a dime and marketed to suckers like us – this turkey actually makes Frostbiter (1995) seem like masterpiece, if not at least a successful comedy. Without a doubt, the best thing to be said about Igor and the Lunatics is that the director W. J. Parolini doesn't seem to have had another movie released since this one – though he does seem to have made a "forgotten" direct-to-video "comedy" entitled Finding Candy in 2003 (trailer). Pray it remains forgotten.
The version of Igor and the Lunatics that we had the displeasure of seeing was labeled "Director's Cut," but it seems less cut by a director – or real person, for that matter – than a blender. A message to Parolini and his co-"scriptwriter" Jocelyn Beard: there is a word, a concept, that you really should learn before you ever attempt to make another film, and it's called "continuity." To quote the great philosophical tomb called Webster's, it means "uninterrupted connection, succession, or union." Igor and the Lunatics doesn't have any of that; half the time, it is close to impossible to know for sure whether the events are happening in the past or the present or are perhaps even a flashback or flashback within a flashback; indeed, we would hazard to guess that the film flips between all timeframes within any given five minutes. How bad is the continuity? It makes the acting seem professional by comparison – and that is saying a lot.
A shame that the Igor and the Lunatics sucks in such an unfunny way, for at least in regard to its basic plot it held promise to possibly be either a nasty or at least entertaining exploitation film; instead, it is simply an embodiment of a lost opportunity. The title itself is so cool that it is really no wonder that it was later appropriated by a music group; regrettably, the title is also the best thing about the film. Of course, it is also slightly misleading: "Igor" is much more one of the lunatics than anything else, as the true leader of the pack is a dude named "Paul" – "Paul and the Lunatics," however, is hardly as catchy as "Igor and the Lunatics."
The basic plot is cool: a wacky cult alpha-male leader named Paul (T.J. Glenn, an occasional regular bit-part actor in z-films such as The Bog Creatures [2003 / trailer] or Satan's Schoolgirls [2004 / trailer]) with a god-complex and bad wig drags all his followers out to the country where he preaches free sex. He and his closest disciples kill anyone who tries to leave the cult. Stick-in-the-mud Tom (Joseph Eero) manages to leave alive, but in doing so he must leave his brainwashed squeeze Colette (Brian Dennehy's healthy-lunged daughter Kathleen Dennehy) and child behind. (Somewhere along the way, once she's become a hooker pimped out by Paul, she and Tom meet again; Paul kills her for that.) But the hick police of the town get tir'd of them thar hippies, raid the commune and Paul goes to jail for 16 years (or so it says on the DVD cover). Hooking up with his ex-disciples after serving his time – including the eponymous Igor (Joe Niola – a terrible actor amongst terrible actors) – they go back to town to get revenge by killing the townsfolk. So they kill a minority woman (boob scene), a bad artist (no-boob seen), a kid and a few others and then Tom shows up to hook up with some survivalist in the woods named Hawk (Peter Dain, who also is seen alongside the bad artist [Joan Ellen Delaney] in the legendary bad flick Spookies [1986 / trailer]) who has raised Tom's son after finding him in the woods as a baby 16 years earlier and a redhead with deadly hair named Mary Ann Merson (Mary Ann Schacht) and... and... and... who the hell knows.
On Amazon, someone who obviously works for Troma gives the film a glowing description – "Turns the silver screen blood red! One of the most bloody films in Troma Team Video’s repertoire. Igor is a classic of 80s exploitation with a gory horror tale to tell about a cult leader and his deranged, sex-mad, followers who terrorized the countryside with a string of grisly murders until their capture. [...] Shot over a period of several years, featuring bucketloads of blood and grue, Igor and the Lunatics is potent, controversial and gorier than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Well, the only statement of truth in the description is "Shot over a period of several years". What they fail to say is that Igor and the Lunatics is such a hell of a boring movie that it also feels as if it also takes a period of several years to end.
Oh, and if for whatever reason you happen to miss the first five minutes of the flick – perhaps the best death scene of the film, featuring a lot of un-erotic boobage and a circular saw between the legs – no problem: it literally gets re-shown in full, shot-by-shot again later in the film.

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