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Friday, May 25, 2018

Uninvited (1988)




Director Greydon Clark is one of my favorites. I recently watched Wacko for the first time and that got me in the mood to check out some of his other movies. I used to rent Uninvited all the time back in the old days of VHS and the video store. It was one of my favorite tapes to rent, so much so that when I met Clark at a convention a couple years ago I bought a counter display for the movie and had him autograph it! I really do have fond memories of the movie, but does it hold up after all these years?

We have an unusual setup with this one. You have a group of older guys that have gotten some money by less than legal means. They are about to hop on a yacht and sail off to a bank to grab their loot before the authorities catch up to them. Along the way they pick up a couple college girls who are on spring break, mostly for some fun but also as cover. Inadvertently they also end up with some college guys who the girls bring along because they are a bit creeped out by the “old” guys. But the yacht needs a crew so it all works out. Toss in a lady ship captain and our characters are set… well almost.

Earlier in the movie we get to see a cat escape from an experimental lab. This cat carries a very potent poison in its system, as well as the ability to “monster” out when annoyed. Of course, the cat is brought onto the yacht and when things go sideways gets mad and starts killing everyone. How dangerous can a cat be? Well this one will kill you with a scratch! Stupid stuff is done, the boat breaks down, and eventually a lot of people die. About what you would expect from a creature feature.

For me the highlights of Uninvited has to be the cast and the creature. Our dishonest businessmen are played by Alex Cord, George Kennedy, and Clu Gulager. That is a hell of a lot of talent right there! Two of the three (Kennedy and Gulager) are legends of the genre and Cord did a ton of television shows. Director Clark always had a knack for casting solid actors in his movies knowing that a good cast can make all the difference. Watching these guys play off each other in their scenes together is a real joy, though sadly it is clear that they didn’t have them for very many days as both Gulager and Kennedy’s characters are killed off early in the proceedings. Still something is better than nothing.

I've always said cats are EVIL!
The creature design is stellar for the low budget that they had. The cat puppet is decent and has just enough cheese to make it funny while still effective. I’d much rather have a latex puppet then CGI in my monster flick. Here that is exactly what we get. I also liked the wounds that it inflicts on its victims. The pulsing veins is a simple effect but is put to great use in Uninvited.

My only complaint with the movie is the pacing. It starts off fun but after killing off Kennedy’s and Gulager’s characters things slow down. Most of the second half of the movie is them floating in the ocean waiting for the cat to show up. This means we spend a lot of time with the characters and honestly most of the younger cast just isn’t that interesting. It would have been a much better flick had we still had Kennedy and Gulager on screen. This is further reinforced when another genre vet, Austin Stoker, shows up in a glorified cameo at the end. I’d much rather have watched his character.

Maybe it is nostalgia or perhaps the presence of so many great actors, but I still like Uninvited. It has some flaws but there is a killer cat! How can I not like that? If you manage your expectations I think that a good time can be had with the Uninvited. Consider it a recommendation with that caveat.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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