(In a squeaky rasp), “I’m just gonna change your voice a little.”

This isn’t a qualitatively ‘great’ film – it has too much dead air, not enough coverage, and faulty sound mixing – but it has Samuel Fuller’s wild bastard spirit all over it, so even in its faults I have found something powerful and wonderful despite itself.

What is essentially a standard, grungy VHS revenge tale is told so strangely, with so many off beats, weird tangents, and startling grace notes that I found it immensely moving. It feels like a ghost’s exploitation movie bashed up sideways by Fuller’s irrepressible spirit. This is clearly a last film – but it’s a last gasp of wild manic genius.

Keith Carradine stars as a Neil Diamon-esque rock star who falls for the wrong girl and has his throat slashed by the mob. Now an alcoholic bum with a squeaky rasp, all he wants is some booze – and maybe his girl, too.

This is a film that opens with a dude getting hit in the face with a hammer during a race riot – a riot that is eventually revealed to have been incited in the service of a real estate scam. This is a film that explains two characters’ histories with a jarring cut to a woman riding a horse wearing only a thong. This is a film with a grenade vs knife battle on a deserted ship. A film where a climactic shootout ends with a shot to the crotch. Where every set fills empty, save for the sleaze. Where a camera whips around a room to catch glimpses of nudity, again and again. Where Keith Carradine has a fucking earring.

But this is also a film carried by real and beautiful emotion. One that can end with two characters, reunited after hell, simply walking down the street together – and that moment can feel like the most beautiful thing in the world.

Samuel Fuller, you great old lunatic, you’re my goddamn hero.

“How long have you been a homicidal bum?”


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