If looking for a strange B film, look no further than Grotesque released in 1988, a movie packed with a bit of horror, a lot of thrills and more cheese than one can shake a stick at. It starts as one thing and continually transforms itself as it moves along and all the while continually keeping viewers glued to their seats through its sheer abnormality.
Guy Stockwell starts things off, playing a special effects guru, specifically good at masks and makeup and it finds him headed home after finishing his latest film. It then cuts to Linda Blair and her friend as played by Donna Wilkes heading back to her parent’s place when they run into some punks whose car has broken down and who just so happen to be heading to the same place to commit a robbery. These worlds collide in the worst way possible as Stockwell’s character (Blair’s father) is murdered by the no-goodniks as is Wilkes, Blair and her mother and it is then that the physically deformed and mentally retarded brother of Blair makes an appearance as the ‘monster’ of the film, who then begins to kill off all of the home invaders. By the time it is all said and done, the ‘creature’ is killed and the police are on the scene with two survivors when Uncle Rod shows up and knows that there is more to the story than what is being told. All of this leads to Rod taking out his revenge on those responsible in the best way possible.
One could call this a home invasion feature, a monster movie or a revenge thriller and all of them would be a suitable description for what takes place. Director Joe Tornatore might be all over the place with this picture but that is exactly what makes it as good as it is, the fact that it is not just one kind of movie but many. It keeps it all fresh and moving fairly quickly and one never gets bored of it as it will keep the audience guessing as to where it is headed next. That being said, it is still a little cheesy and silly at times, especially when it comes to the ‘monsters’ of the film, there being actually more than one and the ending is perhaps the most ridiculous thing about it all, having nothing to do with the original story whatsoever.
Though the cast is a good one, it is Tab Hunter who puts in the best performance as the grieving Uncle Rod, a man who looks to claim his revenge and when it looks as if the real culprits are going to get off scot-free and things are finally out in the open, Rod has a couple of surprises for those who watch this making the payoff worth the wait.
Grotesque is a crazy film, one that should not work at all and yet surprisingly does. There are no real scares to keep one on the edge of their seat but it is thoroughly absorbing and truly delightful.
3 out of 5