Uncle Sam (film)
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|Directed by||William Lustig|
|Written by||Larry Cohen|
|Produced by||George G. Braunstein|
|Cinematography||James A. Lebovitz|
|Edited by||Bob Murawski|
|Music by||Mark Governor|
|Distributed by||Solomon International Pictures|
Uncle Sam is a 1996 American black comedy slasher film directed by William Lustig, written by Larry Cohen, and starring Isaac Hayes.
In Kuwait, a military unit uncovers an American helicopter that was downed by friendly fire. As the wreckage is inspected, Master Sergeant Sam Harper, one of the burnt bodies within, springs to life and kills a sergeant and a major. He finally dies after muttering, "Don't be afraid, it's only friendly fire!"
Sam's body is eventually delivered to his hometown of Twin Rivers, which is preparing for Independence Day. Sam's wife Louise is given custody of the casket containing Sam's remains, which are left in the home of Sam's estranged sister Sally, who lives with her patriotic young son, Jody. Sam reanimates as a revenant in the early hours of the Fourth of July, and proceeds to kill and steal the costume of a perverted Uncle Sam. Sam then makes his way to a cemetery, where he murders two of three juvenile delinquents who had vandalized tombstones, and desecrated an American flag.
During the Independence Day celebration, in which corrupt congressman Alvin Cummings is visiting, Sam beheads the third delinquent, kills Jody's teacher (who opposed the Vietnam War) with a hatchet, and shoots Sally's unscrupulous lawyer boyfriend Ralph in the head. Despite these deaths, the festivities continue, but are thrown into disarray when Sam uses the fireworks gear to blow up congressman Cummings, and impales Louise’s deputy boyfriend Phil with an American Flag. As this occurs, Jody is told by his mother and aunt that Sam, his ostensibly heroic idol, was in fact an alcoholic psychopath who physically and sexually abused them, and only joined the military so he could get a "free pass" to kill people.
Jody is told by Barry, a blind boy who has established a mental link with Sam, that the undead Sam is responsible for the deaths. With help from Sam's old mentor Jed, the boys go to Jody's house, where they find the lecherous sergeant Twinning, who dropped Sam off, dead and stuffed inside Sam's coffin. Realizing that Sam will probably go after Louise, the boys and Jed go to her home, where Sam confronts and blames Jed, who told him tales of how glorious combat was, for his current state. Jed retorts by yelling that Sam only killed for the sake of killing rather than for his country.
Jed's gun proves ineffective against Sam, so he and Louise go to get Jed's cannon while Jody, who Sam claims is the reason he came back, keeps Sam occupied. Jody lures Sam outside, and Jed blasts him with the cannon, destroying him and Louise's house in flames. The next day, Sally watches as Jody burns all of his war-themed toys after learning the truth about Sam.
- David Fralick as Master Sergeant Sam Harper
- Christopher Ogden as Jody Baker
- Leslie Neale as Sally Baker
- Bo Hopkins as Sergeant Twining
- Matthew Flint as Deputy Phil Burke
- Anne Tremko as Louise Harper
- Isaac Hayes as Sergeant Jed Crowley
- William Smith as Major
- Timothy Bottoms as Donald Crandall
- Tim Grimm as Ralph
- P.J. Soles as Madge Cronin
- Tom McFadden as Mac Cronin
- Zachary McLemore as Barry Cronin
- Morgan Paull as The Mayor
- Richard Cummings Jr. as Dan
- Robert Forster as Congressman Alvin Cummings
- Frank Pesce as Barker
- Jason Adelman as Jesse Colbert
- Laura Alcalde as Park Mother
- Raquel Alessi as Girl Student
- Taylor Jones as Boy Student
- Abby Ball as Rick
- Stanton Barrett as Clete
- Mark Chadwick as Willie On Stilts
- Chris Durand as Sergeant
- Desirae Klein as Barbeque Girl
- Jason Lustig as The Undertaker
- Joseph Vitare as Kuwaiti Captain
Dread Central called Uncle Sam a "way underrated slasher flick," that "does a fine job of bringing the pain while we celebrate our independence," even though it "kind of plods along" and "none of it really makes too much sense."
A review by DVD Verdict described the film as "a sluggish, shoddily produced horror/comedy," that was "a by-the-numbers turd that sports embarrassing child actors, C-level stars slumming for a paycheck (oh P.J. Soles, how far you've tumbled...) and a level of suspense that rivals clipping your toenails in a well lit room." Uncle Sam was also derided by The A.V. Club, whose reviewer wrote "Incoherent as social satire and perfunctory and routine as a horror film, Uncle Sam is every bit as lazy and uninspired as the Maniac Cop films that preceded it."
- ^ Creepy, Uncle (17 June 2010). "Uncle Sam (Blu-ray)". dreadcentral.com. Dread Central. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- ^ Naugle, Patrick (18 June 2010). "Uncle Sam (Blu-Ray)". dvdverdict.com. DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- ^ Rabin, Nathan (29 March 2002). "Uncle Sam". avclub.com. The A.V. Club. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- 1996 films
- 1996 horror films
- 1996 direct-to-video films
- American black comedy films
- American comedy horror films
- American independent films
- American slasher films
- Anti-war films
- Direct-to-video horror films
- Films about domestic violence
- Films directed by William Lustig
- Films set in New Jersey
- Films set in Kuwait
- Films shot in California
- Gulf War films
- Incest in film
- Independence Day (United States) films
- American supernatural horror films
- Holiday horror films
- 1990s political films
- 1990s war films
- Films with screenplays by Larry Cohen
- 1990s English-language films
- 1990s American films