Joe’s Blog

Uninvited (1988)

October 28, 2011 3:13 am

Here, kitty...

Nothin's gonna stop me gettin' to the Caymans!

┬áThis contains spoilers. It’s a film about a mutant killer cat… so the spoilers won’t come as much of a surprise

Whilst many people turn their noses up at trash B-movie horror films, it has to be said they do perform a public service. They do a damn fine job of keeping past-it actors in work long after their time in the limelight has passed. Such luminaries as Joseph Cotten, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake and Glenn Ford all topped up their pensions by appearing in the absolute dregs of the genre.

Add to that list, George Kennedy. Oscar-winning Kennedy is one of the few people to have kicked Paul Newman’s arse six ways from Sunday on film in Cool Hand Luke; he successfully saved most of the passengers of FOUR stricken airliners filled with old timers, soap stars and Erik Estrada, as the only person to have appeared in every Airport movie; and was the best henchman a Bond villain never had in Charade.

In Uninvited he plays a henchman. I think. He could also be playing the mafia/muscle end of a ‘huge deal’ doing down in ‘the Caymans’. It’s a bit hard to tell, as Uninvited has a ridiculously bad script. It’s one of those films where things only happen to advance the (flimsy) plot, not because they make any sense.

The only thing you really need to know about Uninvited is that its about a killer cat. If that doesn’t get you excited then you shouldn’t read anymore to be honest.

In a ludicrously cheap prologue, we meet our hero. He’s played by a fluffy version of Garfield, and some nasty scientists are doing experiments on him. Not really sure what exactly, but it’s something to do with radiation. Garfield isn’t too keen and decides to mount the easiest escape in movie history.

Suddenly the lab is overrun with riot police all tracking the moggy down to an underground car park. Garfield really loses it now and decides to fight back, by unleashing his rage in the form of a mutant cat who emerges from his mouth !

Then its down to the plot. Two ‘hot’ blondes in awful late 80’s fashion are on the make somewhere, possibly Florida. They are trying to bluff their way into a posh restaurant when they are invited to join famous billionaire Walter Graham for dinner (they have no idea who he is, but everyone seems to; he’s been on the cover of Time magazine, so that might explain it).

About 30 seconds later, George Kennedy appears as Mike Harvey. he’s a little perturbed to find Walter wining and dining a couple of bimbos when they’ve got ‘business’ to discuss and apparently their boat needs to sail NOW. Ooh, intriguing.

Walter decides to bring the bimbos along as ‘the perfect cover’, but before they can get to the boat the bimbos pick up three random boys (two jocks and a science nerd) and bring them along too. Then on the way to the boat, who else should they pick up? I know, how about that mangy looking fat ginger cat with the ‘LAB CAT’ collar you just found wandering around the dock?

George/Mike is none too pleased about this, until someone mentions it’s good luck to have a cat on board a boat.

We then get some clumsy exposition about how the crew of the luxury yacht have all buggered off leaving just a ‘hot’ blonde captain and George’s own henchman, Albert (who’s introduced as a ruthless killer but then descends into drunk comedy relief).

This section of the film goes on for ages. It must have been a good 30-40 minutes of screen time introducing all this kitty litter fodder, and throwing in random references to ‘the deal’ and the ‘the business’. We never actually find out what ‘the deal’ is, but it involves getting to ‘the Caymans’ as soon as possible.

To alleviate the boredom before they get on the boat we get a throwaway scene of Garfield attacking a couple of rednecks in a pickup. It’s great, not only because you see the puppeteer’s hand thrusting mutant Garfield at the driver, but you also see the zip down the back of the puppet.

At sea, we get lots of POV shots of Garfield stalking the boat, lots of dodgy 80’s fashions (including a gratuitous aerobics scene) and lots of scenes of George looking bored/angry/tense. At one point he even tends bar for the kids. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor silently convey the thought of wanting to kill a bunch of teenagers so well. Or maybe he was thinking about killing the director. Either way, it’s a highlight.

Garfield’s attacks, when they finally arrive, are pretty shoddy to be honest, with the best reserved for George himself. Not only does he get a chunk taken out of his ankle (but still manages to walk to a chair), he then seems to develop some kind of fever, which leads to his stomach taken on the appearance of John Hurt in Alien, it starts to expand, and then…. oh. He’s dead. They cut to the remaining cat meat throwing him overboard. So why the elaborate stomach-expanding special effect?

I can only assume the resulting chest-bursting-cat scene didn’t quite match the excellent FX in the rest of the room, and was dropped.

The final third plods along with almost everyone getting mauled, and you’ll have no prizes for guessing who survives, although ultimately it’s pretty arbitrary. You won’t give a toss who gets killed because you won’t give a toss about anyone in the film. Except George Kennedy.

Killer cat movies are a dreadful idea. The only other one I can remember seeing is The Uncanny, a portmanteau movie with Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasance. there are others that I’m going to look out for, including Strays, which, with an imdb rating in the low 3’s, is surely a must-watch.

Unlike dogs, they don’t really have a fierce reputation and, for the most part, they are normally big enough to be dispatched with a swift boot up the arse (I do not condone the kicking of cats for pleasure, only if said cat contains a radioactive alter ego which emerges from his mouth), rendering them about as scary as a slice of toast.

Oddly, this kind of straight-to-video trash would normally be designed to ride on the coat tails of some big Hollywood hit. I can’t possibly think how the makers thought this was a good idea, who they thought the audience was, or how they persuaded George Kennedy to appear it. The only other remotely recognisable actor is Alex Cord as Walter, who played Jan Michael-Vincent’s boss in Airwolf.

If you’re drunk enough, Uninvited will produce a few giggles, but whenever Garfield isn’t on screen it grinds to such a juddering halt that you lose interest. Towards the end I was so bored I couldn’t tell you about the deaths of several characters because I was so disinterested.

Just watch the trailer, it really is all you need to see:

Uninvited (1988) Trailer

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