Retro Review Holiday Edition: Uncle Sam

"I want you... DEAD."

Uncle Sam (1996)
Directed by William Lustig
Written by Larry Cohen
Available on Amazon Instant

Sack race decapitations? Deadly fireworks? One-legged Isaac Hayes? This Fourth of July, do yourself a favor and celebrate America’s independence with this gore-soaked camp classic.

Uncle Sam is legendary William Lustig’s (Maniac and Maniac Cop series) bloody tale of feared Master Sargent Sam Harper, who after being shot down in Kuwait and delivered back to his hometown of Twin Rivers, returns to life on July 4th to wreak havoc on all but the most patriotic of citizens.

During Sam’s time overseas, his wife Louise has been trying to put her life with her domineering and abusive husband behind her. She moves in with Sam’s estranged sister Sally and nephew Jody. Jody is captivated by Sam’s wartime acts of bravery and never misses an opportunity to discuss how proud he is of his “Uncle Sam.” However, all that changes during the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration when a killer begins stalking anyone who isn’t on the straight and narrow. Recreational pot users, disrespectful teenagers, and a crooked congressman (Robert Forester in a short, but hilarious role) are all targets of Sam Harper’s undead vengeance. Also in a supporting role is the one and only Isaac Hayes, turning in a (probably) unintentional laugh-riot of a performance.

Larry Cohen’s (Maniac Cop series, It’s Alive series) script is a smorgasbord of campy violence, ridiculous set pieces, and eye-rolling one-liners delivered by the titular Uncle Sam. But hey, what did you expect? And furthermore, would you want it any other way? Uncle Sam takes a little bit to get going, but once the blood starts squirting, there’s no doubt in my mind that slasher fans will be enjoying themselves.

So after the barbecue and fireworks, what better way to wind down our country’s birthday than by watching a guy in a stars and stripes top hat string a loud-mouthed teenager up a flagpole? Just make sure you watch where you throw your empties this year. And let’s keep the flag-burning to a minimum because you don’t want to wind up with a couple of Roman candles jutting out of your chest.

Unfortunately Uncle Sam isn’t available on Netflix Instant, but you can rent it here from Amazon Instant for the low price of $1.99.

3 Knives

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