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Uninvited (1988)

If you’re at all familiar with the directing career of Greydon Clark then you should have a good handle on just what to expect in this thriller starring a trio of well known actors who have signed on for a payday and maybe a week or two of cruising the coastal waters of California.

The trio in question are Clu Gulager, Alex Cord and one time Oscar winner, George Kennedy. It’s a feline tale of terror that actually begins with director Clark in a cameo as a laboratory Doc using a cat in some sort of diabolical experiment. Sure enough the poor kitty escapes the needle and runs down a corridor or two followed by a set of stairs. Alarms sound and security guards in full radiation protective gear are on it’s tail.

Though we don’t get a look at the size of this kitty’s claws, they must be pterodactyl like because when the guards finally catch up to their prey, a healthy bucket or two of blood gets splattered on the stairwell walls. That doesn’t stop Clark from continuing the chase into an underground parking garage though the plot never identifies his not needing one of those high-tech radiation suits. But then there are a lot of finer plot points to be omitted over the next 91 minutes.

“Here kitty, kitty.”

I kid you not! That’s what the director who also served as the screenwriter has to say while looking for the poor little orange colored fellah. His gentle approach won’t be of any help either. Same result as the security guards. Might this kitty have a Jekyll/Hyde complex?

Time to cut and move on to more important things for the VHS rental crowd. Mainly some barely clothed girls looking for some fun in the sun while on their March break. For their parts, Clare Carey and Shari Shattuck are suitably cast as the gals in the skimpy outfits looking for a room to party at in a swank hotel run by a wealthy yet shady Wall Street player, Alex Cord. Mr. Cord has a definite taste for young ladies which doesn’t sit well with his underworld associates, Kennedy and Gulager. While Cord is looking to have some nocturnal fun, his pals want to get the hell out of Dodge and make their way to the Caymans before the trio are indicted for illegal activities.

While the trio are permanently ridding themselves of a potential blackmailer, the orange kitty is ridding the world of a couple of good old boys in a pickup truck. This cat sure moves around a lot. And just in time to catch a trip on board Cord’s yacht. He’s been picked up by the girls who have been invited to go sailing and while Cord is all for the young ladies joining him in their beachwear, he isn’t overly joyed they’ve brought along a trio of energetic boys looking for their own fun with the gals. Lucky for them Cord is in need of a crew and needs to get moving before that indictment comes down.

Cult favorite thanks to his hilarious performance in Return of the Living Dead, Gulager, plays it goofy this time out with false teeth and coke bottle goggles, Kennedy of Cool Hand Luke fame just plays it mean while Cord remains slippery. He’s got the money and rich dude appeal to the ladies but he’s going to prove just as deadly when cornered as the cute kitty below deck turns out to be. With less than stellar F/X our kitty keeps throwing up a mutant like demon cat with claws and teeth befitting a mutated muppet. Now it won’t take a genius to figure out each one of our leading men will have a one on one with the creature but they’ll be wisely spaced out over the sea voyage captained by Toni Hudson playing the yacht owner who is indebted to Cord over a business deal gone wrong.

Bikini time! Yes with the sun shining down why not have our young actresses get back into those skimpy outfits which allows Cord the opportunity to ogle them from the deck above.

“We’re all gonna die!”

Prophetic? Well yeah I guess because while the kitty cat effects are hilariously bad, the blood and gruesome look of it’s victims gets a passing grade. And with a total of 10 people on board, there’s plenty of victims lined up for a bloody demise.

Is Uninvited really any good? Well no not exactly but it is a totally enjoyable viewing experience for all the wrong reasons. Seriously, I had to pause it on a couple of occasions and call my two sons in to check out a scene or two of ineptitude. The bikinis? They can check them out on their own when the “old man” ain’t around. Now how about a sequel. Maybe not but it won’t take a lab assistant in a white smock to know this one’s gonna end with a cliffhanger just in case it scores big at the box office or more importantly the rental counters of VHS stores coast to coast. Remember them?

First time viewing for yours truly thanks to a blu ray release from Vinegar Syndrome with an alternate cut and even an interview with the film’s director of photography, Nicholas von Sternberg. If that last name sounds familiar it should to film historians. His father was Josef Von Sternberg who made his name at the dawn of talkies directing a steady diet of Marlene Dietrich standards. With all due respect to Nicholas, Uninvited is far removed from those early 30’s classics like Morocco, Shanghai Express and The Blue Angel.

On the subject of our director, Mr. Clark, who it should be pointed out appeared (dare I say apprenticed) in Al Adamson titles including Al’s “masterpiece” Dracula vs. Frankenstein, this is just one example of a steady diet of thrillers he managed to put out with well known names to accompany the production. For more horrifying thrillers of the low budget variety check out his Without Warning featuring Jack Palance and Martin Landau, Satan’s Cheerleaders with John Ireland and Yvonne de Carlo followed up by The Return with Jan-Michael Vincent and Neville Brand.

6 Comments »

  1. Oh dear lord, I’m SERIOUSLY going to have to find this one and give it a look! This sort of thing is right up my alley…and I like cats, too, so that should…wait, what did you say? BIKINI TIME? Now I’m definitely there! And I thought it was cool – odd, but cool – that one of the guys from Adam-12 was part of the cast. Then I realized, oh, it’ Alex Cord, not Kent McCord!

  2. Yep add me to the BIKINI TIME list to watch I must add! I don’t really look as good in swimwear as I hope.
    Haha this bonkers cat film does look really silly and great fun.
    I did pop over to have a look to see what Dracula vs. Frankenstein was and WOW out popped Regina Carrol. That looks crazy entertaining!

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