This G.I.-zombie tale, smartly scripted by exploitation auteur Larry Cohen (It's Alive, God Told Me To) and directed by William Lustig (Maniac, Vigilante), straddles the line between antiwar satire and slasher-movie sillin... more »ess. American soldier Uncle Sam, as he's known to his hero-worshipping young nephew, is a bullying homicidal misfit too ornery to die. His bloodied and burned corpse, sent home from Kuwait for burial, crawls out of his casket and declares war on punks, crooked politicians, draft dodgers, and pretty much anyone who wanders into his path. There are some interesting ideas floating around--a pointed commentary on the attraction of violence under the flag of patriotism, an undercurrent of psychosis and sadism in Sam's home life, and a clever twist on all-American iconography--which get lost in the Fourth of July reign of terror. Body-count fans will appreciate victims hacked with hatchets, cleavers, and garden shears, teenagers buried alive, and a severed head found smoking in a barbecue pit. David "Shark" Fralick stars as Sam, with Isaac Hayes as a crippled Korean War vet and small roles by cult stars Bo Hopkins, Timothy Bottoms, P.J. Soles, and Robert Forster, a smarmy governor given a fireworks sendoff he'll never forget. --Sean Axmaker« less
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 07/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After his helicopter is shot down by "friendly fire" in Kuwait, the charred remains of Desert Storm hero Sam Harper (David "Shark" Frahlich) are recovered by a reconnaissance team and shipped off to his Midwestern hometown back in the States. His sister Sally (Leslie Neale) and his widow Louise (Anne Tremko) are actually relieved to learn that the abusive Sam is dead, because in life he was a fanatical right-winger whose legendary heroics actually stemmed from his propensity for being domineering and downright sadistic. In fact, the only person in town who seems to mourn Sam's demise is his nephew, Jody (Christopher Ogden), who has long worshipped his uncle as the epitome of bravery and manhood.Sam's burned and apparently mummified body arrives home in a sealed casket a scant day or two before the 4th of July, and when some of the town's juvenile delinquents perform a disrespectful flag-burning ritual at the fallen war hero's freshly dug grave, not even Death can restrain Sam's patriotic indignation. Sam rises from his coffin, appropriates an Uncle Sam costume, and celebrates Independence Day by meting out fatal punishments to the town's hoodlums, crooked politicians, draft dodgers, and anybody else he considers to be un-American. When young Jody discovers who's behind the wave of killings, the lad realizes that his uncle may not be so worthy of admiration after all, and he and a few of his friends set out to thwart the activities of the flag-waving fiend. But will Jody and his buddies be able to stop Uncle Sam before it's too late?On the surface, 1997's UNCLE SAM seems to hearken back to the early 1980s and the heyday of the slasher-flick. Following the basic formula of the popular films from that era--films such as HALLOWEEN (1978) and FRIDAY THE 13th (1980)--UNCLE SAM centers around a mentally unbalanced individual who inexplicably rises from the grave to become a serial-killing juggernaut, and only a few innocents are able to learn the killer's identity and ultimately halt his murderous spree. The unique variation in this film is that, instead of eliminating promiscuous teens (the typical slasher-flick victims), the unctuous Uncle Sam is picking off anybody who pooh-poohs old glory, hot dogs, baseball, apple pie, or any other icon of the American way of life.But if viewed as straight horror, UNCLE SAM will read as a rather goofy film. There is actually much more going on here than just a bunch of gratuitous bloodletting. Scripted by indie auteur Larry Cohen--well known for penning and directing way-above-average exploitation genre flicks such as IT'S ALIVE! (1974), GOD TOLD ME TO (1976), and Q: THE WINGED SERPENT (1982)--and directed by Cohen's sometimes-collaborator William Lustig (1988's MANIAC COP and sequels), UNCLE SAM is actually a dark Juvenalian satire of cultural phenomena like blind patriotism, patriotic demagoguery, the romanticizing of war, and misguided hero worship. Although the satirical aspects are more blatant here than in THE STUFF (1985)--Cohen's top-notch feature-length mockery of consumer excess and the smarmy advertising industry that spurs it on--UNCLE SAM still cogently and humorously delivers its message and is therefore a lot of fun to watch. It has also been argued that UNCLE SAM is gently spoofing the slasher sub-genre itself. While it's obvious that this is not the primary theme, it would be difficult to deny that the film does offer a few playful jabs at other holiday-themed slasher flicks.The acting in the film is above par, especially for a low-budget horror film. (Watch for lots of well-known faces, including Timothy Bottoms, Isaac Hayes, and the cute P.J. Soles of HALLOWEEN fame.) The cinematography is excellent, the attention to color (especially the reds, whites, and blues), the use of shadows and contrast, and the skillful framing in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio at times breathtakingly beautiful. And Lustig's direction is tight but not overbearing, and he keeps the plot moving along at a natural but exciting pace.In many ways, UNCLE SAM is a family-friendly slasher flick. That's not to say that it's suitable viewing for the pre-teen Disney crowd, but the characteristics typical of the genre have been toned down. Some of the killings carried out by the titular character actually take place offscreen and are therefore merely implied, and even the murders that do occur within the camera frame are not nearly as bloody nor as gruesome as the genre norm. And unlike many horror films of recent decades, the T&A factor is practically non-existent, with only one scene offering a very brief flash of female nudity. For a genre-loving family with children aged 13 or older, screening this film as part of the 4th-of-July celebration could become a fun annual tradition.The new DVD treatment of UNCLE SAM from Blue Underground is superb. The digital transfer is nearly perfect, with nary a discernable filmic or digital artifact. The sound quality is also wonderful, with viewers given two versions of Dolby from which to choose. And there is lots of cool bonus material, too, including two feature commentaries, the original theatrical trailer, and more.UNCLE SAM may not be to every viewers taste, but most genre fans who enjoy dark satire will want to give the disc a spin. And fans of Larry Cohen will certainly want to add this one to their DVD collections."
Refreshing new slasher/zombie classic!! done up 80s style!!
creatureart | Massachusetts | 06/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this is one of my new favorite horror flicks!! its more of a SLASHER flick than a ZOMBIE flick(the slasher is the zombie) this movie is a breath of fresh air in my opinion!!! it plays like a "HALLOWEEN" "FRIDAY the 13th" or a "NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET" on the 4th of july but then it has its own unique creative bite to it, wich makes it just as good if not better than those masterpieces!!! in the 80s this flick would have been a box office smash instead of going straight to video!! if some big name like WES CRAVEN was involved it would have been a hit!?!? "UNCLE SAM" makes "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER" look like a freakin walk in the park!!! much better in so many different ways!!!! way scarier/more creative directing/better make up & special effects/acting isnt so bad. the only thing about the movie that rubbed me the wrong way was the stupid kid in the wheel chair!!! the movie could have done without him!!! they could have come up with a much better way for the kid to find out who his uncle was & you all will understand what i mean when you watch it for your self!!! anyway it doesn't ruin the movie by no means! so hurry up & get this refreshing new slasher/zombie classic!! done up 80s style!!!!! E!!!!N!!!!J!!!!O!!!!Y!!!!"
Anyone Who Doesn't Respect The American Way Of Life Deserves
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 10/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A movie that actually has that line in it is already deserving of at least three stars. Uncle Sam is one entertaining film. Notice I say "entertaining" and not "scary". A few of the one star reviewers apparently expected this to be scary, but all you have to do is merely look at the coverbox of this film, and anyone with common sense knows that this isn't meant to be taken seriously. Uncle Sam is directed by Blue Underground founder, Bill Lustig. Lustig directed Maniac Cop, which this film is very similar to. B movie legend Larry Cohen wrote the script. Sam was "killed" by friendly fire in the Gulf war, and once his body is shipped home, he decides he isn't gonna rest in peace. Sam is a hardcore patriot(and psychotic and child molester), and blames his "death" on Un-American Americans(he indirectly refers to hippies and draft dodgers as "cowards"). Once out of the coffin, he dons an Uncle Sam outfit and wreaks havoc at his hometown's annual 4th of July celebration. His targets include the draft dodging schoolteacher, the cop moving in on his wife, a couple of flag burning punks, a tax cheater, and a guy who makes a mockery of the national anthem. As ridiculous as this plot sounds, and as easy as it may be to lump this film into the category of silly horror flicks like Leprechaun and Jack Frost, Uncle Sam seems to have a little more class. Though it's not meant to be taken seriously, it's not trying to be outright comedy like the aforementioned films. The style is more in the vein of an 80s slasher flick without taking itself as seriously as one. Bill Lustig knows the genre. He may not have directed many films, but he's extremely immersed in the horror/exploitation genre. He's made his own contributions in the early 80s, and of course he runs Blue Underground. Before the end credits he even has a dedication to Lucio Fulci(this film was made right about the time of his death in 96). Plus, with Cohen on board as the writer, we have a real dynamite combination. That's not saying the movie is perfect. There's a blind, crippled kid who shows up about an hour into the film possessing a psychic ability and a strange bond to Sam which is never fully explained. All in all this character is completely pointless and does nothing at all for the movie. Genre fans will be pleased to see Bo Hopkins, PJ Soles and Robert Forster in small roles. You eventually get a good look at Sam's face in the last ten minutes or so of the film and I must say he does look kinda creepy. Definitely one you should see. After all, you're not a communist are ya?"
Great Movie To Ridicule!!!
Steve Nicholls | 10/13/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you and your friends like to occasionally rent movies simply to goof on them and pick fun at their cheapness, then this is a must! The horrible acting, crappy effects and the simple fact that its a dead guy dressed in an Uncle Sam costume is enough to make every minute full of laughs! I would not buy this video, but I would rent it. Check it out if you're bored and want to have some chuckles!"
Uncle Sam is a B-movie classic.
Art Vandelay | Chattenooga, Tennessee | 01/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Uncle Sam is without a doubt a B-movie classic. It encompasses all the qualities that make the irreplaceable genre of B-movies possible. While viewing this flick, you will be enthralled with everything from the horrible acting, and redicuously written script to the pathetic attempt at horrifying special effects. This movie rivals such classics as Death Ring. If you are looking for a good laugh and a way to boost your confidence level, rent Uncle Sam. You can't possibly be as pitiful as anyone assosiated with the production of Uncle Sam."