Director – Andy Milligan (Fleshpot on 42nd Street, The Ghastly Ones)
Starring – Steve Burington, Jessica Straus (Black Jack, Shaolin Soccer), and Naomi Sherwood
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “First love should be a dream…theirs is a nightmare”
I love getting old obscure horror and exploitation flicks in for review. That’s why I’m a huge fan of AGFA and Vinegar Syndrome. They bring so many of these forgotten classics to the masses. That is why I’ve been digging some of these Garagehouse Pictures releases. I’ve got some solid releases from them over the years and I’ve really been impressed with their two Andy Milligan releases.
I had never seen Monstrosity before I have to admit that I am now a fan. The next film on the chopping block is the Garagehouse release of the 1989 Milligan film Weirdo: The Beginning which was originally released as The Weirdo. This one would become my favorite of the two. Thank you Garagehouse for sending this one my way!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows the socially awkward and highly unstable Donnie (Burington) who lives in the shed of the elderly Miss Martins (Sherwood). He likes to spend his time in the woods in solitude but a gang of muscle bound stereotypes like to go there as well and beat him up. One day he meets a young woman and the two hit it off but the people in his life, Miss Martins, his estranged mother, and the local preacher, don’t think a man as unique as Donnie should be seeing her. This makes the highly volatile Donnie even more unstable and they push him too far he finally snaps killing those that get in his way of love.**Spoiler Alert**
I wouldn’t call The Weirdo a horror flick but It’s rather difficult to call it an exploitation film as well. Regardless of what you would classify it I was still a fan and I can see myself revisiting this one occasionally. It was extremely fun and I loved the wide array of characters.
The acting in this one is far from perfect or amazing but the cast does a phenomenal job bringing unforgettable characters to life. The characters we get in this one reminded me a lot of characters we would get from earlier John Water’s films. That is why I enjoyed this film so much.
The story for this one is romance wrapped in exploitation with a little horror mixed in. The romance is not overly sappy and not enough to kill the film. It’s part of the story but not overpowering. We get a lot of character development which is something I thoroughly enjoy in a film. With that being said, the film does hit a bit of a dry spell where we get some painfully dull dialogue heavy scenes that have little to nothing to do with the story.
Finally, we get a few deaths. One is extremely funny with some sub-par practical effects while the other was a bit of a let down. The film clearly had budget restrictions and one of those was the effects department. The one death scene is still highly enjoyable but mostly due to the unexpected humor. Overall, Weirdo: The Beginning is an over looked and underrated exploitation film from the late Andy Milligan. The blu looks decent enough but does have some room for improvement. I highly suggest that fans of cult cinema pick this one up for their collections. The film is definitely worth it.
Audio commentary with producers
Matsui’s Monstrosities: An Interview with a Make-Up Man: Part 2
Andy Milligan trailers
Garagehouse Pictures trailers
Cover art by Stephen Romano
Limited edition slip sleeve art by Justin Miller (Limited to 1000 units)