Written by: George Pacheco on February 8th, 2016
BluRay released: January 19th, 2015
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free / Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: $27.98
The film was written and directed by Carlton J. Albright, who also helmed a similarly unique film ten years earlier by the name of The Children, here presenting the tale of a disturbed young child who becomes a homicidal killer after bearing witness to a carnival geek biting the heads from live chickens. Luther the Geek could’ve easily degenerated into parody and silliness, but Albright and his cast keep things straight, lending the film a sense of stalking menace which keeps it quite successful.
Edward Terry is particularly frightening as The Geek, whose tendency to cluck like a rooster is balanced by his creepy sneer and bulging eyes. This becomes particularly important, given the film’s brief running time of eighty minutes. The audience is never allowed to catch its breath early on in the picture, as Terry is paroled from prison, and soon is up to his old ways, trapping a small friendly in their rural farm house, out in the middle of nowhere.
The supporting cast is also strong, with Joan Roth receiving most of the screen time as the belabored widow, who runs afoul of The Geek after leaving the grocery store. Meanwhile, Seaquest DSV star Stacy Haiduk provides the sex appeal as Roth’s traumatized daughter, with J. Jerome Clark rounding things up as a well intentioned state trooper who attempts to save the family. Only Tom Mills is somewhat ineffective as Haiduk’s boyfriend Rob, although the actor does his best with what is a relatively small role.
Luther the Geek does lose a bit of its tension near the final act, which features a stalking scene padded way too long for its own good, and a climax which, though well written, could be perceived as a bit silly for some viewers. Still, the strength of Terry’s performance and the overall unsettling imagery makes Luther the Geek an under the radar cult classic given the deluxe Blu-Ray treatment.
Vinegar Syndrome go all out on this DVD and Blu-Ray combo pack, presenting a newly 2k scanning print of Albright’s film, uncut and looking like the day it was struck. Flesh tones are fantastic, as is the strong audio track, with the print here far exceeding the one used by Troma on its older DVD edition. Fans should also be pleased to know that all of the extras from that edition have been ported over here for this Blu-Ray, together with new extras compiled by the Vinegar Syndrome crew.
These include a newly recorded intro with Albright, together with a video interview and commentary track from the director. J. Jerome Clark is also interviewed in his home about his memories of the project, making this a hefty disc on camera features, when combined with the interviews conducted by Troma for their own release. Add to this reversible cover art and trailers for both Albright directed films, and you have what is essentially the most comprehensive home video presentation of Luther the Geek.