If Independence Day left you feeling patriotic, you’ll love “Uncle Sam” — an entertaining romp about a zombie soldier who takes nationalism to a new level.
This week’s Tubi Tuesday is perhaps the most patriotic horror film in history. It’s a true 1990s straight-to-VHS classic of immensely cheesy proportions, written by the legendary Larry Cohen and directed by the enigmatic William Lustig. It also stars R&B royalty, Isaac Hayes. We ask that you all rise and place one hand over your heart for this week’s Tubi Tuesday, Uncle Sam.
Uncle Sam is about a small town terrorized by a zombified soldier who dresses up like Uncle Sam from military recruitment posters and has been summoned back to life by his nephew who sees him as a hero. You may be asking yourself, “What motivates an undead soldier to kill?”
After all, every good slasher villain must have his or her own unique motivations for murder and mayhem. Freddy is hell bent on murdering the children of the people who burned him alive. Jason Voorhees, along with Mrs. Voorhees, wants revenge on camp counselors who let him drown as a boy. Michael Myers is simply acting on impulse, as he is cursed with a mysterious mark of thorn that commands him to kill everyone who is related to him — or something like that, depending on which timeline you follow.
But what motivates our zombie commando to search and destroy? Well, tax evasion of course!
I really wish I was joking, but the motivation for the Uncle Sam killer is he needs to punish people who are unpatriotic.
This leads to some bizarre writing. In films like the Friday the 13th franchise, you simply need to see some attractive young people skinny dipping in the lake or fooling around in the woods to know who Jason’s victims will be. But, to determine who is ‘unpatriotic’ enough to kill, we need lots of awkward dialogue.
For example, one of Uncle Sam’s victims is a banker who brags at a dinner table about lying about his tax information to the IRS. Another victim is a school teacher who was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. Other victims include a cop who smokes weed, Neo-nazi kids who burn a flag in a cemetery, and a corrupt congressman who appears suddenly in the middle of the film.
How on earth do you stop such a patriotic assassin? Well you need three things: a true patriot, a boy who lost his sight in a fireworks accident, and another boy who is psychically linked to the zombie murderer.
The hero of the film, Jed, is played by Isaac Hayes.
He’s a purple heart-awarded soldier who lost his legs in Vietnam and secretly wishes he could have sacrificed himself so those in his platoon could have survived. He is informed by a little boy who was blinded in a fireworks accident on the 4th of July that Uncle Sam is actually a zombie version of his former platoon member Sam Harper.
And, oh yeah, Sam also has a mental link with his nephew. The trio track the zombified soldier back to his family home, and when the bullets down work, they shoot him with a cannon.
I’m not going to lie to you and pretend this is a serious movie, because it’s not. What it is, however, is seriously entertaining.
The kills are very good and very graphic, the zombie special effects are really gooey and gross, and the forced dialogue is absolutely hilarious.
If you are looking for some lighthearted, ‘Merica-themed horror to watch on the heels of 4th of July weekend, check out Uncle Sam, now streaming for free on Tubi.