The Item (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


I don't even know where to begin.

Four lowlifes meet a crazed scientist in the desert. Their assignment: deliver some money to him in exchange for a mysterious item which they are to safeguard through the night. Turns out that they have to slay the scientist brutally, as they slay pretty much everyone they come into contact with in the film, and as they eventually slay each other. 


Judy Jean Kwon's breasts were seen in her sex scene with the psychic naugahyde slug, a scene which has a date with future movie historians. Although she is also seen nude from the side-rear, it is dark and not very clear.
Wellsir, the item they have to guard comes in a locked box, but curiosity gets the better of them, so they open it up and discover that it is a living naugahyde slug with little penis arms, and the li'l critter is wearing a garter belt. Mind you, this is not just any naugahyde slug. It talks, and it reads minds. It brings back their innermost repressed memories to each of them.

Some transvestite visitors drop in, so our heroes brutally slay them. The brutal slaying continues until every male character is dead (the two females survive), and their apartment is covered with bodies, blood and human brains, not to mention Chinese food. Then one of the surviving women leaves, and the other is alone with the naugahyde slug, so she takes it to bed and fucks it.

The end.

I don't think I need to say much more. You've probably figured out whether you would like this. It is a cynical black comedy with broadly exaggerated violence, shot on video with a zero budget. It thinks it is a very hip parody of the Tarantines. Guns fire thousands of rounds without reloading. Wounds cause gallons of blood to spill. The chase scenes are done on rollers. You get the idea. It is certainly too hip for me, but don't use that as a guideline, because Neil Diamond is too hip for me. 

But it is certainly the Citizen Kane of psychic naugahyde slug movies. 

More than that, really. I'm guessing it is the ultimate in psychic naugahyde slug entertainment, and possibly as good as anything ever made about slugs, psychic or not, naugahyde or not. When a psychic naugahyde slug movie can compete on equal footing with the entire spectrum of slug-related entertainment ...

Well, you know it must be something special.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • director commentary

  • behind the scenes featurette

  • deleted scenes

The director wrote on his liner notes: "I wrote and directed the movie The Item because strange flicks featuring over-the-top characters, supernatural quantities of blood, and big guns that never run out of bullets have always been a secret passion of mine. The Item is my little homage to the truly insane exploitation/freak art films that fueled my imagination as a kid. Don't show this to your mom. Or mine."

The Critics Vote

  • 2/5

  • nominated for a prize at Sundance

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1 
  • no theatrical release
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-, I guess.  A film so weird in style and in subject matter that it may appeal to an audience that loves a more edgy, underground kind of film. Frankly, I wasn't in the target audience, but I might have liked it if in were in college again!

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