Luther the Geek (1990) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It was only about a week ago that I was writing about The Godfather, which is considered by many people to be the greatest of all movies. It is only fitting, therefore, that I give equal time to its greatest rival for that honor, Luther the Geek.

In fact, if you just pick scenes at random, it is difficult to say which of the two movies the scene might belong to.


SPOILERS - not that it matters.

Luther the Geek is actually an eccentric splatter film about - well, a geek. Sort of. First of all, I suppose we should establish what a geek actually is. In modern usage it has come to mean about the same thing as "nerd" or "dweeb," specifically a young fellow too well acquainted with computers and too poorly acquainted with soap, in short, a student who can probably forget about dating the head cheerleader. In the early 20th century, however, the word "geek" had a far different meaning which derived from the slang of America's touring carnivals and their sideshows. The addenda in Webster's 1954 dictionary defined geek as "a carnival ‘wild man’ whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake."

That's the kind of geek we are talking about here. The story began with a prologue which pictured Luther as a young boy, on a night in which he watched a bunch of villagers with torches (no kidding) storm a barn and force the caged geek to do his act. In the course of the geek's humiliation, the boy reached into the straw in the barn until he found some strands covered with chicken blood. He tasted it. He liked it.

The story then fast-forwards to the present, where a 30ish Luther is in prison for serial homicide. It seems to be fairly obvious that he belongs behind bars somewhere, since he was convicted of three brutal homicides, has a full set of sharpened metal teeth, and communicates by clucking like a chicken, except for the occasional burst of joy when he crows like a rooster. A dismissive verdict of "obviously nuts" is not the way the parole system works however, and the system is the system. Luther gets his hearing and is granted parole because the parole board is breaking in a trainee (again, no kidding).

Damn those liberals!

Luther is thus placed back into mainstream society, and you can just sense that he's ready to make the most of his opportunity.

The rest of the film  ...

Well, I don't think you need the IQ of Steven Hawking to determine that he spends the rest of the film clucking like a chicken and killing people indiscriminately, since clucking and killing are pretty much the only activities he can perform. His killing technique involves driving his metal dentures into the victims' throats, geek style. Since Luther is on camera as much as or more than anyone else, long portions of the  sound in the movie consist entirely of fake chicken noises. In fact, the last intended victim manages to survive when she confuses Luther by acting like a chicken herself, thus matching Luther's fake chicken noises cluck for cluck.

I don't suppose the soundtrack was a big seller.

When ol' Luther finally gets his comeuppance on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, the woman who shoots him feels relief, but then tastes some of his blood, likes it, and starts clucking again, even though Luther is dead ...

Is there anything more to say?

This effort is marked by the classic horror movie convention that all the characters have to act as stupidly as possible in all situations in order to keep the film from ending before the story is finished. We need the parole board to release a guy into the mainstream even though he wears sharpened metal dentures and clucks like a chicken? No problem - two flaming liberals and a "parole board trainee" will release him.. We need a woman to stay tied to a bed though her daughter arrives to rescue her? No problem - the daughter can't undo the knots and neither of them can think of any other way to free a woman who is tied to a bed with sheets. Need an armed cop to discover the problem and fail to subdue an unarmed suspect? No problem - he's the world's dumbest cop.

Combine the utterly bizarre and illogical premise with amateurish photography, day-night continuity errors, illogical plot points, slow pacing, a budget of zero, and a monster more silly than scary, and you have a true high camp bad movie classic. I suppose one-time director Carlton Albright has long since returned to his night shift at Circle K, because the revenues from this film probably didn't give him a comfortable retirement income.

Yet this film is rated above six at IMDb and it received almost universally positive reviews from the genre sites, who compare the suspense and gore levels to those achieved by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and who love the crazy originality of the concept. Whatever, dude. The IMDb score will probably settle in below four eventually, as more people see the film besides those predisposed to like it, but that doesn't change the fact that there actually are people predisposed to like it. Perhaps you are one of them.

I am not.

  • the transfer is a full-frame 4:3, and is of poor to mediocre quality. It does not look significantly better than a VHS version.
  • there are, however, some good bonus features
    • four long sequences with outtakes and deleted footage, including the shower scene. All the scenes are introduced by the director.
    • there are also interviews with the director and the little kid who played Luther in the opening sequence.
    • there is a section on sideshow freaks
    • and the usual Troma crazy stuff unrelated to the film itself


  • Stacy Haiduk shows her breasts in a shower scene and a sex scene.
  • Thomas Mills shows his buns.
  • In the DVD deleted footage, there is a lot of additional shower footage. Stacy shows her bum and even a very quick hint of her pubic area, and there is a lot more footage of Tom's bum.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Dreadful film, but it has enthusiastic supporters among splatter genre enthusiasts. Interesting DVD, though, with lots of commentary and outtakes.

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