Not to be confused with the song “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette, nor the “The Uninvited,” of which there have been three movies made in 1944, 2008 and 2009 with the EXACT SAME TITLE. The 2009 version is the American remake of the South Korean Horror film “A Tale of Two Sisters.” Why they decided to change the title to something that an independent horror movie used the year prior to its release is beyond us.
Let’s just cut to the chase. I love this film!
This undiscovered gem stars legendary thespians like George Kennedy and Clu Gulager, who played the heroic Burt Wilson in 1985’s “Return Of The Living Dead.” Released in the summer of 1988 and directed by low budget auteur Greydon Clark, “Uninvited” follows the misadventures of a fluffy orange cat who escapes an animal testing research laboratory by using its deadly superpower; the ability to vomit out a vicious deformed monster with toxic saliva. And by monster, I mean a puppet which looks like a tiny, badly burned lion. The rather unusual feline eventually meets a group of young people headed to the Cayman Islands on a shady millionaire’s massive yacht and then gory hi-jinks ensue.
“Uninvited” delivers everything you could want in a cheesy ’80s creature feature; a synth pop score, scenes of girls stretching and performing aerobic exercises that have no real benefit other than to show off their sexiness, deliciously horrendous sweaters, a shoddy radiation suit, an evil corporation called Genetic Laboratories, a hilarious lack of simple logic, several scenes in which victims being attacked by the cat monster have to hold the puppet tightly to give the illusion that it’s grabbing them instead of vice versa, a toy boat floating on choppy water for exterior shots of the yacht and much, much more!
Yep, that’s right. It’s totally rad!
Fun Fact: Greydon Clark, the fellow behind such 1970s hits as “Satan’s Cheerleaders,” plays a scientist who attempts to dissect the cat very early on in the film.
During a 2012 interview with journalist Brad Berkwitt, George Kennedy described “Uninvited” as a film he regretted doing and even went so far to say that “It wasn’t bad. It was PUTRID!”
Actually, it’s anything but those things. Thanks to a charming albeit sleazy performance by Alex Cord, the cat doesn’t need to leap out in every scene to keep us entertained. Cord plays Walter “Wall Street” Graham, a filthy rich stock broker/gangster secretly engaged in ripping off investors. Basically, a normal stock broker. Graham has a taste for the ladies, so he invites two young women to join him and his gangster pals (Kennedy and Gulager) on a cruise where they can do gangster stuff while the ladies sunbathe and look pretty.
Meanwhile, the freshly escaped kitty witnesses a brutal carjacking and then punishes the evildoers in one of the funniest bits of this, or any other film ever made. If you look closely, you can see the puppeteer’s arm as the cat snacks on a carjacker’s neck, and the resulting car accident footage is stolen entirely from the 1978 film “Hi-Riders.” Hilarious!
As the car tumbles down a cliff, you don’t hear the expected sounds of shattering glass and wrenching metal, but a “wah-wah-wah-wah-woo” failure sound you get when you’re eaten by a ghost in “Pac Man.”
The monster cat spares the innocent and goes after criminals with a vengeance, like the mutant feline version of The Spectre from DC comics.
“Wall Street” Walter is pretty pissed when the two bimbos he invited turn up with three male friends– one of whom is Rob Estes, from the popular 1990s series “Silk Stalkings”– and a certain adorable cat they found huddled in a trash can.
Walter despises cats, and demands that the girls leave it on the dock. They beg to keep it and he finally agrees, giving the film its title. This cat, is uninvited.
Once underway, fun times are had by all. There’s mindless dancing to forgettable tunes, couples making out all over the place and creepy “Wall Street” Walter trying to get laid. Then, a drunken gangster spits wine into the cat’s face as it prowls the yacht’s deck after dark and the vacation is officially over. Soon, the creature shreds apart the yacht’s engine with its claws, and pops out from under a couch to bite George Kennedy’s foot and fill his body with poison.
Even though Walter explains that there is a lifeboat and the craft itself is plainly shown right there on the deck, the young people and the boat’s heroic female captain remain on the yacht after the engine dies. The cat claws through the metal walls of the boat and eats all of the remaining food supplies. Luckily, one of the guys is a scientific genius who uses a nautical sextant as a microscope to examine the cat’s mutating blood. He explains to his fearful comrades a bunch of things no one could really know, leading up to an amazing climactic battle in the rain with the creature. We’re left with the promise of a sequel in the final moments, which sadly never happened.
For all its puppety greatness, it doesn’t feature spectacular violence and that’s OK. It provides just enough gore to make the mutant cat a believable threat.
The monster bloodily eats a victim’s fingers, the infection from a bite results in visibly pulsing veins and bleeding out, a woman accidentally eats poison meant to kill the cat and her neck balloons out and bleeds, there’s a couple of drownings and a few off-screen deaths that leave blood splatters on the walls. The makeup special effects are pretty well done, and the scenes of the monster being orally birthed from inside the cat are priceless. Trust me, you have to see it for yourself.
As I’m an avid follower of cinematic absurdity such as John Wintergate’s “The Boardinghouse”, “Uninvited” is a pretty special movie to me. If you want to have a good laugh with your friends, it’s the perfect horror treat!