Grotesque (1988) Poster

(1988)

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I'm at a loss for words...but 'scrape' and 'barrel' come to mind...
EyeAskance15 October 2003
Hilarious looking over-the-top 'punkers' terrorize and kill an innocent family, only to be stalked by a vengeful deformed son who was being kept in a secret room of the house. Just when it seems that this film is rolling into its conclusion, Tab Hunter makes an out-of-nowhere entrance, marking the starting point of twenty more excruciating minutes. GROTESQUE, which to this point was merely somewhat painful, now crosses the "near-lethal" line.

Throwaway horror bunkum, and a sad example of how its once-promising star, Linda Blair, was somehow reduced to being a fixture in sub-B material.

3.5/10
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2/10
I want my Z'Dar back!
eminges15 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Well, reading the other comments it seems there's at least two versions of this out there. Mine is Media Home Entertainment's, and does NOT have the ending described in the other comments - this version is monumentally lame, but the version described in the other comments, with Frankensein and the Wolfman, sounds legendary.

Otherwise, for those of you under twenty, I want to assure you that, although a lot of weird things happened in the eighties, there were not, as far as I remember, gangs of snarling twentysomethings with Billy Idol hair and dressed in expensive leathers roaming the countryside in VW busses looking for innocent citizens to terrorize. Grotesque would like you to believe this; it would also like you to believe that Linda Blair can run around in the snow for a couple of hours in her jammies and bare feet and not turn into a snow-cone; or that even Tab Hunter is stupid enough to threaten two punkers with a shotgun, demand they get in his car, and then drive off with them in the back seat, where, one presumes, they will sit quietly with their hands in their lap until we get to Grandma's.

Overall, Grotesque is definitely worth hunting down, if you can wrap it up for less than three bucks. No plot? No, this thing has more plot than Gravity's Rainbow.

*************THIS WOULD BE A LOT OF SPOILERS, EXCEPT THERE'S MORE THAN ENOUGH PLOT LEFT TO GO AROUND ************** Linda Blair and a friend drive up into the mountains to see her folks, and are menaced by a "gang" of punkers also on their way to see her folks, on the rumor that they've got a lot of money stashed, because Linda Blair's dad is a famous FX artist. Her dad keeps jumping out at her and her friend with rubber masks and body parts, but he's Guy Stockwell, and charming, so it's OK. The punkers descend on the house, kill everybody except Linda B., but unfortunately let Linda's cousin out of his secret room, who's a large, horribly deformed, essentially sweet but now angry and murderous kind of a guy, who then kills off all the punkers except two, but then a family friend drives up the hill, finds the carnage, calls the cops, her uncle (Tab) drives up the hill for some reason, and after all is said and done the deformed cousin is dead, Linda's in a coma, the two punkers are shaken but not stirred, and the police begin their investigation.

FOLKS, WE ARE NOW ONLY FORTY MINUTES INTO AN EIGHTY-MINUTE MOVIE!!!

Maybe Grotesque was being put out on spec, to get backers interested in a mini-series.

Oh. Robert Z'Dar, my favorite actor with a really big face, is NOT in this version. Also, there's no nudity and the FX are pathetic, But it's STILL worth watching, in horrified fascination, as the plot lurches around drunkenly, banging off doorframes, stumbling over the furniture, just to see whether it finally falls out of a second-story window (it does).
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3/10
punks invade a home and find something grotesque; not so good
FieCrier10 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Starts with a movie-in-a-movie that's pretty bad: an old woman narrating over shots of a house in a lightning storm. Cuts between her and herself as a young woman, and some possibly rotting creature enters. This is just a way of introducing us to Orville Krueger, a special effects guy specializing in horror movies.

Krueger goes to his cabin/home in the woods. He's joined by his wife, and his daughter brings a friend. He enjoys scaring them. Some "punkers" in a VW van show up, because one of them used to vacation in the area, and heard there was a big secret involving the "Hollywood" guy, and they assume it's money or drugs - to which they'd like to help themselves.

The punkers invade the house, but they find out the secret has more to do with the possible inspiration for Kreuger's grotesque makeup jobs. In the aftermath, Krueger's cosmetic surgeon brother shows up to bring matters to a close (it gets pretty silly).

The punkers all overact. The leader yells all his lines, and at least one of the members laughs in a high voice after everything he says. As punks, they're more reminiscent of Bobcat Goldthwait in the Police Academy movies. A better punk gang would have made the movie potentially scarier.

The snowy location wasn't bad. Linda Blair is OK, but she doesn't bring anything unique.

The movie ends with a freeze frame that shrinks to a small size, and as others have mentioned, some spirited ragtime music that comes out of nowhere as the credits roll.
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1/10
Sick-minded mayhem made me wince...
moonspinner5515 January 2001
Linda Blair is a professional, capable actress who pretty much livens up every film she chooses to co-star in (yes, even "Roller Boogie"). As for "Grotesque", well... Rarely have I seen such a sick, twisted piece of sludge. At her parents' mountain abode, Linda and family are attacked by a gang of punks so disgusting they'd give Sid Vicious the shakes! After watching her mother and best friend dragged off to their deaths and seeing her father beaten to death with a log, Linda escapes into the snow wearing pajamas. I almost gave up on "Grotesque" right here. What kept me watching? The identity of the mutant in the basement? The "F/X"-styled subplot about the dad being a Hollywood make-up man? No, it was Linda herself, keeping her dignity throughout all this grotesque-ness. It's a horrible, wretched movie--and I was surprised to learn that Blair served as co-producer! However, it IS somewhat better than "Savage Island". NO STARS from ****
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7/10
Grotesque indeed.
HumanoidOfFlesh9 August 2009
The star of "The Exorcist" Linda Blair brings along her best friend to visit her movie makeup effects expert father and mother at their house deep in the woods.Along the way they have a chance encounter with a gang of murderous punks.The anarchists break into the house and murder everybody there.While searching for the money the punks stumble onto a hidden room containing a deformed man called Patrick,who enjoys spilling blood of the villains."Grotesque" is grotesque indeed.There is enough gore and perversity to keep you occupied in its' short eighty minute running time.'Maniac Cop' Robert Z'Dar has a small cameo as one of the punks.Overall,if you are a fan of late 80's horror you can't go wrong with "Grotesque".7 out of 10.
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9/10
Better than given credit.
deadelvis19884 November 2008
I like the film. I thought it was pretty entertaining. Pretty much any film with fake punks as antagonists is fairly fun. Think Class of 1984 with more make up. There isn't very much gore but the revenge element in the film is the clincher. There is a secret chamber in the house holding a terrible family secret. That element of the film was an obvious swipe from Bad Ronald. This is a better B grade film from the late 80's. I always thought this was a project where Linda Blair must've been desperate for work. Later I learned she was executive producer or something of that sort. I hope this makes it to DVD in the correct aspect ratio one day soon.
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No...No...Oh Please God!....NO!
lobelia-130 March 2001
Matt and I have seen alot of really crappy movies together. We always have a good time. Or at least we DID until our (ex)friend Ron loaned us this one. We've used the database to check out the background on lots of these movies. This one made us register so we could warn others!

There were endless, pointless scenes of crazed people running through murky woods. This is not as bad as it may seem - at least this was a break from some of the worst dialogue ever scribbled on scraps of paper in the bathroom. To be fair, there were two good, albeit brief, moments in this flick. One - A terrorized victim glares at the villains and accuses them of being scum, to which the ringleader replies leeringly "It's a scummy world!" Two - The deformed, heartbroken nephew of two of the victims picks up one of the female attackers and snaps her spine against a pine tree. These moments are not worth wasting the longest 80 minutes of your life. Just say "NO!".
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3/10
Grotesquely confused (SPOILERS).
gridoon7 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
It begins as a horrible "horror" flick, but fortunately we quickly find out that the opening scenes belong to a movie-within-a-movie. Then, for the next 15 minutes or so, there are some decent filmmaking vs. reality games that add an extra layer to the film. But when the punks appear, their embarrassing overacting turns this into a bottom-of-the-barrel affair. But wait! After the deformed man avenges the murders of his "family" and gets himself shot in the process, it gets even worse! There are many pointless scenes that go on far too long, especially the two "good cop-bad cop" interrogation sketches. The ending offers a gruesome twist (though ruined by bad makeup effects)....and then the REAL ending comes. It's one of the stupidest and most nonsensical endings I've ever seen, but you have to admit at least that it takes a lot of audacity to dare end your film this way. (*1/2)
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8/10
Linda Blair gives one of her best performances in this twisted, little-seen revenge film.
shaneschoeppner16 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Linda Blair has the unique distinction of being associated with various kinds of horror films. She's been possessed ("The Exorcist" and "Witchery") repossessed ("Repossessed" and "Exorcist II: The Heretic") and stalked by a slasher ("Hell Night"); she's battled a witch ("Summer of Fear") played a witch ("Sorceress") fought zombies ("The Chilling") and, with "Grotesque", she visits the territory of Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left" and Meir Zarchi's "I Spit On Your Grave", low-budget revenge classics that went for ultra-realistic terror with utterly terrifying results. (Linda is to horror films what Dame Judi Dench is to period melodramas; she's practically turned horror film acting into an Olympic event. Her tireless efforts spent making horror films cause Jamie Lee Curtis to look like a slouch.) But here, she steps away from the monsters and ghouls of her career, and faces the ultimate terror: man himself, out of control and violent. With this film she has the chance to play her character's horror with total realism. Her performance is up there with "The Exorcist" as her ultimate victim role. She plays Lisa Krueger, a young woman traveling into the Big Bear mountains with her friend (Donna Wilkes) to visit her family. Her father (Guy Stockwell) is a Hollywood make-up effects man, and her mother a loving and supportive partner to him. On their way up to the house, the young women encounter a band of punks looking for trouble - in particular (and unknown to Lisa) they are planning to ambush and violate the Krueger home. They've heard rumors of a 'secret' up at the family's secluded mountain place, and are convinced that drugs and money must be involved (While the acting of the gang members is of uneven quality, they are eerily reminiscent of the Manson clan, and some of them even manage to rise above the clichés of the script and deliver something terrifying.) That same night the group storms the house and assembles the family, then begins murdering them one by one, leaving poor Lisa to witness it all. (Donna Wilkes, along with Blair, is a terribly underrated actress. She is terrific here - especially her death scene - and was also great in "Jaws 2" and "Angel".) At a moment when the villains are arguing among themselves, Lisa sees her chance and flees, but is cornered in a hallway and has no other option but to jump out the window. From there Lisa frantically runs into the snowy night, clad only in her nightclothes, with a couple of punks hot on her trail. Lisa's cousin Patrick, previously mentioned in the script but unseen, lives behind a bookcase in a hidden room. He is the 'secret' that the punks had heard about. He is hideously misshapen, and mentally handicapped. While he is a hulking, scary man, he has the mind and innocence of a child. He witnesses the atrocities against his family, and vows to exact bloody revenge. So he is a tortured killer, and we get to see his remorse over his own actions. Yet, he cannot stop himself. The loss of his family is too great for him to bear. He kills all of the attackers within reach, and goes out into the night to finish off the rest. Meanwhile, after running until dawn, Lisa is finally caught by one of the killers and strangled. Patrick catches up and kills the guy, but Lisa is unconscious and nearly frozen. Patrick is chasing the remaining two punks when the police finally arrive, and they assume that he murdered Blair's family. Patrick is shot and killed, and Lisa is taken to the hospital, where she must have a risky surgery in order to survive. Enter Lisa's plastic-surgeon uncle (Tab Hunter). As Patrick's biological father, he is outraged by the crimes and the killing of Patrick. The two surviving punks are taken into custody, and they claim that Patrick did all the killing. Uncle knows better; but only Lisa, who may or may not survive her surgery, can save Patrick's reputation, and put the two remaining killers behind bars. When Lisa dies during surgery, Uncle takes matters into his own hands. He kidnaps the two remaining killers and returns them to the house, where he uses surgery to permanently disfigure their faces, and locks them away in Patrick's old room behind the bookcase. Uncle also reveals that he too hides a horribly disfigured face, and therefore understands the true torture of his chosen method of revenge. This is a philosophical and ironic horror film; I can't think of another horror movie that tries to approach themes such as the remorse of the monster, the superficiality of 'beauty', and societal neglect of the handicapped. This movie works on a deeper level than I ever suspected it would, or could: it shows both terrible violence and the power of familial love, and it beautifully renders (thanks to Tab Hunter's touching performance) the fine line between sanity and insanity when an individual is blinded by a need for vengeance. The film has a very unique feel about it. The chase scenes during the cold, snowy night are absolutely realistic, and hauntingly beautiful, and quite reminiscent of Kubrick's "The Shining". Linda's jump out of the window is classic horror, devoid of any camp aspect, and, while brief, the overhead shot of her fall is pure, chilling brilliance. Her hospital scenes are evocative of her work as troubled Regan MacNeil in the "Exorcist" films. She is surrounded by many good players, but it is Blair who single-handedly keeps "Grotesque" together. Her work here is so intense that you feel her character's presence even when she isn't on-screen, and she remains a key character throughout most of the movie. She's the heart and soul of "Grotesque", and as such makes this micro-budget terror flick worth a look.
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1/10
And that's not a movie title, it's a movie DESCRIPTION...
Mister-614 March 2000
Warning: Spoilers
You want a really bad movie? A really REALLY bad movie? One so bad that it'll make you trash your TV, gouge out your eyes with a rusty spoon and dive off the closest pier? Here you go.

"Grotesque" is the name of your pain and what a pain it is! There's little to no plot to speak of. I watched it on USA a while back and felt cheated and short-changed then. I pity those of you who watched the full version.

Even with Linda Blair in it, she does precious little for the value of this flick (the LEAST she could have done is worn that dress she had on in "Hell Night").

And here's the really, REALLY bad part:

SPOILER (?) -

At the end, it turns out the whole story-line is a MOVIE being projected by a faux werewolf and Frankenstein monster, grumbling about how bad today's horror movies are. So in desperation, they jump out of the projection room and scare the theater audience away, Blair amongst the group. Then, after all are gone, the monsters jump around and hug each other in celebration of their "victory".

  • END OF SPOILER


I had a headache clear across my face after watching this. I was robbed, literally, physically, emotionally and psychologically by "Grotesque". Don't let this happen to you!

No stars. You expected anything more?
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7/10
An interesting effort overall.
Scott LeBrun17 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Reasonably amusing B movie with a number of familiar faces, "Grotesque" was the brainchild of actor and sometime director Joe Tornatore, and it's clear that he's having a fair bit of fun with the horror genre. Ever cute and appealing Linda Blair is Lisa, who travels with her good friend Kathy (the lovely Donna Wilkes of "Jaws 2", "Blood Song", and "Angel") to the mountain retreat of her father Orville (Guy Stockwell, "Santa Sangre"), a special effects artist. Unfortunately, there's a gang of degenerate punks - a common enough element in movies of this time - who are hellbent on retrieving the treasure that they are convinced the old man is hoarding. Having seen the whole thing, it becomes clear for this viewer, now, just what Tornatore and his screenwriter Mikel Angel were attempting with this movie, as the opening sequence turns out to be a movie within a movie. The balance of the thing is played mostly straight, although the way that one false scare is set up for an absurd length of time makes one think that Tornatore and Angel were making fun of this sort of thing in the first place. Makeup effects are really quite tacky but this, again, may well be another attempt to sort of wink at the audience and just have fun with conventions of low, low budget genre flicks. The entertaining cast also includes veteran matinée idol Tab Hunter as the uncle Rod, Brad Wilson as maniacal punk leader Scratch, in a hilariously way over the top performance, Nels Van Patten as giggling associate Gibbs (he may remind the viewer of his uncle Timothy's performance as the villain in "Class of 1984"), sexy Sharon Hughes (the inspiration for Prince's song "Little Red Corvette") as Donna, Charles Dierkop ("Messiah of Evil", "Silent Night Deadly Night") as the local sheriff, cult icon Robert Z'Dar as gang member Eric, John Goff as a producer, Tornatore himself as Charlie, and wrestling star Mike Lane (who'd worked with Bogart on the legend's last film, "The Harder They Fall"). (It's also worth noting that Goff's long time friend and fellow exploitation veteran George "Buck" Flower was the movie's pre-production coordinator.) Some good shocks and atmosphere, but the movie does plod a bit too much. The final third is a bit of a surprise, though, as it goes in a direction that people might not expect - it does, however, lead to a delicious scene of revenge, even if some might feel it doesn't go far enough. Ultimately, though, it's impossible to review this and not bring up the ending, which actually completely pulls the rug out from under us - some people watching may be quite amused, others extremely disappointed; personal taste will likely decide one's reaction. Personally, I found this silly little movie quite a hoot. Seven out of 10.
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5/10
Not a bad movie (major spoilers)
lthseldy12 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
As a big fan of Blairs cheezy horror movies I found this one enjoyable. It started out pretty good with Blair and her friend driving down the road and getting hurassed by a bunch of punkers, in which I found most anoying and was the biggest downfall of the movie. They drive off leaving the punkers with a thought of getting revenge. Blair and her friend go to a cottage to see Blairs parents and the friend stays the night to get over a recent breakup with her boyfriend. This is all so nice and the movie seems to get on a good start when the punkers break in the house and kill every body except Blair. I mean they didn't even give us a chance to get to know the characters when they were killed off so soon. At least keep the dad with his wierdness for horror films, they could have used him more and made the movie more exciting. Then a monster comes out and chasses after the punkers and tries to save Blair. The rest of the movie is to strange to explain but two of the punkers get off free and are dismissed of any charges of murder and the father of the monster gets his revenge. I liked this movie but they could have extended the use of the characters.
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Not that Grotesque...
drhackenstine9 January 2005
I did like what one reviewer said about this film's plot drunkenly staggering all over the place. It does. I first saw this movie, like others I review on IMDb, when I was a kid, on the USA network. I saw it from the beginning to the part when the dad gets clubbed by the hoodlums, and then my mom turned it off, saying, "you don't need to see that". Then I think we watched COPS or something. I remember it was on USA's Saturday Nightmares. Well, I just moved to a new town, and the local video store had a worn out old copy of this movie so I rented it. I saw a few parts I had remembered and some I didn't, but the bottom line is it's a good movie. There is some truly bad acting, and some violence that is just plain mean. There are also some really stupid plot holes, but if you like '80's horror, then this is not too bad. The plot does jump around a bit; the whole thing flashes around like it's the plot to some big network action pilot. Also containing stupid dialog and an out-of-place ending(but some truly exploitative violence), this is a good film for any '80's horror buff. Oh, and the Frankenstein/Wolfman ending is only on the TV version. Whoever has a tape of that TV version should treasure it I guess. Three stars.
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4/10
Weird
Forever Damned18 January 2003
A weird film that is disjointed to an extreme but could have been so much better with a little thought. It would probably have worked better as a half hour Tale From The Darkside.

Unusually Linda remains fully clothed but does spend most of the movie in her pyjamas!

Don't bother unless you are a Blair completist.
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Yeah, the title says it all...
Gafke18 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is "Grotesque" alright...a grotesque waste of film and money and a grotesque waste of the time it took me to watch it. Linda Blair and friend head up to a mountain cabin, which is owned by Linda's family. Of course, the idyllic weekend they've planned is marred by a group of bargain basement "punkers" (who look about as punky as The New Kids On The Block) and Linda's weirdo dad, who enjoys dressing up in goofy monster costumes and scaring the crap out of Linda's friend in a prolonged and painfully stupid scream scene. The

punkers invade the cabin while the family sleeps and go on a lame killing spree. Too bad they don't know about the other member of Linda's family; a deformed freak who breaks loose from his secret room and goes on his own vengeful killing spree.

This movie hurts. Very badly. I have to wonder if the budget intended for this cowflop was used instead to keep the cast and crew stoned, because the film makes no sense and gets stupider the closer it comes to its pitiful, ridiculous "twist" ending. The acting is atrocious and the special effects are neither special, nor effective. I could have had more fun reading the back of a box of Jell-o. Absolutely terrible, zero stars.
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7/10
Too daft not to be fun.
BA_Harrison14 October 2011
Grotesque (1988) is a truly weird slice of cheesy 80s horror that suffers from something of an identity crisis: the film doesn't adhere to a single sub-genre, but is a strange concoction of home invasion horror, monster movie, and revenge flick, all topped off with an absolutely insane double-twist ending. The result is far from what you would call brilliant film-making, but it is definitely loopy enough to provide an entertaining time for those who actively seek out B-movie strangeness.

Director Joe Tornatore quickly sets the unpredictable tone for his film, beginning with a film-within-a-film prologue, after which he introduces us to close friends Kate and Lisa (B-movie favourites Linda Blair and Donna Wilkes) who, while driving to visit Kate's parents at their remote mountain retreat, run into a spot of bother with a gang of punks (assorted rejects from Class of 1984 and Mad Max, whose number includes the unmistakable Robert Z'dar) before hastily making their escape.

During the night, however, the punks find their way to the house, break in, and slaughter the occupants, mistakenly believing there to be a fortune hidden somewhere in the property; what they find instead is hideously deformed man-child Patrick (Bob Apiza), the family secret, who understandably ain't too happy to see the uninvited guests. Angry Patrick goes on the rampage, tracking down and killing the punks one by one, but before he can take care of their leader Scratch (Brad Wilson) and his bitch Shelly (Michelle Bensoussan), the ugly oaf is shot dead by a posse who believe him to be the one responsible for all the dead folk back home.

At this point the film feels like it has reached a natural end, but it ain't over yet: Kate's Uncle Rod, a successful plastic surgeon, turns up on the scene and, after a spot of very dull and inefficient police procedure that allows Scratch and Shelly to walk free, decides to take the law into his own hands. This insane revenge finale, which packs a neat surprise, sees the film bouncing back in fine style, and then to cap it all, Tornatore tacks on a completely loopy ending featuring—believe it or not—Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman!!!

As you can probably tell, Grotesque is utterly bonkers trash from start to finish, but with its atrocious punks, some half decent violence (best bit: a punkette having her spine snapped against a tree), cool vengeful freak Patrick, unpredictable action, and a jaw-droppingly silly finale, it's just too much fun to ignore.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb (although it would have been a fully-fledged 7 or higher had Wilkes or Blair shown some skin!).
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8/10
A total schlocky hoot
Woodyanders29 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This gloriously ludicrous mess really must be seen to be disbelieved as it blunders its way through several uproariously absurd plot twists that are so utterly preposterous that they are also quite unintentionally hilarious as well. The ridiculous story goes something like this. Spunky Lisa (the always delightful Linda Blair in peak perky'n'personable form) goes to the family cabin with her mopey gal pal Kathy (the adorable Donna Wilkes of "Angel" fame) for a pleasant and relaxing vacation. However, a nasty gang of no-count punks crash the cabin and kill both Kathy and Lisa's parents. However, there's a hideously deformed dude with super strength residing in a hidden room in the cabin who gets loose and opens up a king-sized drum of deadly whup-a** on the punks. And that's not even the half of it as the narrative winds towards a simply sidesplitting surprise double twist conclusion. Director Joe Tornatore and screenwriter George Theakos deserve special kudos for concocting one of the single most entertainingly idiotic fiascoes to ever disgrace celluloid, with the overdone depiction of the cartoonishly evil punks and the deformed dude's murderous spree providing a wealth of kitschy belly laughs. The cast struggle valiantly with the asinine material: Tab Hunter as Lisa's vengeful plastic surgeon uncle Rod, Guy Stockwell as jolly special effects expert Orville Kruger, Charles Dierkop as the hard-nosed Sheriff Watson, Sharon Hughes as wicked punkette slut Donna, Nels Van Patton as the giggly and obnoxious Gibbs, and Michelle Bensoussan as loyal moll Shelly. Brad Wilson outrageously overacts as ruthless head punk Scratch and it's a riot to see Robert "Maniac Cop" Z'Dar as mohawked punker Eric. Billy Dickson's slick cinematography gives this picture a neat polished look while the spirited shivery synthesizer score by Jack Cookerly and William Loose does the shuddery trick. Good tacky fun.
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3/10
The ending ruins even more this mess!
insomniac_rod11 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I had a really difficult time trying to find "Grotesque" because currently it's out of print and there aren't signs of a future DVD release. After watching it, I can see why this title isn't available or in plans for getting a DVD release.

The movie starts with an eerie atmosphere and a not so bad plot. Although this movie was released in the late 80's, it used a plot that was very popular in the 70's: revenge. In "Grotesque" we have a retired f/x producer and his family getting killed by a gang of punks (their look couldn't be more 80's!). Little do the punks know that "someting" is watching them as they murder the family. That "something" is a deformed family member that lives hidden in the mansion. One by one, this creature slaughters (without gore!) the punks and takes revenge. Soon after his revenge he gets shot by local police. Also, another member of the family (an uncle) finds the bodies and starts a massive hunt for the killers.

Well, the mess ends with two members of the punk band getting injured and later getting deformed just to be the mock of a creature that hides them in the mansion. After that, a Frankenstein monster and a weird werewolf (terrible costumes by the way) mess with the film and scare the hell out of the audience that was watching the movie (?). The movie ends in a gay insinuation as the monster and the werewolf hug in a weird manner.

"Grotesque" is a total mess. Despide it's 70's movie feeling, the movie lacks of a real plot or character development. In these movies , the viewer needs to have a connection with the main characters to either feel symphaty for them or want them to get killed. In this movie, the audience really does not care about anything! The editing is terrible, not to talk about the f/x which are laughable and cheap. The scene were the uncle is about to arrive to the mansion is annoying! The background music and TOO many takes of the dead family members weren't necessary at all. We got the point. Also, Linda Blair only appears in 15% of the movie's running time. The real main character is the creature! Which by the way, it's very cheesy.

Don't bother trying to find this movie. It's almost impossible to find in even on VHS. I had the luck to find it in an obscure video center and sincerely, I regret.
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6/10
Old School 80's B-Movie Fun
dvdbrkhldr22 September 2017
I first saw this in 1990 on USA Network's "Saturday Nightmares" program block. I recently found my home recorded copy on VHS and decided to revisit it. Honestly... after all these years Grotesque is still a fun movie.

The premise/plot is crazy, the acting is over the top and the make up effects are crude.But hey...that's all part of the charm. As an avid punk rock enthusiast in the 80's this movie was a campy must see for my circle of friends. Granted it's more of a "made for TV" kind of vibe as opposed to say Repo Man, Return of the Living Dead, Dudes, Class of 1984 or heck even Valley Girl but it still fits. Grotesque is one of those flicks you put on when you get home after an evening of partying and hanging out with friends and just want to space out. My friends watched it for Linda Blair but personally, I always watched it for the actress that played "Shelly". Michelle Bensoussan was absolutely beautiful AND bad ass! Oh and it also featured featured Robert "Maniac Cop" Z'Dar!!!

Check it out if you get the chance otherwise...I guess you had to be there.
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Very strange movie...
Wizard-820 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Grotesque" is quite often a most bizarre cinematic experience, namely because it keeps changing its tone. It first seems to be setting itself up as a home invasion movie, but eventually it changes to a monster on the loose movie, and then it shifts to being a revenge exercise. With these abrupt changes in tone, it may be understandable that some potential viewers might think that the movie is strange enough to be perversely entertaining. Not so fast. For the most part, the movie isn't that energetic - it takes forever to set up the situation in the first third or so of the movie, and there are large chunks in the remainder of the movie that are somewhat tedious. And even when the movie does get going, it still feels somewhat soft and lacking energy - a harder and more vigorous edge probably would have helped things. The movie does have its moments here and there, but I think most people would be more entertained by reading about the movie than sitting down and watching the entire package.
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5/10
Some Good Ideas Get Lost
chow91321 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
So this is some kind of slasher flick right? Well actually no. It's more of a home invasion flick meets a rape revenge flick without the revenge.

I'm only writing this review because there are some clever ideas here which get lost due to meaningless scenes irrelevant to the plot. The story should have spent much more time building clues to the reveal.

The plot: Linda Blair and her best friend travel to a small town for a relaxing weekend with Blair's parents. Why do we spend 20 minutes getting to know Blair and her friend as they travel? NO REASON at all! In fact Blair and her friend are not even the heroines. Their characters are simply more victims.

Blair's parents are actually developed more as characters! Mr. Blair is a life long want to be gore FX man. He's never actually worked in Hollywood, he just does it as a hobby. He's spent his whole life playing elaborate pranks on his wife and daughter. As I said, Mr. and Mrs. Blair are developed more as characters than Blair herself.

That night a gang of stereotypical 80s hair metal punks invades the Blair home under in inexplicable theory that the Blair family is rich. They're not. Mr. and Mrs. Blair are beaten to death with random household objects. That's right, the robbers aren't even armed with switch blades.

The murders are being observed by a deformed man. (the first we've seen of him) Is he friend or foe? Well since he does begin attacking the gang he must be OK.

The mutant's sudden appearance leads to a clumsy chase into the woods with the gang chasing Blair into the snow while at the same time fleeing the mutant.

"We need to split up." says the gang's leader, and we can see where this is going. This way the one unarmed man can kill the four of them rather than the four of them simply standing together. The deformed man isn't some giant hulking mass. He's just some deformed guy unable to speak.

By daylight a unit of rangers arrives on the scene. Why? No one's called the police, there hasn't been a gun shot and no one's gone missing yet.

The police shoot and killed the deformed man, despite the fact he's unarmed and hasn't shown any signs of violence in front of them, over the objections of a civilian.

Blair is left in a coma and the surviving gang leader and his girlfriend blame the Blair family murders on the mutant.

What about Blair's friend? What about her? I rewatched this part three times. She just disappears from the film altogether at the house! Presumably she was also murdered?

At the police station they're unable to charge the gang since the sheriff explains, "In a court of law you still need evidence." So their fingerprints all over the house and one the murder weapons isn't enough?

The sheriff also questions the civilian whom turns out to be Uncle Blair. Who's never been introduced. "Why didn't you want us to shoot that man?" Maybe because he was an innocent unarmed man!!!

Immediately after the gang's release Uncle Blair kidnaps them and brings them back to the house, which hasn't been sealed off as a crime scene!!!! There isn't even police tape!!! Instead Uncle Blair reveals himself as a plastic surgeon who's set up an operating room (in the middle of a crime scene).

SPOILER WARNING! The big reveal is that Uncle Blair himself is deformed. His brother used his FX talents to made him a mask to pass as normal. The mutant was his retarded and deformed son. "I didn't have the heart to put him away. So my brother and his wife agreed to hide him for me." So locking his son away from the world and hiding him as a shameful secret was more loving than simply having him live in a home for the retarded? Thanks dad!

Predictably Uncle Blair uses his plastic surgery skills to deform the gang and then locks them away in the same space inside the house where his retarded son was imprisoned. What about getting revenge on the cops whom actually murdered his son in cold blood?

But there's a problem in the projection both. That's right, the film brakes the fourth wall because Frankenstein's monster and the wolfman didn't like the way the movie portrayed them. Yeah... that's the ending.

So as I said, there are some interesting elements here like the deformed plastic surgeon getting revenge by deforming the gang but it all gets lost.

Why do we spend 20 minutes focusing on Blair's character if she's just going to be another victim? Why do they do a great job building up Mr. and Mrs. Blair's characters only to quickly kill them off? And Uncle Blair is a Johnny come lately.
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6/10
Wasted potential
Tikkin28 January 2006
I think other reviewers have been a little harsh on this film. OK so the whole "movie-within-a-movie" aspect did ruin it, but if you can overlook that you can see what could have been an effective little horror flick. The storyline is basic, but that is what makes it so good. A group of punks (that reminded me of the crazy guys in Last House On The Left) go looking for money from a retired film effects maker. They murder him, and other members of the family. But the tables are turned when they find a deformed "thing" in the house (who reminds me of Leatherface) who chases and kills them. The "thing" chases them out into the forest and snow. Sounds simple but it works very well. People will complain that there was no gore in the movie - to me this was one of those movies that didn't need gore.

Everything starts to fall apart when the "thing" is killed and the remaining two punks are taken to the police for questioning. What follows is boring dialogue in the police station. After that we get an explanation of what the "thing" was and why the murdered guy was raising him. After that...well...I won't spoil it. What follows is stupid and pathetic and completely ruins what could have been a neat little film.

Overall I would say that this is one of those films that failed to reach its potential, and I hate it when that happens! I would urge people to see it as it does have "something" about it, but remember that there is a stupid ending and boring dialogue at the end. In fact I think it would've been better if they'd ended the film as soon as the "thing" was shot dead, so perhaps that would be the best place to stop watching.
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So Stupid and Bizarre That It Remains Slightly Entertaining
Michael_Elliott20 May 2016
Grotesque (1988)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Lisa (Linda Blair) takes her best friend Kathy (Donna Wilkes) to her family's home up in the mountains so that she can meet her father (Guy Stockwell) who just happens to be a make-up artist for Hollywood horror films. Soon terror strikes when a group of thugs break into the house and begins killing people but there's a creature hiding in the walls who takes revenge.

GROTESQUE is a pretty bad horror film but I must say that it's just bizarre enough to where it kept me slightly entertaining throughout the running time. The entire film seems to be three or four different movies rolled into one and none of it is all that well made or acted but there's just something off about the picture that keeps you entertained in what's going on.

I say this because the film does do a good job at keeping you off guard or at least surprising you by the twists and turns. This includes when and how certain characters are killed off and the extremely strange way it ends. The movie has a couple twists in the end that are actually unique to say the least. Kind of stupid but it's something different than what you normally see.

As I said, the performances aren't the greatest but Blair, who also served as a producer, is decent in her time on the screen. What really kills the movie is the lack of any real suspense or even laughs. What's worse is that there's really nothing too memorable here and especially the death scenes that are very cheap. It seems the filmmaker didn't know what type of film they wanted to make so we've got an almost PG-rated item without much going.
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6/10
"Society won't accept ugliness".
mylimbo16 February 2013
What to make of it… tough one. At least you can say that it's rather an unpredictable ride. A REALLY unpredictable one. So many plot twists, changing plot themes and criss-crossing sub-genres made it unfocused and jarring… while also including its mean-spirited and unpleasant details. "Grotesque" is a low-budget shocker that's all round twisted and trashy entertainment with names like Guy Stockwell, Tab Hunter, Donna Wilkes, Robert Z'Dar and genre favourite Linda Blair (who also was co-producer) starring. Excluding Z'Dar… Hunter, Blair and Wilkes actually give solid performances, however there were some very over-the-top acting on show that provided some silly laughs. A group of punks led by a laughably off his head Brad Wilson take the cake, although the actors playing the local authorities (Charles Dierkop) fair no better with some ridiculous dialogues and interrogation skills. For most part it moves at a decent pace (but it does kind of hit a bump when the police hit the screen), holds an effective backwoods atmosphere and the serviceable direction delivers the cat-and-mouse suspense along with the grisly jolts. The make-up FX is cheap and tatty, but well pulled off move magic for its restrictions and is important to the story. The plot throws in everything but the kitchen sink, but while misguided and daft it mainly plays it on a serious note although it does a good job catching you off guard and the amount times it does that it goes on to feel like a little in-joke. Now the off-the-wall ending you could say probably took it one step too far, but never does it feel out of place because of what has gone before it. A clunky, but eccentric B-movie.
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7/10
Tagline when I saw it - "For all the ugly people"
mchellappa31 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this shortly after it was released, on TV. It is about how "beautiful people" think they have the right to do whatever they like, whereas ugly people are called monsters and freaks and have to hide themselves. It is about the so called standards of good looks that have been set, which deprive those who do not conform of any hope of a normal life. This is exemplified by how the punkers are let off, just because they look clean and wholesome and lie their heads off! The so-called monster who is just a normal person avenging the killing of his family, is too deformed to benefit from a mask. Tab Hunter is also a grotesque in a mask (his own face!). He captures the two remaining punkers who have been let off and subjects them to that fate worse than death - he disfigures them. Poetic justice, I call it. This goes beyond horror, to the psychological conditioning Madison Avenue subjects us to every day, every minute.
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