A small-town crime boss accepts delivery of a stolen car, only to find there's a baby in the back-seat. He and his transvestite "wife" cut out the boy's tongue and raise him as a mute ... See full summary »
A small-town crime boss accepts delivery of a stolen car, only to find there's a baby in the back-seat. He and his transvestite "wife" cut out the boy's tongue and raise him as a mute accomplice in their crimes. When the grown "Sonny Boy" escapes and tries to make contact with the outside world, the attention he draws to his warped family results in darkly-humored mayhem. Written by
Terminally weird indie film with Paul L. Smith playing Slue, a small town crime boss. David Carradine plays his transvestite (I think) squeeze, Pearl, while Brad Dourif and Sydney Lassick are his two henchmen, Weasel and Charlie P. Weasel kills a couple and steals their car, which he brings to Slue. He didn't realize, however, that the couple's baby was asleep in the back. Slue wants to feed the kid to the hogs, but Pearl sees him as the son he could never have. They raise him as a killer to be used against Slue's enemies. They also cut out his tongue as a birthday present?! When Sonny Boy gets loose, his actions threaten to turn the town against Slue.
I had wanted to see this one after reading about it in "Terror on Tape", and TCM gave me the chance when they aired it as part of their Underground lineup. As you can plainly see from the plot description, it's certainly offbeat. Sort of an allegory in disguise for the effects of child abuse, you might expect this to be a disturbing film. Not even close. Instead, it's just strange. Slue has an old canon, and in a wicked scene, he uses it to blow apart a nosy deputy. There are also some obvious parallels to Frankenstein towards the end. Had I not known it beforehand, I would have been shocked to see that this was released in '89. It felt like something straight out of the 70's. The main giveaway was the computer font which tells how much time had passed.
While I would hesitate to call "Sonny Boy" a good film, it's worth a look if only to say that you've seen it. For fans of bizarre cinema, there's enough of a novelty present to warrant at least one viewing. Personally, I'm still not 100% sure if Carradine was supposed to be playing a guy in drag or an actual woman.
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