5.5/10
1,602
45 user 17 critic

The Dark Backward (1991)

R | | Comedy | 9 March 1991 (USA)
A man pursues stand-up comedy encouraged by his fellow garbage man. Though his friend, who accompanies him on accordion, continues to tell him how great he is, he actually stinks. When the ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Back to Back (1989)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Modern day western about two very different brothers, who join forces to clear their family name, from the shadow of their dead brother's blame for a bloody unsolved robbery.

Director: John Kincade
Stars: Bill Paxton, Todd Field, Apollonia Kotero
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small town police chief awaits the arrival of a gang of killers.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Cynda Williams
The Vagrant (1992)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A business man buys a house, but he has a hard time trying to get rid of its previous tenant, a dirty bum.

Director: Chris Walas
Stars: Bill Paxton, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell
Riding Fast (1988)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A daredevil motorcycle rider falls for an older artist.

Director: Djordje Milicevic
Stars: Meg Foster, Doug Greenall, Robin Mossley
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An elite group of vice cops are fired from the L.A.P.D. for being over-zealous in their war against drugs. It is immediately apparent that some of their superiors are involved in the drug ... See full summary »

Director: John Mackenzie
Stars: Brian Dennehy, Joe Pantoliano, Jeff Fahey
Monolith (1993)
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Two cops investigating the murder of a young boy become invloved in a very secret project involving alien life. Needless to say, the authorities don't want them to stick their noses into ... See full summary »

Director: John Eyres
Stars: Bill Paxton, Lindsay Frost, John Hurt
Pass the Ammo (1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A corrupt television preacher and his congregation are held hostage by a woman, her lover, and her two cousins in an attempt to avenge the theft of her inheritance. A quirky look at the ... See full summary »

Director: David Beaird
Stars: Bill Paxton, Linda Kozlowski, Tim Curry
Evilspeak (1981)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An outcast military cadet taps into a way to summon demons and cast spells on his tormentors through his computer.

Director: Eric Weston
Stars: Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joe Cortese
Trespass (1992)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two Arkansas firemen, Vince and Don, get hold of a map that leads to a cache of stolen gold in an abandoned factory in East St. Louis. What they don't know is that the factory is in the ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Bill Paxton, Ice-T, William Sadler
Brain Dead (1990)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In a showdown of man vs. machine, Martin plunges into a chaotic nightmare trying to save his mind from the megalomaniacal corporation.

Director: Adam Simon
Stars: Bill Pullman, Bill Paxton, Bud Cort
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Paul Newman, Joel Grey, Kevin McCarthy
Near Dark (1987)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A small-town farmer's son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Gus
...
Jackie Chrome
...
...
Doctor Scurvy
...
Dirk Delta
King Moody ...
...
Kitty
Danny Dayton ...
Syd
Carrie Lynn ...
Nicolette
Anna Berger ...
Mrs. Malt
Lydell M. Cheshier ...
Dexter
Tom Hodges ...
Marjorie Zipp
Theodocia Goodrich ...
Mrs. Bielfuss
Laurianne Jameson ...
Shirley
Edit

Storyline

A man pursues stand-up comedy encouraged by his fellow garbage man. Though his friend, who accompanies him on accordion, continues to tell him how great he is, he actually stinks. When the "comedian" grows a third arm out of his back, the friend uses this twist to get him signed up with a sleazy talent agent, and it begins to look like his career is on the move, even though his girlfriend has left him. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the world inside out.

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief scenes of bizarre, comic sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ciemna strona  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Adam Rifkin wrote the screenplay when he was 19 years old. See more »

Quotes

Gus: I will laugh SO hard, my stomach will burst open and spray bile all over the stage!
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Cultists are put to the test
1 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Marty Malt (Judd Nelson) is a miserable, unfulfilled garbageman who aspires to be a successful standup comic in the wake of his mundane life. He frequently performs his abysmal schtick at seamy diners and unattractive dives, with only one fan; his best friend and fellow garbageman, Gus (Bill Paxton). One day, Gus notices that Marty has a disgusting lump on his back that quickly sprouts into a fully grown human-arm. Miraculously, Marty is more popular now than he ever was before, and becomes the target of the sleazy talent agent, Jackie Chrome (Wayne Newton), who previously wanted nothing to do with Marty after seeing his loathsome act. In the mix of it all, Gus, his once faithful, dim-witted best friend turns sickeningly manipulative and controlling of his new friend's found fame, and begins to be grossly violent towards the man and his already fragile self-esteem.

As you might've guessed, The Dark Backward wants to be called a "cult movie." Whether or not it has earned that status today I cannot say, but I can say it is one of the strangest and quirkiest film I've seen in quite sometime. Adam Rifkin, a director I have lauded in the past for making the brilliant anthology film, LOOK, chronicling the lives of unsuspecting people as they are recorded numerous times a day with surveillance cameras (he followed the film up with a Showtime TV show that ran for eight episodes, as well), the cult-comedy, Detroit Rock City, about four die-hard KISS fans trying to score some tickets to their big show, and Chillerama, an anthology horror film he contributed to, is the perfect man to write and direct such a story. It is told through his trademark eclectic ways and his appetite for crudely entertaining story tricks that are so sick, depraved, and outlandish that they beg an audience to appreciate them.

The film erects one of the seamiest and dirtiest environments this side of a landfill, with some grimy cinematography, complimenting the overall tone of the film, along with presenting the characters in such a disastrous light. Our main character, Marty, always appears hunched over, drenched in his own sweat, shaking and quivering as the next setup commences. His friend, Gus, commits to some of the dirtiest acts in the film, one including eating rancid chicken found in Marty's refrigerator. The cult films I appreciate the most are ones that can't be placed in an existing genre. This isn't a comedy, because little laughing is done, drama isn't the correct word, horror is a step-up, but not quite, and any other genre doesn't prove satisfactory. It is simply film, in which we watch and immensely try and grasp long after the event is over.

In a way, the film reminds me of Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis. In that picture, we were given characters we were depressed and saddened to watch for a long period of time. I felt nothing but moroseness watching the picture, seeing De Niro's Rupert Pupkin wander aimlessly scene after scene, believing every encounter he had with someone was a genuinely meaningful one, and after watching Marty being led through his career as a comedian and a sideshow attraction by his friend Gus, I feel the same sort of moroseness.

I'm a fan of cult cinema and The Dark Backward unnervingly pushes my envelope. It is satire of epic proportions, a comedic exercise so dark and so saddening that it almost must be seen to be believed. I mean, if you can handle such a thing.

Starring: Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton, Wayne Newton, Lara Flynn Boyle, James Caan, and Rob Lowe. Directed by: Adam Rifkin.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?