A young man, Luther, became obsessed with the carnival performers who bite the heads off of chickens. Years later, Luther is about to be released from a sanitarium after killing three people by using sharpened metal teeth. Deemed as being fit for society and is released, Luther picks up right were he left off and rips the throat out of an elderly woman. To avoid going to jail, he hides out in a woman's car where she unknowingly takes Luther back to her house where her nightmare will begin.
Geek - \gēk\: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake.
I won't lie, the first time I heard the title "Luther the Geek" I thought it was going be like Troma's other title "Killer Nerd" and be about a killer geek. It wasn't until I actually watched the movie did I realize that they meant geek as in the original definition, for the movie. The benefits of watching "Luther the Geek" don't end with education, it is also a solid little horror movie and another great distributed title by the folks at Troma.
What's scarier than carnie folk? Carnie folk that abduct you and keep you tied up in your own home while they murder people around you. I don't know about you, but that scenario is pretty goddamn scary and then to have it amplified by having the abductor/killer smell of cabbage and lower-class. Well, somebody hand me a clean pair of shorts. "Luther the Geek" takes the typical horror/exploitation concept of the home-invasion based abduction and puts the twist of having the maniac be a wanna-be geek performer with metal teeth and an affinity towards ripping out the necks of his victims. Did I mention that the killer, Luther, also thinks he's a chicken and acts like one?
Even though "Luther the Geek" does have a pretty good following with the Troma crowd, I think it would have become more of a cult title had the killer not be so silly with his bawking and rooster-esque strutting. Personally, I liked the unique character twist, it made it a little more interesting. It certainly did add to the comedy as well and make the movie a little lighter as the rest of it is pretty light on humor. At the same time though because it is such a silly character quirk, I think it becomes a hang up for a lot of people. The movie actually maintains a pretty serious tone through out and does actually try to be frightening with the story of a madman holding a woman and her daughter hostage as he kills people. The movie manages to build a good amount of tension and suspense but then it kind of takes the wind out of its sails when you suddenly hear the killer bawking. Still, when you watch the movie you can't help but get that there is a tongue-in-cheek nature to it all but just not enough to make me want to call it a horror-comedy.
There is no getting around it; "Luther the Geek" is a silly movie. In only some aspects though. In general it is actually a fairly well made movie; it does build that tension of scenes of not knowing what Luther is going to do, if people will escape, will they get caught, etc. The movie can even get nasty with Luther ripping massive chunks of flesh from the necks of his victims and also methodical and clever, not just a goofy chicken lovin' killer. A number of people seem to over look the fact that it is actually a well made and executed home-invasion movie, especially in the low-budget realm. Then again, I guess you can be distracted from laughing while Luther folds and flaps his arms as if they are wings.