Forgotten Films: Six-String Samurai (1998)
This is the 95th in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
Willie Siros introduced me to this weird and wacky film several years ago and I enjoyed it then. A few months back I got to thinking about it and put it into my Netflix queue and, shortly after Christmas, it showed up.
Utterly ridiculous in its concept, it is still a fun film. That concept? In 1957 the Russians bombed the US and most of it died. One area that survived is Lost Vegas which immediately crowned Elvis as its King. Now, 40 years later, he has died and every rocker left in the US is headed there to take over the throne. And, in a rip-off of, or homage to, American Graffiti and Vanishing Point we have a radio narrator (the Werewolf, sounding like a poor Wolfman Jack) providing some data dumps and information at key parts of the movie.
Our hero, Buddy (Lance Falcon, who co-wrote the film and was a producer), is traveling to Vegas with his old, very worn suit, a flimsy umbrella, broken glasses, and a 57 Six String Hollowbody guitar with a samurai sword attached. IMDB points out that the actual guitar in the film is 1965-1966 Martin GT Series Hollowbody instead.
Buddy encounters many odd folks on his picaresque journey, including the Chinese bowlers the Pin Pals and the Red Elvises. He defeats both groups though it is eventually Death (aka Top Hat, looking like Slash after a really bad bender with Axl Rose and Keith Richards in Limehouse that lasted a week) who kills them. The Red Elvises (a Russian-American rock band specializing in rockabilly, surf music ad weirdness), with their giant electric balalaika, provided much of the music throughout the film.
Along the way, Buddy picks up the Kid (Justin McGuire) or rather; the Kid steals a car and picks Buddy up. For most of the film, his dialogue consists of screaming unintelligibly. A root canal is preferable to watching him on the screen. But, I put up with it because, despite the flaws, it is a fun film.
Buddy and the Kid encounter many weird-dos on their way including the cannibalistic Cleaver family and the Little Man (Gabrille Pimenter) and the wind turbine guys in their space suits and the Russian army.
Eventually as all road stories must, there comes the confrontation with Death and his goofy archers just outside of Lost Vegas. You have to watch it to see how that part turns out.
As I said, I like this film. It is a low budget entertainment (IMDB puts the budget at $2,000,000 and shows a domestic gross of $124,000. But, it has a fun spirit to it. Falcon and co-writer/director Lance Mungia seem to have handled multiple jobs throughout the film as well as their family and all their friends, much like The Evil Dead and Sam Raimi 15 years earlier.
As I said, it is available from Netflix and copies are available from the usual online sources. I liked it but your mileage may vary. Check it out.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.