SONNY BOY has to be one of the most bizarre and unique films that Scream Factory has put out thus far. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as “horror,” but because of its cult aesthetic, it definitely will appeal to genre fans.
Shot in 1989 under the direction of Robert Martin Carroll, from a script by Graeme Whifler, the film opens with a young Brad Dourif robbing a couple at a motel and stealing their car. Unbeknownst to him, their infant child was tucked away in the back seat. He gives the child over to Slue, a petty crook that seems to run the whole town and his girlfriend played by David Carradine (!) immediately falls in love with the baby and wants to raise it as their own.
Slue (played by Paul L. Smith of the legendry movie PIECES) reluctantly agrees, but they raise the child and keep him locked up away from the outside world. For his 6th birthday, Slue cuts the boy’s tongue out and begins training him to fight the way you’d train an animal to fight. From a horror standpoint, the story can be looked at as a savage child-gone-crazy tale. At certain times, Slue unleashes the boy against his enemies and he brutally kills them with his bare hands and teeth. But for the majority of the picture, Sonny Boy (played by Michael Griffin) narrates in a very thoughtful and soft spoken nature.
At one point, he breaks out and makes his way to town where he stumbles upon a biker couple having sex whom immediately attack him for snooping. But then, his presence kind of morphs into a Frankenstein’s monster syndrome where the townspeople all want to hunt him down and lynch him! Believe it or not, it gets even weirder than I’m describing. I just can’t figure out exactly who this movie is for, and yet I was never bored and felt compelled to keep watching it.
Among the many questions I had, why did David Carradine choose to play Pearl, Slue’s lover? Was she originally written in the script as transsexual or a transvestite? Or as a woman and they chose to cast not only a man, but a star like David Carradine in that role? Also, David provides a lot of the original music we hear, so this must’ve been a project very near and dear to him! But why? I haven’t gotten to it yet, but the Blu-Ray has two new separate audio commentaries with both the director Robert Martin Carroll and writer Graeme Whifler and I fully intent to rewatch the film with both of them.
Brad Douriff is also pretty amazing in the flick as Weasel, but then again, he’s always great. It’s just fun to see him play such a bonkers character out of this “family” dynamic. He’s not necessarily a good guy. In fact, he murders the couple at the top of the film and yet he has that way about him where he still comes across as likable.
Lastly, don’t let that cover art below fool you. It definitely implies that the movie is a horror film, but it’s more in line with something like BAD RONALD, only much, much weirder. You can hear me talk more about SONNY BOY on the latest episode of Killer POV right here. It’s now available of Blu-Ray from Scream Factory.
For those of you just looking for something completely different, I can guarantee you that SONNY BOY is unlike any other movie you’ve ever seen.