Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sonny Boy (1989)

Written by Graeme Whifler
Directed by Robert Martin Carroll

Sonny Boy...Michael Boston
Slue...Paul L. Smith
Pearl...David Carradine
Weasel...Brad Dourif

An extremely animated petty thief (and sometimes killer) in a Sgt. Pepper coat named Weasel steals a car and takes it to Slue, the local crime lord and fencer of all things stolen. What Weasel didn't realize is that there was a baby boy stowed safely away in the backseat, who is quickly scooped up by Slue's "wife" Pearl (John drag!) and claimed as her own. Slue would rather just feed the boy to the pigs, but when it becomes apparent that Pearl isn't going to let that happen, he decides to make the best of a bad situation by raising Sonny Boy as his own personal killing machine.

As Sonny gets older, this entails cutting out his tongue, locking him up in a cell, feeding him live chickens, and torturing him with countless "games" that Parker Brothers have never even heard of. He's driven around in the back of a modified Ice Cream truck and then released upon anyone who Slue deems deserving of death.

The real trouble begins when, like the dog in nearly every Disney film, Sonny Boy breaks loose of the Leash That Daddy Built and heads out on the town for his own distinct brand of high-flying adventures! Too bad for Slue that these adventures threaten to topple his criminal empire.

Sonny Boy is, well...absolutely insane. It's not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is greatly entertaining, and that can go a long way on a late night--which is precisely when this movie should be enjoyed. It's just so wacky and off-kilter that it begs for the midnight hour. And I mean that in the best possible way. The folksy theme song is performed by David Carradine himself, for Christ's sake, sounding amazingly like the great John Prine.

Certain aspects of this film are analogous to Frankenstein--call it the White Trash Post-Modern Prometheus--but I prefer to think of it as the mentally unbalanced older brother of Unleashed.

Rated R
96 Minutes
United States

Sonny Boy is not currently available on DVD.  Read more about it at the IMDB, and check your local listings, bitches!



  1. I love this movie. A friend forced me to watch this years ago and I've never stopped thanking him. When Carradine died this past year "Pearl" was the first thing I thought of. I love Dourif in this too. This really needs to be released on DVD, it's a cult classic waiting to happen.-Unk

  2. Definitely checking this one out. Great review!


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