Carrier, The (1988)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

Adults wearing Hefty bags argue over the proprietorship of cats and apocalyptic chaos ensues. This garners my utmost respect.

With George Romero-lite ambition in tow, The Carrier presents a series of unconnected plot tangents before snowballing into victory. Bigfoot is one of the tangents. I have no idea what I just watched, but it made me smile.

Did Jake burn his parents to a crisp? Maybe. That’s nothing to concern ourselves with, but it did prompt a man to yell, “WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE!” The big picture looks like this: A plague has run amok in a small town. Jake, the anti-anti-hero, appears to be The Carrier of said disease. He touches something and it melts. That is, unless his hand lands on an inanimate object. In that case, the object itself becomes a conduit of death. The townsfolk test his powers. On chicks and kittens. I’d like to believe that the combined forces of the Bible, a good doctor, and hundreds of people clad in Saran Wrap, bubblewrap, and CinchSaks could prevent a bloodbath over the kidnapping of a cat. But it cannot be so. Also, Jake falls in love.

If The Carrier had a larger budget, schooled actors, and non-psychotic editing, it would be unwatchable. Thankfully, that’s not the case. This is a blast of strangeness that can only be made by people who have no money and no understanding of what it is that they’re doing. We’ve got the surreal high school play-acting, a plot that revolves around kittens, and an admirable-yet-trite attempt at social commentary. Though light on actual bloodshed, The Carrier’s penchant for jittery tangents and unexpected occurrences knocks down 99 minutes as if they were 70. This is a rare accomplishment, one you appreciate more after watching the endless The Nesting. Speaking of rare accomplishments, there are also dueling cameos by Camus’s The Plague and Dr. Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

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