IDAHO: The Being

Featuring no less than three Oscar-winners in the cast(!), this post-Alien smalltown shocker goes right for the throat, mixing fears of environmental disaster and an ooey-gooey killer mutant with touches of odd humor and a Jonathan Demme-esque flair for local color. In a potato-producing Idaho town, toxic waste that’s being dumped into the water has left the populace jittery, even as the politicians (like José Ferrer) and scientists (like Martin Landau) insist everything is fine — and as a radioactive man-thing continues to chomp down on the town’s teens, farmers and society mavens alike. This strangely fascinating hillbilly cousin to the likes of both C.H.U.D. and Larry Cohen’s then-contemporary output features buckets of neon sludge, and a cast of enough slumming celebs to give off the feel of an Irwin Allen disaster movie that’s somehow morphed into a ‘50s monster-on-the-loose drive-in picture. Plus, director Jackie Kong slyly works in enough genuinely inspired surprises to keep everyone on their toes, including an utterly bizarre B&W nightmare sequence involving Landau and Laugh-In regular Ruth Buzzi that packs an unexpected surrealist punch.
Dir. Jackie Kong, 1983, 35mm, 82 min.