There are times when Scream Factory makes me question the movies they release under the “Horror” label Scream Factory. Then there are times when I simply have to question my sanity because of the things they choose to release on the “Horror” label because Sonny Boy did just that. Knowing little to nothing about Sonny Boy, I didn’t fully get the gist of the movie or what I was to expect save that it was a cult classic and worthy of a view. Hell, David Carradine is in it; must be worth a watch. Then you start to dig a little deeper and realize that Paul L. Smith and Brad Dourif are in it and the whole thing starts to flesh out. You realize that it’s gonna be great, but WHAT is it going to be? As it turns out Sonny Boy is a movie that feels a lot more like Spider Baby with the complete filth and ferocity of a house of maniacs raising a stolen child to their own “loving” end. You have to prepare yourself to be emotional drawn by Sonny Boy. You cannot expect a whimsical fun time into the horror-verse.
What separate Sonny Boy from some of the other movies that may play on alternate lifestyles is that it is a truly brutal movie. Raising a stolen child with beatings by pipe and by fire and intimidation… the first half of the movie feels like a pile of family video clips that show just how messed up you can make a kid if you had your sadistic pants on and had no scruples. The movie does stop short of showing every ounce of abuse and at least allows you to enjoy some extremely dark moments of comedy with Brad Dourif acting like a fiery madman as well as a personal favorite Sydney Lassick playing the role of a demented by almost loving grandfather. Get through the first half of the movie and you can enjoy the second half with moments of redemption, gonzo action violence and strange mob mentality. Thank the world that David Carradine is in drag the whole time. It makes for some comic moments and actually some strangely heartwarming moments. As I type that word, “heartwarming”, I feel almost ashamed that I could find something touching in Sonny Boy.
I got through the first half of the movie, enjoyed the picture and was happy with having seen a cult movie that truly put me on the edge of my seat with both anticipation and real terror. That isn’t always comforting to come home to.
The release looks pretty damn good with a nice transfer, minimal dust and is very clear. The disc comes with BD-ROM access to the script and two separate commentary tracks that will hopefully put the whole movie in context, especially for long time fans of this dark film. Scream Factory really dug deep to find something special for fans of more obscure titles. This may not be the golden gem you were looking for, but it is certainly eye opening and powerful.
You can order Sonny Boy from Scream Factory now:
From Scream Factory:
A shattering, unforgettable performance from David Carradine (Kill Bill) powers this wickedly off-beat tale of family love gone berserk. Paul L. Smith (Midnight Express, Crimewave) and Brad Dourif (Child's Play, The Exorcist III) are also featured in powerfully moving supporting roles.
In a remote desert town, a psychopathic petty crook (Smith) and his transvestite girlfriend (Carradine) kidnap an orphaned infant, cage it like an animal, and train it to steal and kill on their command. Years later, when the half-wild Sonny Boy escapes and embarks on a bloody rampage, the couple's monstrous attempt at "child development" provokes the local populace into vengeful retaliation.
Unlike any film you've ever seen, Sonny Boy is an unsettling, wildly bizarre allegory on the devastating effects of child abuse and the violent consequences that follow.
NEW Audio Commentary With Director Robert Martin Carroll
NEW Audio Commentary With Writer Graeme Whifler
Script – 1st Draft (Accessible Via BD-ROM)