Evan Makrogiannis and Brian Weaver’s The Super is not a nice film, but genre fans with a taste for grindhouse will undoubtedly find that a plus. Gritty, mean, and dripping in dirt and misanthropy, it’s an aggressive throwback to a time when New York City based horror couldn’t have enough nudity, tattoos, severed limbs or racial epithets. If you find yourself longing for those simpler days, then this very well might be the film for you.
George (an energetic, if a little uneven Demetri Kallas) is a Vietnam veteran now working as the superintendent in a dingy Queens apartment building, much to the annoyance of his wheelchair bound wife (played by genre stalwart Lynn Lowry) and shy daughter. Although he seems to try his best to put on a smiling face, George is clearly one broken faucet away from snapping into a violent rage.
What keeps him sane? There’s the transvestite wanderer who helps him with some of the heavier labor. A friendly new couple who move in and seem to represent some sort of possible friendship, and a few vet pals who back him up in the occasional bar fight. It’s the peripheral characters of The Super that help to create a true outer borough portrait. Much like some of those grimy NYC ‘80s relics like Driller Killer or Maniac, The Super gains heavy leverage from its ambitions in creating a full mini-society scrapping out a life over the bridge.
After one neighbor finally crosses the line, George teams up with his mysterious behind-the-rent Russian tenant who knows a thing or two about covering up dead bodies, mostly because her side business is snuff film. It’s an odd pairing that leads George on a mini-murder spree, killing his lesser liked renters in a range of gory styles.
The Super has a lot of appeal for fans of late ’70s/early ‘80s horror, never backing down from its self-aware seediness. The film tries a tad too hard at times, particularly in its final third as it stuffs just about anything taboo (including necrophilia) into the last reel. While this fits the mood of the film, the constant need to top itself takes a little something away from the more human story of George as a damaged man with a genuine story to tell.
This can be forgiven once the climax starts rolling, as The Super incorporates two major twists that are both unsettling and oddly poignant. There’s an insanely violent payoff and a nihilistic sense of closure, even as the film refuses to play nice in its final moments.
The Super is not a film made for the general masses, but those looking for an unflinching stab at modern exploitation will find plenty to squirm about. To learn more about the film, visit its official website at http://www.thesuper-movie.com.