Primal Rage (1988)

Patrick Lowe, Cheryl Arutt, Sarah Buxton, Mitch Watson,
Rage - Furia primitiva is a movie starring Patrick Lowe, Cheryl Arutt, and Sarah Buxton. A scientist at a Florida university inadvertantly creates a "rage virus" while performing experiments intended to restore dead brain tissue in...
  • 5.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Umberto Lenzi, James Justice, Writer:
  • Vittorio Rambaldi, Director:
  • William J. Immerman, Josi W. Konski, Producer:
5 / 10

An animal of a good time.

Virtually a little unknown b-grade campus-based oddball shocker that's efficiently catered for, but doesn't break any ground with its unspectacular story structure (written by Umberto Lenzi) and systematic thrills, despite its unsparingly nasty tone (which goes overboard in the film's last 30 minutes at a Halloween party) and suitably icky if makeshift make-up FX and special effects (done by Carlo Rambaldi who did such films like; 'Planet of the Vampires (1965)', 'A Bay of Blood (1971)', 'King Kong (1976)', 'Possession (1981)' and 'E.T (1982)'). While two different films, the way the story flowed kind of had me thinking of the 1989 sequel 'Gnaw: Food of the Gods II', but this one wasn't that shonky and campy. Again there's a focus on a cringe-worthy 80s tune, which oddly makes it way in the opening credits (which will have you thinking what am I getting myself into?) and then during the Halloween costume party as the band is performing live. Oh good.

The story sees two college students Sam Nash and Frank Duffy working as journalists for the campus paper, where they suspect a professor there is doing inhumane animal experiments in the quest to restore dead brain cells. So Frank sneaks into the laboratory one night to take pictures, where he encounters a very aggressive baboon that in the process of breaking out bites him. Slowly he begins to feel the effects, he starts forming ugly looking sores and then uncontrollable bursts of raging violence takes over. Soon the virus begins to spread leaving a bloody trail and Sam along with his girlfriend try to put a stop to it.

After quite a slow-going set-up, it goes on to build up a head of steam with some grisly strokes with chaos erupting and a few moments of kinkiness from a couple of ridiculously twisted beef heads. Vittorio Rambaldi direction is efficiently surefooted for its minor budget, but the half-baked execution just lacks that punch where atmosphere isn't projected and the suspense doesn't eventuate too much than just unpleasantly rowdy jolts. Then at the end you get sudden jump scene that comes from nowhere, as like a second thought because they forgot about a character. Claudio Simonetti's wonky score is just like a ragingly spreading virus with primal instincts and Antonio Climati lenses with a professional curtness. The performances are modest with Patrick Lowe and Cheryl Arutt making likable heroines. Sarah Buxton also shines in her part. Bo Svenson presenting a fashionable ponytail makes light work as the devious professor.

Also there's a connection there with some of the cast and crew which saw them do the Italian cash-in of an American influenced slasher 'Nightmare Beach' in the same year.

Passably average, but it does have some twisted novelty moments within.

6 / 10

In No Way Related to the Video Game I Played Religiously as a Teen

Remember "28 Days Later"? You know, that movie in which a viral outbreak is caused by a diseased primate and dumb environmentalists? Well, it seems like Italy got there first with the 1988 movie "Primal Rage."

Dr. Ethridge (Bo Svenson) has been working on a new experiment on baboons that's supposed to heal damaged brain tissue. There's a bit of a problem though-said baboons carry a deadly virus that can cause people to be the victim of uncontrollable, murderous rage. Well, idiot/self proclaimed "gonzo journalist" Duffy (Mitch Wilson aka unknown actor with a generic name # 2061) decides to investigate, only to get infected. And he's spreading said infection. Can dull hero Sam Ashe (Patrick Lowe) protect his new love interest Lauren (Cheryl Arutt)? Will all hell break loose? Will bad 80's fashion and hair prevail?

An Italian/North American co-production directed by Vittorio Rambaldi and written by exploitation jack of all trades Umberto Lenzi, "Primal Rage" (which has nothing to do with the video game I played religiously back in the day) is a cheap little movie made in the ass end days of Italian exploitation. At this point, only guys like Dario Argento and Michel Soavi were doing anything worthwhile. Lucio Fulci's best days were behind him, Lamberto Bava never managed to do a good follow up to his "Demons" films, Lenzi had been regulated to bad straight to video and television fair-the list goes on. So while "Primal Rage" is a bad movie (complete with bad acting, questionable direction and logic, and horrible pop songs that make it feel like one of those old TGIF sitcoms) that hasn't aged well at all, it's at least an entertaining bad movie.

The movie manages to be one of the more graphic Italian horror movies from this part of the decade, which manages to help quite a bit. The viewer gets to see a scalping, torn out throats, crushed heads, gouged out eyes and more, especially in the last 20 something minutes at a Halloween party. It's also never boring, and moves at a reasonable clip for a 91 minute movie thanks to the fact that those behind it know what it is-dumb exploitation-and for the most part delivers what the viewer wants out of it. Also, Claudio Simmnetti's score is a lot of fun, and at times reminded me of his work for Bava's "Demons", and the the climax itself offers most of what one expects from a movie like this.

It may not be a great (or good) movie, but "Primal Rage" is a nice hunk of Italian Cheese made for a Saturday night with friends and some beer.

7 / 10

It's not great but it will do for a nights entertainment.

Primal Rage isn't anything special, some people would consider it really bad but it isn't all that bad. the acting isn't bad but the movie is a bit predictable, the story line is not very original but the movie is entertaining. If you see it in the video store and you can't really find anything else you want to watch Primal Rage is a good substatute. The last half and hour of the movie makes it all very worth while. I gave Primal Rage 7/10.

10 / 10

This movie deserves cult status

At first, I thought this was going to be another killer ape picture, instead it was an very cool knock-off of David Cronenberg's "Rabid", with awesome effects by Carlo Rambaldi. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these characters go berzerk to the music of Claudio Simonetti. The gore was plentiful and the ruckus at the Halloween dance was very exciting. It was also fun to watch one of Rob Lowe's brothers in yet another B horror picture. My only problem was the dated pop tunes that plagued the movie's soundtrack.

7 / 10

Say the word? Eighties! Say the word? Rabid Monkey-Virus! Say the word? Cheese!

Leave it to the Italians to come up with one of the most engrossing, cheesiest and outrageously entertaining splatter flicks of the 80s! Umberto Lenzi, here under his favorite pseudonym Harry Kirkpatrick, wrote the fantastically bonkers script but offered the director's chair to his lesser known buddy Vittorio Rambaldi. "Primal Rage" is as eighties as it gets: the über-cheesy and misfit pop song "Say the Word" doesn't just feature once or twice but three times integrally, there are loads of beautiful girls with humongous hairdos and sexy aerobic outfits and even the obsessive evil scientist sports a ridiculous little mullet-ponytail! There were quite many horror movies with monkeys during the late 80s, but unlike you'd suspect from Lenzi, "Primal Rage" isn't a clone of "Monkey Shines", "Link" or "Shadow of Kilimanjaro". Dr. Ethridge is working at a Florida University campus and uses a baboon as guinea pig for his research involving brain diseases, but he accidentally saddled the poor animal up with a virus that invokes rage and rabies. When the rebellious campus reporter Frank Duffy breaks into Ethridge's laboratory, he releases the baboon but gets bitten and thus contaminated with the virus. Duffy passes forward the virus to a cute girl he met during a blind date and she, at her turn, contaminates a trio of vicious rapists. Each virus carrier goes on his/her own killing spree during the night of the annual campus Halloween party. "Primal Rage" is clichéd, derivative and predictable, but oh-so-entertaining! The film is fast-paced and features terrific make-up art as well as countless of gory highlights, including beheadings and impalements. Hunky 80s kid Patrick Lowe is rather annoying, but the rest of the cast is decent, with young and yummy actresses Cheryl Arutt, Sarah Buxton and Jennifer Hingel. Naturally, of course, it's Bo Svenson who steals the show as the fanatic scientist (with ponytail). Special kudos for the creative minds who thought up and designed all the dozens of great costumes that people are wearing during the Halloween party! I honestly never saw any cooler or creepier horror costumes in my life.