The Carrier (1988)

Gregory Fortescue, Stevie Lee, Steve Dixon, Paul Silverman, Paul Urbanski, DeLaney Provencher,
The Carrier is a movie starring Gregory Fortescue, Stevie Lee, and Steve Dixon. The main character is stricken with a horrible disease, but it doesn't affect him. It spreads to every inamimate object that he touches, and then if...
  • 5.7 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Nathan J. White, Director:
  • Michael Jarema, Producer:
7 / 10

Wow....just....wow...

I'm a movie buff. I've seen thousands of films, ranging from superb to utter trash, but "The Carrier" was.... umm... something else entirely. I was making my way through an outdoor market, when I came upon a booth filled with VHS tapes from a recently closed Rental store. I found a bundle of gems, z-grade horror movies that even in the depth of my searches had never seen or even heard about. Innitially, "The Carrier" seemed the most tame of the bunch, but I was quite wrong. I expected a cheesy 80's creature feature, but instead, I got a religious, political, medical thriller with the most bizarre imagery, acting, and storyline I think I have ever been witness to. The story is basically about a despised social outcast, who is attacked by a monster/mutant/alien/metaphor/ thing(?) who passes on a deadly disease. The box informed me of that much. What it failed to mention is that the entire film is a surrealist nightmare. It's like watching a twisted medical epidemic version of Leave it to Beaver, but with violent gangs wrapped in plastic, disturbed fundamentalist religious cults and 1950's social satire. I watched the first half trying in vain to figure out what was going on and the second half wondering how on earth this thing could end. The film was not bad, it never reached a state of being boring, but it was so confusing. Part of me would really like to hear a director's commentary on this movie, maybe they would be able to explain all the metaphors and allegories that no doubt existed but just didn't shine through all of the madness. When the credits rolled, i was literally left speechless and I had to take a nap. Yes... thats the kind of movie this was. I don't know who i should recommend this to, horror fans will be left dumbfounded, Indy film lovers will lash out at the effects and muddled ideas throughout. If you get the opportunity to watch this, I would suggest a trial run. You'll be left with a head full of questions but you will be thought provoked.

7 / 10

I highly recommend this movie.

Although campy at times, this movie is full of symbolism. Also proves to be an excellent commentary on society. Made in 1988, I am positive that this movie was influenced by AIDS and the stigmas it carried at the time. Also, enjoyed the conflicts of science versus religion.

7 / 10

one of the best of horror films

has my all-time favorite non-sequitor movie line... which is "Give us your cats, we have red objects!"

I watched hundreds of horror films (4 a night) in the 80s and this stood out in the top 5 for originality and great cheesey scriptwriting.

7 / 10

Touch the wall, Jake!

Filmed in upstate Michigan by writer / director / executive producer Nathan J. White and company, the interesting, symbolic "The Carrier" is a regional, independent horror film worth checking out. While undeniably very low budget and fairly crude, it does live up to the word "horror". It shows just how ugly things can get in times of crisis when there are no real leaders. It has a certain intensity, fueled by a sense of paranoia. In that sense, it's reminiscent of "The Thing" as well as George Romeros' "The Crazies", with its plot of a biological terror striking fear into the hearts of God fearing small town Americans.

Gregory Fortescue stars as Jake Spear, a young man who lives on the fringes of the small town of Sleepy Rock. Most other people there treat him like crap, because they 100% believe him guilty of the long ago deaths of his parents. One of a select few who will actually talk to him is Treva (Stevie Lee). One night, Jake is attacked by a fabled "black thing" which badly scratches him. Unbeknownst to Jake, this has now caused him to be infected with a truly hideous disease, making him "the carrier" of the title. And this disease has a quick acting, frightening ability to dissolve its victims. The local doctor (Steve Dixon, "Mosquito") urges calm and reason, but to little avail.

The acting is largely negligible, but there's no denying the sincerity of the cast. Fortescue and Lee are reasonably appealing, Dixon is fine as the doctor, and Paul Urbanski and Patrick Butler come off fairly well as the guys in charge of two warring factions. Die hard genre fans will recognize the names of some of the crew, like composer Joseph LoDuca, who contributes a very fine score, and cinematographer Peter Deming. B movie icon Bruce Campbell is credited as a sound effects recordist. The scenery & atmosphere are nice, the visuals striking (citizens must wrap themselves in whatever material they can find), and the special effects passable for whatever they cost to make. The subject matter has some poignancy and will undoubtedly make its viewers think of things like AIDS, which was very much on peoples' minds during this decade.

"The Carrier" is somewhat obscure now, but it definitely merits a look from horror enthusiasts.

Seven out of 10.

7 / 10

Very strange things are happening in Sleepy Rock, and that's no understatement.

Now this is a flick you need to track down. It's such an odd & entertaining mixture of things, it easily gains some extra points for sheer originality. Now dig this: The little town of Sleepy Rock's teenage social outcast - Jake, who lives in a ramshackle wooden shack and has to bear the trauma of having burned down his parents' house, killing them in the process - gets attacked by a mysterious black, hairy creature one night. He manages to shoot it and the thing just dissolves in the nightly rain. But, having sustained injuries, Jake now is infected with something and becomes the carrier and instigator of a plague the likes you've never seen before. The infection spreads through inanimate objects only - literately anything you can imagine, from books to trees and what not else - and people who touch such an infected object get consumed by it. And that's basically just the backdrop (main threat) for the whole plot. Because while a fierce storm has isolated the whole town, all its inhabitants pretty much go crazy and turn onto one another. What all happens next, you'll have to witness for yourself. All I can say is that there's a lot going on in this film, often pushing the boundaries of common sense to a ridiculous extent. For instance...: People go on a cat hunt to collect as many cats possible for testing if or not inanimate objects are infected (yes, that includes throwing some innocent kitten against a wall to see if the poor thing dissolves or not). Some priest preaches religious madness, gathering a flock of believers. Some doctor tries to save the town while protecting the carrier. Two clans set off an all out war against each other as if they were the sole survivors in some imaginative post-apocalyptic world. Children are hunted down & killed. A naked woman gets consumed by a mirror. And you haven't seen the end of it yet. There's some blackly humorous ways about this film, yet it's hard to pinpoint where all it might have been intended or not. There's some strange symbolism of various sorts spread throughout the film and allegedly the whole 'infection' can be interpreted as a metaphor for the AIDS virus (at the time uprising as the most dangerous disease of the '80s). Although I imagine it can be as easily interpreted as a reference to the medieval black plague. "The Carrier" seems a pretty obscure and forgotten film and naturally it doesn't have the best of production values. As much as the whole story might get ridiculous on numerous occasions, it's also very original & tense. Pretty much unlike any other movie you've ever seen before.