The Carrier (1988)

Holy shit, this fucking movie.

If The Abomination is a Shot On Video (SOV) exploration of disease and religion, madness and murder straight out of Texas, this is its oddball rural Michigan brother that has much higher production values.

This is a movie where if I describe it to you, you’ll say, “There’s no way that that is a movie and no way that that much weird can be sustained across an entire movie.”

But you’d be wrong.

Jake’s parents died in a fire that some in town blame him for. He just wants to come to the bar, get drunk and be left alone, but someone has to call him out as a killer. And maybe someone in the bar actually did the killing and not him. But no matter what, Jake really does encounter some black creature in the woods, the kind that people whisper about in that weird bar that Jake should have avoided. But then, even though Jake survives the attack, he’s left with a scar and a disease that makes him — unknown to all in town — the carrier of a strange plague which spreads to every inanimate object that he touches. When anyone touches what Jake has touched, they are dissolved into that object.

Not long into this movie and everyone in town is covered in garbage bags and post-apocalyptic gear and breaking into religious madness and herding cats to use to test anything that has been claimed by the carrier’s horrible touch.

1950’s Sleepy Rock, Oregon may as well be your town during COVID-19, a disease that no one was sure where it came from and how they could get it and all turning against one another. Of course, this movie was about AIDS way back in 1988, but its theme is even more in your face true today than way back when.

Director and writer Nathan J. White honestly should have made more movies than this one and done effort. He was aided by Peter Deming, who was the director of photography on Evil Dead IILost Highway and the Twin Peaks 2017 series.

Every time I thought, “This is getting way too silly,” the movie would redeem itself or get even weirder and sillier, which I appreciate to no end. This is why regional films are so important: there were no studio notes or people saying, “None of this makes any sense.” Therefore, it all makes perfect sense.

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