Originally released as WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, this slow-moving and fairly dull first feature by the director of the PENITENTIARY series is a dead-serious film with a thoroughly laughable premise. It really only has one must-see scene for mavens of psychotronic films, but that
scene is a doozy.
After being sent to prison for three years by a frustrated, sadistic cop who tried to castrate him, drug dealer Charles Murray (Marlo Monte) is back on the street. And he's not happy. He can't get a job because of his prison record, and his former girlfriend is dancing topless and sleeping with
his ex-partner in crime. The only good thing in his life is his new relationship with reformed hooker Carmen (Reatha Grey)--and his revenge scheme against the men who put him in prison, which is going swimmingly.
It seems Charles developed peculiar powers in prison. He can mesmerize women into doing his bidding simply by giving them a glimpse of his penis. Even more miraculous, he can will his penis to grow to dozens of feet in length. Using these powers, he entrances the wives of the brutal cop and the
prosecutor into letting him into their homes, where he strangles the husbands with his oversize member. Attempting the same thing with the judge, he is ambushed by the cop's partner, who has figured out the bizarre story. Charles flees to the roof and threatens to throw himself off, until they
bring Carmen around to talk him down. Instead, she screams at him to jump.
Never is it explained how Charles gained his miraculous abilities. Early on, the story wanders away from Charles to follow the sadistic cop, who is exposed to radiation in the course of duty. This seems to be leading somewhere, but instead he simply vanishes from the film until his death scene an
hour later. The fact that the cop's wife is sleeping with a black man (when he confronts her about it, she basically calls him an impotent wimp) actually seems to have been edited into the wrong spot in the movie--it would have meant a lot more if it came before the near-gelding of Charles. Cause
and effect are simply not an issue here--nor continuity, or logic; or, for that matter, acting ability.
Shot on the cheap, the film suffers from a nonprofessional cast and location sound that frequently renders the dialogue unintelligible. Yet those very drawbacks lend it a tangible grittiness not unlike SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG (1971), its most obvious predecessor. Filmmaker Jamaa Fanaka
(also responsible for the unsettling music, a proto-industrial mix of noise and occasional jazz bleats) hints at some intriguing ambiguity in his characters (a judge who sentences pimps while soliciting whores; a good-guy cop who turns his head while his partner snips off the odd genitalia), but
never fully develops them. The cuckolded cop, in all probability, would have made a more interesting subject than Charles. Give him the same story line, with radiation its cause--attack of the fifty-foot... Never mind.
Logic and continuity take a vacation again at the end when the good cop visits a psychiatrist for no reason and elicits the name of a patient the doctor never saw, who dreamt he had an expandable penis capable of killing people. Of course, nobody goes to giant killer penis movies for continuity.
And yes, the scene of the prosecutor falling back in terror as the murder weapon snakes across the floor toward him is a definite keeper. All the more so because of the smile on his wife's face as the prosecutor struggles with the firehose around his neck.
For what it's worth, the unremittingly grim film does have one apparent joke in it, although one has to sit through most of the credits to catch it. Music, we're told, is performed by the "Little Willie Peters" band. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1975
- Rating: NR
- Review: Originally released as WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, this slow-moving and fairly dull first feature by the director of the PENITENTIARY series is a dead-serious film with a thoroughly laughable premise. It really only has one must-see scene for mavens of p… (more)