» » The Weirdo (1989)

Short summary

Donnie Raymond is a typical weirdo; a mildly autistic, shed-dwelling loner living in Los Angeles who is looked after by a kindly elderly woman named Miss Martins, who is his adopted mother. Lisa, Miss Martin's niece, comes to visit and is told to stay away from Donnie, who begins doing volunteer work at a local church where he meets an equally troubled teenage girl named Jenny, who becomes smitten with him and the two start a tentative romance. For the first time in his life, Donnie thinks that he has a purpose and is happy, but this is very short-lived. After years of torment and torture by his estranged mother, three neighborhood punks and their girlfriend, rejection and attempted eviction from the shed by Miss Martins, and scolding by the neighborhood cleric Reverend Cummings and the reverend's wife, the young Donnie snaps and takes out his frustration with society in particularly violent ways.

Andy Milligan filmed a version of this film in 1970 on Staten Island which remains unreleased and lost. It starred Michael St. Shaw playing the character of Willie, Melinda Dockery as Jennie and Maya Reid in a dual role as Willie's aunt and a nun.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Qucid
    If this seems a lot different from the rest of Milligan's sparse 80s output, it's because this is actually a remake of a mid-70s Milligan film that was lost. In many ways it is the ultimate Milligan film, undone by the same elements that did in Milligan's last few films: the gritty, sleazy ensembles of "The Ghastly Ones" and "Fleshpot on 42nd Street" are replaced by bland actors from the fringes of respectable Hollywood. Beyond that the crazy, manic energy of Milligan's early films, the screaming actors, traumatic camera-work, and canned background music are long gone, replaced by a modicum of "professionalism".

    Unlike his other 80s films, however, there are lots of early Milligan elements: horrible, evil mothers, sadistic and cruel authority figures, freaks (I guess Donnie's crippled girlfriend counts), and Milligan's own obvious identification with the doomed monster. The weirdo, Donnie, is basically a harmless borderline retard a la Hal Borske in "The Ghastly Ones" who is bullied and humiliated before taking his revenge in an oddly satisfying but shoddy manner. If you've read "The Ghastly One" and actually like some of Milligan's films, parts might strike you as almost touching, since so much of Milligan himself seems to be on display here, but that said the high-school cast, awkward dialog, silly 80s gang, and characters who arbitrarily change at the drop of a plot point don't really help matters. Definitely not "the worst film" ever (none of Milligan's films are even close to that), but too lumbering and leaden for its own good. Too bad the original is "lost", I'd love to see it.
  • comment
    • Author: SARAND
    The Weirdo tells the story of Donny, a simple young man mistreated by almost everyone but his aunt. He finds love and happiness with a slightly crippled lass named Jenny, but you just know things aren't going to turn out all sunshine and good times. Though broadly a horror film, and certainly drawing on classic genre themes and situations, much of The Weirdo is occupied by brooding drama, heavy on dialogue as Milligan piles up his dysfunctional concerns. Lots of typical Milligan stuff seems to be there, a loathsome priest, an even more loathsome mother, retarded people and constant mean spirited behaviour from most of the characters, the film is an essay in casual grinding cruelty, innocent simplicity slowly broken down till mad and murderous climax, an avalanche of deliriously inept slaying packing quite the punch. The climatic shenanigans I pretty much expected, what took me rather by surprise in the film though was how moving it is. The writing seems really to care about Donny and Jenny, they are in a terribly sad situation and the film never seems to be exploiting them. The small, committed cast and unfussy direction help out here, although the film has an everytown setting and the action moves around a number of different places it always feels claustrophobic, this gives it a sense of inevitability, that Donny will be wronged for no good reason wherever he turns. There's a sincerity and compassion here that really works despite the oddity and comically broad touches like the abundance of slapping, happily this feeling is backed up by some decent acting. Steve Burington does good, sympathetic work as Donny, slow and seemingly simple, pitiable rather than pathetic and with an edge of menace. In fact throughout the film I kept being reminded of some or other similar if not near identical turn in a different movie, just out of reach of my recollection. Jessica Strauss is sweet, childlike but lovable as Jenny and her relationship with Donny comes off as unforced and natural as such a set up was ever likely to be. Sure it's a bit of a fairy tale, but they work well together and are rather touching. Naomi Sherwood is Donny's aunt and comes across a nice enough old gal, doing her best in a situation she never asked for and probably didn't ever want. The rest of the cast is basically just a set of hateful meanies, caricatures but delivered with gusto, with a shout out due to Lyn Caryl, doing great malign work as Donny's near unfeasibly spiteful mother. The ending of this one probably would have been better with a less schlocky approach and the film is ultimately a bit formulaic, but I had a rather fine time with it on the whole. Not by any means a great film and probably not even a "good" film in the conventional sense, this is still worth a look for Milligan fans and 80's oddity addicts I think.
  • comment
    • Author: Water
    A mildly autistic, shed-dwelling loner improbably acquires an equally troubled girlfriend as he smotes his tormentors.

    During his grindhouse heyday, Andy Milligan could excrete exploitation fare even faster and cheaper than Roger Corman. Unlike Corman, who (at least for awhile) aspired to better work, Milligan was content to line his pockets while expressing contempt for mankind. While predictably dour, THE WEIRDO features two prominent peculiarities.

    Milligan films are littered with losers, cluelessly trying to claw their way out of hopeless situations. Though retarded, The Weirdo may be Milligan's only character cognizant that he's doomed, doomed, doomed from the getgo. Then, there's the slapping. Punks slap the weirdo. His girlfriend slaps the weirdo. His mother slaps the weirdo. A preacher's wife slaps the weirdo. The weirdo slaps his girlfriend. A caregiver slaps the weirdo. You'll swear that Moe Howard was the technical adviser.

    The lumpy script bunches up all the killings at the end. Passive characters abruptly turn hostile to warrant a higher body count.

    The psycho attack scenes are borderline competent, and for a flick with subterranean production values, the blood and flesh wounds look surprisingly good.

    The inclusion of a cursing cleric was a cool touch, but this sad little film should only appeal to those bitten by the Milligan poor devils.
  • comment
    • Author: Maman
    THE WEIRDO (2+ outta 5 stars) You know, sometimes there are movies that have terrible acting, bad scripts, a silly story AND lousy direction... and I *still* kinda like 'em. "The Weirdo" is one of those movies... sort of like a cross between "Psycho" and "Marty". As poor as almost every element of this film is... I think it still comes through that the people involved *cared* about what they were doing. So what if the actors have trouble getting their lines out? So what if you can guess everything that's going to happen about 20 minutes before it does happen? So what if the scenes of violence look ridiculously fake? Okay, so I wouldn't exactly recommend this movie to anyone... but I heartily defend its right to exist! The story involves Donnie, the "weirdo" who is constantly harassed by punk teens, busybody townsfolk and an abusive mother. No one ever talks to him... or treats him like a human being... so he is filled with all this repressed rage. Suddenly he meets a pretty young crippled girl who takes an instant liking to him (being somewhat of an outcast herself). They fall in love.. but, too late. All the years of abuse have made Donnie resentful and, ultimately, psychotically violent to those who have wronged him. He goes on a bloody rampage of revenge until he is suddenly beaten to death by the angry townsfolk... or... IS he dead???
  • comment
    • Author: Ericaz
    The Weirdo (actually entitled Weirdo, the Beginning on the video print) was a massive step up for director Andy Milligan after the train wreck that was Carnage (1986). Another in his series of 'dinner theater' productions, it was shot in Southern California with an amateur cast. And while I would never, EVER claim that it's a classic film of any variety, it weaves a strange spell thanks to Milligan's preference for deadpan dialogue, angular set-ups, and odd settings. Indeed, with the exception of only a few 'big city' shots, The Weirdo resides in a rural fairytale version of the Southland located not a million miles from the Spahn Movie Ranch. If Ingmar Bergman ever made a no-budget horror film, it might look like this, especially during its expository first hour, where characters argue, snipe, and moan endlessly at each other. With oddly affecting performances by cute little Jessica Straus and dear old Naomi Sherwood, as well as a generous assortment of gruesome deaths in the final third of the film, this is a unique example of truly independent filmmaking.
  • comment
    • Author: Togor
    Okay, I'll admit that this film is as bad as the title would suggest, but really, it does manage to have a few good moments. But while I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's "so bad, it's good", I will have to confess that there were times when I laughed because of the overwhelming stupidity. Really, this film has it all: Bad acting, horrible editing, pathetic special effects...but what do you really expect from any film with a LOW budget, right? It's not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it does create enjoyment if you can laugh AT a movie. If you are a person who can enjoy BAD movies, then I think that you'll get a kick out of this...others beware.
  • comment
    • Author: Shalizel
    This is the weirdest feeling movie I've ever seen. It's like Tim & Eric without the cynicism. A few questions:

    -Why are there 30 year-old bullies? -Why does nothing ever come of the gaping knife wound to Donnie's ribs? -Why did the director leave it open for a sequel? -Which fu**ing universe did this movie drag me to, and will I ever return?

    Man. If I had to give this a genre it would be Smut-Comedy. There has never been a more original movie. Most movies borrow elements from previous features, but I can't think of a single movie that this reminds me of. I hadn't seen this since grade school, I'm now 25 and just bought a copy on VHS for $20. I still find the same parts hilarious, but I have a certain amount of respect for the total strangeness of The Weirdo than I did back then. BUY THIS MOVIE. While you're at it, burn down your house and kill yourself. You'll thank me later... depending, of course, on if you actually kill yourself.. in which case you couldn't thank me. Just buy the fu&^ing movie at any cost.
  • comment
    • Author: Alister
    Garagehouse Pictures is releasing two Andy Milligan films on blu-ray for the first time. One is MONSTROSITY. This is the other. Of the two this one is the better film but likely to not find as big a base. It's a bit more well done and with any film of Andy Milligan saying that is something.

    Donny is a mentally challenged young man, that way for many reasons most being his upbringing by an alcoholic mother. Basically raised by the kindly Miss Martins, Donny lives in a shed behind her house. Picked on by the local troublemakers and prone to wandering the streets Donny has hit an age where he's beginning to notice the opposite sex. First he notices Miss Martin's niece when she comes to stay and then while walking the nearby parks he meets Jenny.

    Jenny is a handicapped girl with a bad leg who lives with an abusive aunt. The two of them hit it off and soon are sharing all their time together. But tragedy lays in store for the couple. First Donny's mother wants to sell him as a slave to another man, the local reverend puts the moves on Jenny, Miss Martins decides to evict Donny when she learns of Jenny and then the gang members attack Jenny as well. All of this combines to unleash the fury that resides inside of Donny.

    Given a mega-budget and featuring more well-known actors this sounds like a major release. But in the hands of Milligan it isn't quite that good. That being said from my exposure to his films this one is actually pretty good. Even the acting, while not Oscar worthy, is pretty good. In particular Jessica Straus as Jenny does a great job. Fortunately she's gone on to a huge career in voice over performing.

    The movie still has that home-made feel to it. It also has that loving attempt be Milligan to make an actual movie while still confined to the exploitation genre. There is plenty of gore effects on display here like a severed head featured in the artwork for the movie but most of it, while effective, is pretty tame and simple.

    As I stated in my review for MONSTROSITY Milligan falls into that category of film makers most define by how bad their films were. But the invention of first VHS and now disc has changed viewers so that fans of the offbeat, the strange and the different are now able to view movies like these and enjoy them for what they are, movie made by people who love movies but who lack the technical expertise and budgets to make them perfect. Yeah it's not Oscar material but it can still be fun.

    I also mentioned the fact that Garagehouse Pictures is the little engine that could and I still hold that they deserve that title. Not rushing titles out, not overloading a market with substandard versions like we saw happen when VHS made its debut, they are taking the time to restore and present movies like this in the best mode and shape possible. They've done that with this film, one that a vast majority of people aren't seeking but tried and true movie fans are clamoring for. It's offering the film for the first time in HD with a restoration created from the original camera negative. One of the extras included even shows the difference their restoration has made on the film presented here.

    Other extras include an audio commentary track with producers Paul Maslak and Neva Friedenn, make-up man Rodd Matsui & actor Patrick Thomas, an audio commentary with film historian Keith Crocker moderated by George Reis, "Matsui s Monstrosities: An Interview with a Make-Up Man: Part 2", trailers of other Andy Milligan films, trailers of other Garagehouse Pictures films, cover art by Stephen Romano and a limited edition slip sleeve art by Justin Miller. Once again they are limiting this to just 1,000 prints so if you're interested make sure you order your copy today.
  • comment
    • Author: Mall
    Scanning through the threadbare plot: Mildly retarded man falls in love with troubled girl, is pushed around by town bullies and then, eventually snaps, murdering those who caused him pain. THE WEIRDO, made by one of the most reviled directors in cinema history - Andy Milligan - should be taken with a grain of salt. He has a passion for the odd and makes due with what he's given, but we all know he doesn't have a talented bone in his body. Here, in THE WEIRDO, Milligan's budget seems to have been "upped" significantly since bad movie epics like THE BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHERS and GURU THE MAD MONK. Fortunately, those schlocky aforementioned films had a certain flare in 'em, while THE WEIRDO is nothing but talk, talk, talk without pay-off. I had hoped in the final massacre it'd be in brutal and spectacular fashion. Unfortunately, Milligan seemed more in interested in making a drama about Donny's torment, pain and involvement with his romantic interest, so little focus was on the actual revenge theme. I'm pretty sure I dozed off at some point, but in a movie like this, can ya blame me? Really, this is bottom-of-the-barrel material. Apart from the interesting highly derivative] concept, THE WEIRDO has absolutely NOTHING of worth.
  • comment
    • Author: Soustil
    The Weirdo MUST go on everyone's top ten worst film list....It is simply DREADFUL! From the opening credits that read: The Weirdo-The Beginning!?????? to a hand chopped off by butter knife to the ludicrous plot? twist.....this movie is just abysmal! I laughed, then cried....I wanted to poke my eyes out with my very own butter knife! How this film ever got financed is anybody's guess...someone must have decided that spending five hundred bucks on crapola was better then burning it......They were wrong!
  • comment
    • Author: Gagas
    Oh my what to say. It is just another horror movie. Not because it was supposed to be scary but because it gave me nightmares of bad acting. I almost fell asleep while watching this poor excuse for a movie. I just think that sometimes people don't think about what will sell and what won't. Whoever thought this was a seller had to be drinking the night before and came to work with a hang over.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Steve Burington Steve Burington - Donnie Raymond
    Jessica Straus Jessica Straus - Jenny
    Naomi Sherwood Naomi Sherwood - Miss Martins
    Lynne Angus Lynne Angus - Lisa
    John Rand John Rand - Rev. Cummings
    Janet Roberts Janet Roberts - Mrs. Cummings
    Lynne Caryl Lynne Caryl - Ma Raymond
    Carroll Oden Carroll Oden - Mr. Cycil Price
    Shawn Player Shawn Player - Nails
    Patrick Thomas Patrick Thomas - Dean
    Dennis Robbins Dennis Robbins - Vic
    John Taylor John Taylor - Bill the Counterman
    Gina Carrera Gina Carrera - Boots (as Julie Winchester)
    Melanie Ewbank Melanie Ewbank - Rhoda
    Shari Michaels Shari Michaels - Mother in Park
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