EXTERMINATOR CITY (2005)
Director: Clive Cohen
Writer: Clive Cohen:
Starring: Julie Strain, Brinkie Stevens, Teresa May
When I first read about Exterminator City in the pages of the excellent ‘zine Weng’s Chop, I pretty much expected a slasher flick with a killer robot. Nothing brilliant, but something watchable to pass a boring Friday night. While I did get a slasher flick with a killer robot, the rest of the flick is so downright strange and bizarre that I had to take a few breaks to let my mind process the What the Fuck?-ery going on. Granted, I’ve seen enough loopy shit to make me a card-carrying member of Bellevue, but nothing got me ready for what I was going to experience when I spun this flick.
It’s Atro City in the year 2027. A killer robot named Edmund Vaker/Edmund Baker/Eban Raker—something like that (the robotic accents made it difficult to tell)—is an exterminator gone haywire who has taken to murdering and skinning women alive. He is caught and then escapes to continue his wave of terror. A detective and the killer’s psychiatrist give chase. Will they be able to stop him before he turns all the well-endowed women of Atro City into well-endowed coffin decorations?
That’s pretty much the plot here, folks. But…okay, let’s just admit it: this flick exists for little more than to showcase some cool puppetry and nude women, both of which it delivers in droves. It is all the more impressive given that it was, basically, made by one man—Clive Cohen—in, I’m guessing, his apartment. Kudos to you, Mr. Cohen.
Aside from the robots, we also get some giant bugs, some devils and demons, and (in one of my favorite scenes) what looks like a skinned devil with a Hitler ‘tache and bad wig. There is also a lot of religious iconography: the top of the killer bot’s head is modeled after Notre Dame, there’s a scene involving robot confession, a robot televangelist, and pictures of Jesus with blood or bugs on them. Not sure if Cohen was delivering some commentary on religion or just trying to be blasphemous (my guess is the latter), but it’s all gravy either way the wind blows.
Exterminator City also delivers some laughs in the form of one-liners delivered by the crotchety detective—“Just what the world needs: a schizophrenic toaster” being a highlight—as well as some unintentional laughs during the kill scenes: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the scenes with the ladies were obviously filmed elsewhere, probably by the babes and their boyfriends/husbands or girlfriends/wives (whatever floats their boat). Edmund/Eban and the ladies are never seen in the same shot together, and you can tell by how the ladies react that they have no clue what they’re reacting to. One of my favorites is when a woman just lies on her side, screaming yet looking completely relaxed, while intercut footage of the robot hacks away at her with a saw. Another favorite is when a woman (played by an actress who’ll never win an Oscar) is stabbed through the head with an Oscar statuette. Brilliant!
Overall, Exterminator City is a flick well-worth watching. And at only 80 minutes long you won’t be throwing too much of your life away. Come on, would I lie to you?