Movies From the Black Lagoon: Rubber

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Rubber - 2010, Rated R
By Tom Doty

An abandoned tire suddenly develops sentience and proceeds to embark on a rampage of death, destruction, and gratuitous channel surfing in this absurdist horror flick.
You have to love a film that embraces a ridiculous premise and this flick accomplishes that with gusto. We open on a desert where a car approaches the camera. A man gets out and another lets himself out of the trunk and then addresses the audience directly. The speech is hilarious. It pokes fun at how things happen in movies just move the story along while ignoring common sense. The narrator notes that this film will be "homage" to "No Reason" logic.
The film sure is as it follows the adventures of a tire named Robert that comes to life and wobbles off to find its destiny. It smooshes a scorpion and appears to enjoy the activity. It tries to roll over other items but is too lightweight. It then figures out that it has psychic abilities (no reason) and can make things explode simply by looking at them and trembling until it emits a killer burst of energy.
Meanwhile the film jumps another shark by having a built in audience of spectators who watch the action with binoculars from atop a dune. They comment on the action and watch the flick, which gives the filmmakers an opportunity to do exposition in a creative way.
Robert becomes infatuated with a gorgeous brunette and follows her to a hotel. It gets a room there and enjoys some TV for the night. The next morning it has a showdown with a maid who makes a big mistake when she tosses Robert out of the shower stall and into the parking lot. Robert reacts poorly and trembles until the poor thing's head redecorates the room-at least she won't have to clean up the mess.
Meanwhile a Sheriff shows up and turns out to also be the guy we met coming out of the trunk in the beginning. He investigates the hotel killing and actually begins to buy the idea that a tire did it. While this is happening an assistant shows up in the desert and feeds the audience a roast turkey that they devour. Too bad it's also poisoned. This leads the Sheriff to declare that they can end the movie but he has spoken too soon. Turns out a wheelchair bound movie fan opted to skip the meal so the show must go on.
The Sheriff has his deputies gather up every spare tire they can for the stinkiest fire ever captured on film (at least they didn't release this in 'Odoramma'). Robert, however, is not dumb. He seethes as he watches this development from afar. Cut to three days later and just about everyone in town lies dead of an exploded head. The Sheriff has one desperate plan to kill the Whitewall from hell but will Robert realize that he's rolling into a trap.
See this to find out and you'll be glad you did. Sure it's dumb but the film knows that and rolls with it. The script is witty and only asks that you sit back and be entertained. There are a lot of in-jokes here for film fans and just enough carnage to keep horror fans amused as well. Fun, absurd, and very gory. What could be better?
The film is mainly the work of French first timer Quentin Dupieux. He shows a grasp of cinematography and film history that should serve him well, especially with a bigger budget. The cats is mainly unknown though Broadway star Stephen Spinella shows up as the Sheriff and there is a sharp turn by 80's 'Direct to Video" King Wings Hauser as the disabled film fan who has a ton of suggestions on how to improve the film. The ending is a hoot, as Robert possesses a tricycle, which leads an army of abandoned tires on an unsuspecting Hollywood.
Best Line: "This is the first time in my life that I identified with a tire."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: