Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Soul Vengeance
Review Date: 7/4/14
Written, Directed, And Produced By: Jamaa Fanaka
Cast: Marlo Monte, Reatha Grey

A bleak and nihilistic tale of dirty justice and revenge, with some bizarre mysticism thrown in for good measure. Charles (Marlo Monte) is a dope pusher who spends three years in solitary confinement after a nasty cop castrates him. But something strange happens to him while he's in prison, which causes his penis to grow to extraordinary lengths. When he finally gets out of the slammer, he tries to settle down into a peaceful life, but a lot has changed and he soon finds himself craving vengeance. And how better to exact revenge than to strangle his tormentors with his enormous prehensile member? He can also hypnotize women with his massive male endowment and bend them to his will, which comes in handy. It's all very strange, surreal, and a bit spooky, and it's unclear whether the killer penis is real, symbolic, or just a figment of Charles' broken mind. The one scene where you actually see it drop to the floor and creep towards its terrified victim is certainly one of the strangest things you'll ever see, and it's presented with unsettling intensity and deadly seriousness. The film ends abruptly on a major downer, leaving you to contemplate Charles' fate, his circumstances, and the choices that he made.

It's definitely a low budget film with a lot of filler material, and the production values are pretty poor. Marlo Monte gives a convincing performance as a wild-eyed maniac on the verge of a complete breakdown, and Reatha Grey is quite charming as his golden hearted whore of a girlfriend. It's an unpleasant film full of unpleasant characters, and the atmosphere is grim and gritty. The pacing is extremely slow and the film is weighed down with a pervasive sense of helplessness and despair. Definitely not a feel good film, but cult movie fans will certainly want to check out the classic strangulation scene.