Killer Nerd - 1991

At some point during this Schlocktober marathon I had intended to revisit some old favorites and finally give them some attention here on Atomic Caravan. I've been telling myself I'm going to rewatch Killer Nerd for the past decade! It became a drunken favorite back when I first got the Troma dvd around 2004. Something amazing to throw on when friends came around. I generally kept it, plus a stack of other Troma and Something Weird discs in rotation for such events. Not much has changed today but for whatever reason Killer Nerd kept getting put on the back burner despite my wanting to share it with my husband who's a big fan of American Splendor.

For those who don't know, Killer Nerd stars Toby Radloff, a self proclaimed "genuine nerd" who became famous for his portrayal in Harvey Pekar's comic American Splendor. His quirkiness got him a few appearances on MTV spots and eventually lead to the creation of Harold Kunkle, the Killer Nerd.

It's difficult to discuss the film and how delightfully charming Radloff is without sounding like I'm making fun of him. His unusual way of enunciating words mixed with his savant-like mannerisms and his cartoonish physical appearance make it impossible to describe him in any other way than with blunt frankness. In his own words, he is a genuine nerds. Inside and out. No acting ability necessary because he is basically playing himself. He would later reveal that he has Aspergers Syndrome and not until after the release of the film version of American Splendor did he come out of the closet as a homosexual. Not especially relevant to the film but he's such a unique individual, any information helps the picture come a little more into focus.

Harold Kunkle is having a hard time coping with his over-bearing mother and the lack of attention he's receiving from women. Jerks and bullies pick on him incessantly despite all of these adults being in their 20's and 30's. After an extensive and failed attempt to make himself cool enough to get babes courtesy of a mail-in video by an almost equal dork named "Slick Dick", Harold finally snaps killing basically every single other character that made an appearance in the movie.

While the horror elements of the film leave something to be desired, the build up is really what makes it worth while. Seeing Harold Kunkle go through his daily routine, eating cereal, having pie with his mother, chatting it up with his office crush, all while struggling with his terminal nerd-dom. These are the details of Killer Nerd that make it a cult classic. All of which is completely carried by Toby Radloff's sparkling personality, and I totally fucking mean that. I love this man. I wish he could narrate my life.

As far as I'm concerned Killer Nerd is a near perfect film. It "capitalized" (probably the wrong use of "capitalize" since I doubt anyone made any money off of it) on Toby Radloff's brief but deserved fame. While being a completely self aware shot on video horror comedy, there's something very sincere about Killer Nerd that makes it worthy. I'm glad after 10 years of procrastination I finally made time for it and that my initial impression remains.

This review came a little late in the evening. As I predicted, my October is shaping up to be a busy one. While I'm still maintaining a good pace, I expect to fall a little behind as the month progresses so bear with me. As long as we end up with at least 31 horror movies and 31 reviews, Schlocktober will be a success. Now I'm off to dream of Harold Kunkle and hopefully it won't be another 10 years before I can finally rewatch and review the equally lovable Bride of Killer Nerd...


1 comment:

  1. This is one I been procrastinated on re-watching as well since I haven't seen in like over 2 years. I thought it was alright for what it was. I never seen Bride of Killer Nerd though. That one sounds promising. (Not really)