David Carradine: Sonny Boy
Dead at 72, David Carradine will be no doubt be remembered for his emblematic role as Kwai Chang Caine in the long-running TV series Kung Fu (not so much for the 16 episodes of Shane, when he was much prettier). Every obituary will recount his long, undignified slog through B-movie obscurity (take a look at IMDB; the sheer volume of dreck is staggering), and his unlikely resurgence after Quentin Tarantino cast him in a juicy role for Kill Bill. Who, however, will dare to recall his bizarre turn opposite Paul L. Smith and Brad Dourif in Robert Martin Carroll’s twisted family satire Sonny Boy (1989), a John Waters–grade farce spiked with extra doses of malice? Carradine plays Pearl, a transvestite who raises a nameless orphan with her grotesquely fat, psycho-criminal hubbie Slue (Smith) after the babe is found in a booted car. Naturally, they cut out his tongue and raise him to become a feral killing machine. “Sonny Boy” (Michael Boston) grows up, and mayhem ensues.
Here’s a clip to whet your appetite. Or kill it. RIP David.