Garagehouse Pictures Releases a Double Dose of Andy Milligan Madness with THE WEIRDO and…

Among fans of genre cinema, few names are as divisive as Andy Milligan. The openly gay director made a name for himself in the ‘60s making 16mm no budget grindhouse fodder known for their wordy dialog and theatricality. To keep costs down, they were also shot, written, edited, costumed, and just about anything else you could think of by the auteur. Milligan primarily worked with producer William Mishkin, who had an in with the 42nd Street grindhouses and kept the filmmaker flush and turning out film after film until the ‘80s, when the video boom began and the grindhouses began to shutter. Milligan decided to pack up and move to LA, where both Monstrosity and The Weirdo: The Beginning were shot, to try his hand at the video market. Here he began applying the techniques he honed in New York, churning out a few more films before he tragically succumbed to AIDS. The era of Blu-ray has been kind to fans of Milligan, with boutique labels such as Garagehouse Pictures and Code Red now releasing pristine copies of films that were almost forgotten.

Both Monstrosity and The Weirdo: The Beginning were released a few weeks ago in deluxe restored versions by Garagehouse Pictures that together work as a really great snapshot of the director’s later years. Weirdo feels like an Andy Milligan ABC after school special chronicling the love story between two handicapped individuals. But instead of overcoming their disabilities to find love, there’s a grotesque killing spree; corrupt, lecherous parish members; and of course abusive mothers. It’s the story of Donnie (Steve Burington) a quiet, mentally slow young man who likes to collect trash and hang out down by the gully next to the stream. That is until one day he meets “Jennifer or Jenny for short” (Jessica Straus), who wears a leg brace she got in the car accident that killed her family. Jenny sees something in the equally damaged Donnie, and is warned he may be a bit more dangerous than he appears. But she lets her feelings get the best of her, and when those around them try to split the pair up Donnie dispatches them in Milligan’s larger than life style.

Weirdo has all the trappings you would expect from Milligan: the dialog that feels like it was written for the stage, the over the top theatrics, violence, and the completely unredeemable characters. It’s definitely one of Milligan’s stronger films and one of the best looking since he actually shot on 35mm. To save money, Milligan would usually shoot on 16mm and blow that up to 35mm for theatrical prints. But here, shooting on 35mm with a very brief theatrical run was key for films shot for video to give them a leg up perceptually to films that were shot and released on video.

The cast here is actually pretty impressive. Jessica Straus does her best as Jenny to pull off a rather impressive performance while delivering the mouthfuls of Milligan dialog. Steve Burington, who plays Donnie, does an equally impressive job of portraying this character that has a vulnerability and odd naivete, but can still be a cold-blooded rapist and killer. He’s pretty loathsome as a character, but this film does feature some of the more well rounded characters I’ve seen in a Milligan film. Because for once, we get a really good understanding of why these characters are the way the are, before things start to go sideways.

Next up was Monstrosity, which was Milligan’s next to last film and was essentially a mockbuster version of the Toxic Avenger by way of Frankenstein if it was a boner comedy. The film has a med student and his two bro-pals creating a ‘Golem’ from human and animal remains to avenge the death of his girlfriend, who was killed by a pack of hooligans. Whereas Weirdo was more serious in tone, the plot of this one is more ridiculous and played for laughs. I originally caught this restoration at its premiere at the Exhumed 24-Hour Horror-thon in the wee hours of the morning, and its sheer insanity broke my already fragile brain. “Frankie,” as he is named by his creators, is put to task cleaning up the town, and while racking up a body count the monster finds a girlfriend and decides he wants to settle down. This pits monster against creator as Frankie’s creators think it’s time to end the experiment and dismantle their creation, who now has a life of his own.

The film lacks the theatricality of the normal Milligan fare and actually feels more like something John Waters could’ve churned out in the ‘70s when it comes to the look, casting, and dialog. It’s wordy, but not in the faux pretentious sort of way that normal Milligan films are. That being said, it’s still a lot of fun and really showcases old LA as the monster roams around town looking for and dispatching targets. While the monster in the film is impressive, it’s the world around it that really shows the budget constraints that weren’t quite as apparent with Weirdo. It’s due to the film’s more grandiose story and cast of characters who definitely push the boundaries for a Milligan production. Both films really showcase the director for different reasons, and I think that’s why as a pair they work really well together.

Both films were released by Garagehouse Pictures in stunning new HD transfers, and you can see the work done for the releases on the special features of Weirdo. Both films were re-scanned from the original negatives and are presented in transfers that look better than these films have probably ever looked. Each disc is also brimming with extras that are a treasure trove for Milligan fans. Each disc comes paired with two commentaries, the best which has to be the commentary on Monstrosity with the guy who wrote the go to biography on Milligan, Jimmy McDonough. Jimmy shares his experiences working with the director toward the end of his career on the film, while introducing new fans to the director and his style. There’s also an on camera interview with effects master Rodd Matsui, who went on to work on such favorites as Freaked, Tank Girl, and Bride of Re-Animator. If that wasn’t enough, Monstrosity features what feels like every outtake scanned in and edited together, amounting to more footage than the actual film itself.

Both of these releases are exhaustively comprehensive and show a genuine love and respect for one of the most underrated auteurs in genre cinema. You get a sense of that not only watching the respect given to the films and their presentations, but from the commentaries and extras that give a profound insight into Andy Milligan’s strange creative genius. It’s a great time to be a fan of the eccentric director’s works, given a good bit of the director’s films are seeing the light of day in new HD releases, and I can only hope this will possibly lead to some of the director’s lost features being found. One of those lost films ironically enough is a short version of Weirdo made by Milligan while living in New York. While both of these films stand well enough on their own right and are rock solid purchases, I can’t suggest picking them both up enough, especially if you’re not a fan and want to get a better understanding of why fans like myself can’t shut up about Milligan.



“MONSTROSITY is like no other film you’ve ever seen, Milligan or otherwise!”

– Frank Henenlotter, director of BASKET CASE & FRANKENHOOKER


• Audio commentary with Milligan biographer Jimmy McDonough & Charlie Beesley

• Audio commentary with Andrew Repasky McElhinney, Greg Giovanni & Dan Buskirk

• Matsui’s Monstrosities: An Interview with a Make-Up Man

• Outtakes

• Still gallery

• Andy Milligan trailers

• Liner notes by Jason Coffman

• Deleted scenes

• Garagehouse Pictures trailers

• Cover art by Stephen Romano

• Limited edition slip sleeve art by Justin Miller (Limited to 1000 units)

• All regions

1988 / 92 mins. / Color / Mono / 1.37:1 / Not Rated


“Boy meets Girl. Boy kills everyone. A love story as only Andy Milligan could make.”

– Frank Henenlotter, director of BASKET CASE & BRAIN DAMAGE

Garagehouse Pictures is pleased to bring legendary grindhouse auteur Andy Milligan’s long out-of-circulation, penultimate feature to Blu-ray for the first time in a painstaking new HD restoration created from the original camera negative!


• Audio commentary with producers Paul Maslak and Neva Friedenn, make-up man Rodd Matsui & actor Patrick Thomas

• Audio commentary with film historian Keith Crocker moderated by George Reis

• Matsui’s Monstrosities: An Interview with a Make-Up Man: Part 2

• Restoration comparison

• Andy Milligan trailers

• Garagehouse Pictures trailers

• Cover art by Stephen Romano

• Limited edition slip sleeve art by Justin Miller (Limited to 1000 units)

• All regions

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