ⓘ The Vagrant (film)

                                     

ⓘ The Vagrant (film)

The Vagrant is a 1992 comedy horror film directed by Chris Walas and executive produced by Mel Brooks, through his Brooksfilms production company. The film stars Bill Paxton as Graham Krakowski, a financial clerk who is being driven insane by a homeless man after moving into a new home across the street from where the homeless man had been squatting.

                                     

1. Plot

Graham Krakowski is a middle class financial clerk who becomes paranoid that he is being stalked by a homeless man who camps across the street from Grahams house. Ultimately, Krakowski has the homeless man arrested for public urination. However, the homeless man is soon released from jail and appears to be ruining Krakowskis life. But as Graham begins to sleepwalk and have vivid nightmares, he doubts his own sanity. When two murders occur, Graham suspects that he himself may be responsible.

After being arrested and put on trial for the murder of his real estate agent, whose body parts are found in Grahams refrigerator, the jury finds Krakowski not guilty after his mother, testifying in his favor, dies of a heart attack while making an impassioned plea for his innocence, and her death wins the jurys sympathy. Krakowski finds himself drifting from state to state, and takes a job as the manager of a trailer park, where he is blamed for the killing of the owners seeing eye dog.

Escaping from the trailer park, Graham discovers that not only is the homeless man really behind the killings, but the vagrant is a crazed former psychiatrist who had been trying to drive Graham crazy as part of a psychological experiment. Graham is discovered trying to choke the vagrant by a police officer who had been chasing after Graham, but when the vagrant kills the officer, Graham photographs the killing as evidence, and the detectives partner shoots the vagrant, who falls into a pit of spikes. Graham is paid a reward from several states where the vagrant had been wanted for murder, but when he moves into a new apartment with his new finances, it is implied that Graham may actually be insane, and that the films events may start over.

                                     

2. Production

Richard Jefferies wrote the script about a decade before the films eventual production, but shelved the idea in favor of other projects. At one point, William Wesley showed interest in the script, which led to Jefferies and Wesley collaborating on the 1988 film Scarecrows. After unearthing the script and performing some minor rewrites, Chris Walas joined the project as director and brought the script to Mel Brooks, whose production company Brooksfilms had produced Walass directorial debut, The Fly II.

The film was shot on location in Phoenix, Arizona.

                                     

3. Release

The film grossed USD $4.300 on opening weekend, and made a total of $5.900 at the box office, with its widest theatrical distribution being screened in 8 theaters; the film was only in release for one week.

                                     

4. Reception

Critical reception

The film was panned by Chicago Tribune writer Johanna Steinmetz, who wrote that not remotely funny, but it does work on a couple of levels that could make it something of a cult film for the disaffected, particularly if the disaffected have had too much to drink." Entertainment Weekly writer Doug Brod also panned the film, giving it a D+ rating, and saying that The Vagrant "plays like an attenuated, not to mention rejected, Tales from the Darkside episode" and called it a "moronic, ineptly directed bummer."

                                     
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