Yeah, I know, I've neglected the movie reviews, of late. A combination of factors have contributed to that, but we're back with a few mini-reviews right now (with more to come). Three delightfully gruesome and shocking titles all hit DVD at the same time, and all are worth your time and money! Read on, Filthy friends, read on.
Skinless is the first of writer/director, Dustin Wayde Mills’, I have had the opportunity to view. To say that it came as a pleasant surprise would be to put it mildly. Of course, there’s not an awful lot in the way of pleasantries going on, in this gruesome treat, but you’ll soon get my point.
Shot on an incredibly low budget, even though it looks to have cost more, Skinless is the whimsical tale of a doctor, stricken with cancer. He’s determined to find a cure and when the funding to continue his research is not forthcoming, he decides to test out his serum on his own body.
Now, just take a gander at the DVD artwork, and check out the name of the movie. Got it? Yep, this isn’t going to be pleasant, and yes it is going to be gruesome, very gruesome indeed. However, even though Skinless paints the screen with blood, grue, naked flesh and indeed lack of flesh, it is the story that carries the film. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story, long before the gore kicks in, and this in part is what makes the film so damned strong.
Solid story aside, it’s also quite apparent from the excellent and very slimy special effects, that Mills is not afraid to tackle a story just because it might prove unfilmable, on whatever budget he has. The effects here are damned good; exceptional in fact and far exceeded my expectations.
Quite honestly, Skinless is the type of movie that got me interested in low-budget horror in the first place, many years ago, and I aim to check out more of Mills’ flicks when I get the chance.
The Turnpike Killer (2012)
Wild Eye Releasing
The Turnpike Killer first came across my radar a couple of years ago, and I reviewed the independent VHS release. Now, this sick little puppy has finally seen a wide DVD release courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing.
Directors Evan Makrogiannis and Brian Weaver will now have the chance to infect a wider audience with this brutal and unflinching treat. It’s the gritty tale of the title character, Jon Beest, who likes nothing more than to build up the body count and dump the bodies.
This is the sort of film that really digs into the seedy side of cinema, which is all too lacking in this day and age. Sure, there are plenty of retro style horror/exploitation movies out there, but Makrogiannis and Weaver have really given the film a genuine, not to mention bleak, look and feel to the film.
The cast are solid, especially Bill McLaughlin as Jon Beest, who’s ferocious and terrifying in equal measure, and the film overall delivers exactly what you might hope for. This is another low budget gem that I’m happy as hell to see get a wide release. Just remember to take a shower after watching; you are going to need it.
If you’ve followed my reviews for any length of time, you’ll know that I always find time to review the films of Canadian deviant, Ryan Nicholson. In fact, I already reviewed Collar earlier this year, when I had the chance to see it on the big screen, with the loveable Canuck in attendance.
At this screening he forewarned us that the sound mix wasn’t finished, yet this did not take away from the enjoyment I got from the film. The good news is that this DVD release, from the excellent Unearthed Films, has fucking cracking sound. Seriously, it almost felt as though I was watching another movie, as not only was the sound greatly improved, but visually it seemed a damned-sight sharper too.
The film itself is a twisted little son-of-a-bitch, in which we follow Massive, played superbly by Nick Principe, a former priest who has fallen on hard times, and finds himself in a world of violence and sex.
Collar really is a gem of a film, one that has improved on repeated viewings. Sure, on the surface you can quite easily say that it’s another tale featuring all manner of atrocities. Nothing wrong with that, as it is chock full of many unpleasantries. However, and I’ve no idea if this was intentional or not, there’s a twisted social commentary to the film, alongside the duality of the title.
However you want to view Collar, one thing that I will say is that it’s damned good. It’s brutal, dark, bloody and wonderfully sick, with Principe’s lead performance adding another level to the film.
Reviews by Jude Felton
All three titles are available on DVD now, and can be bought at the links below.