Skinner

Trashy, sleazy, and downright questionable, Skinner is the pinnacle of garbage cinema – and I mean that as a compliment. This nasty, clumsy (you can literally see a crew member standing in one scene) horror film stars Ted Raimi as Dennis Skinner – a serial killer who, you guessed it, skins women. He also creates skin-costumes out of the skins, just like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, and real-life killer Ed Gein. Sound disgusting? It is. Skinner rents a room in a home owned by frustrated housewife Ricki Lake, all while Traci Lords, playing the sister of one of his victims, tries to track him down. If you have no stomach for this kind of unredeemable trash (again, a compliment!), stay far the hell away from Skinner. But if you crave gory movies lit in blue and red light, with budgets so cheap the sets are practically falling down, then you must pick up this gloriously restored, uncut release from Severin Films.

Special Features to Note:

An interview with director Ivan Nagy talks not just about Skinner, but about his entire life, from how he fled Hungary after the revolution, to how he became a filmmaker. Having known absolutely nothing about Nagy, this was fascinating to watch, although a bit long-winded at times. Ted Raimi is also on hand to talk about his career. He details how he took a “normal” role once, and found it incredibly boring, and only wanted to do off-beat roles from then on – roles like Dennis Skinner. Raimi reveals that the script originally wasn’t gory at all, but as the film progressed, it became more and more gory. Thanks, Skinner

Special Features Include: 

  • A Touch of Scandal: Interview with Director Ivan Nagy
  • Under His Skin: Interview with Star Ted Raimi
  • Bargain Bin VHS For A Buck: Interview with Screenwriter Paul Hart-Wilden
  • Cutting Skinner: Interview with Editor Jeremy Kasten
  • Flaying Sequence Out-takes & Extended Takes
  • Trailer

 

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

Economic filmmaking at its finest. With only a small handful of actors, and one location, writer-director Henry Dunham turns The Standoff at Sparrow Creek into an almost unbearably tense exercise in character building, mystery solving, and more. The story concerns a militia who panic after they learn of a mass-shooting at a police officer’s funeral. One of the guns from their armory is missing, which means one of them did the deed. Gannon (James Badge Dale), an ex-cop turned loner, is tasked with trying to find out who did it, becoming a kind of militant Hercule Poirot in the process. This is one of those indie films that knocks you on your ass, and reminds you that there are truly gifted filmmakers out there who can do so much with so little.

Special Features to Note:

A making of featurette has writer-director Henry Dunham revealing the origin of the film: he began thinking about just dropping off the grid one day, and began to think of a character who wanted to be alone and check out of everything – the character that would become Gannon. Of course, this character soon learns a painful lesson in the end we need human connection, even if it hurts us. In the midst of this featurette, we get a hilarious montage of literally every single actor in the film saying some variation of “Henry knows exactly what he wants.” Side-note: do not watch this featurette before you watch the movie, as it gives away some big secrets. 

Special Features Include:

  • The Making Of The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
  • Photo Gallery

 

Between Worlds

Hoo-boy, just what the hell is this movie? At this point in his career, it’s become kind of a cliche to point out that Nicolas Cage gives crazy performances in crazy movies. But Between Worlds is indeed crazy. This could’ve been a straightforward supernatural thriller, but instead, it becomes a kind of redneck fever-dream. Cage plays Joe, a dirtbag trucker who saves a woman (Franka Potente) from being choked to death in the bathroom. But Potente’s character quickly admonishes him, because she actually asked to be choked into unconsciousness. The reasoning: doing so would enable her to communicate with her teenage daughter Billie (Penelope Mitchell), who is in a coma after an accident. Billie soon wakes up, Joe moves in with the family, and that’s when things go fucking nuts. Billie claims she’s not Billie anymore. She is, in fact, Joe’s dead wife, possessing Billie’s body. Joe and Billy begin having an affair, which is probably a bad idea, since they’re doing it in the same house where Potente’s character lives. How wacko is Between Worlds? Let me just say this: there’s a scene where Joe and Billie character are having sex, and Cage picks up a book of poetry written by Nicolas Cage – the real Nicolas Cage, not Cage’s character – and begins reading it out loud.

Special Features to Note:

Not a single special feature. But hey, this movie is special enough as it is.

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