SKULL & BONES
Directed by T.S. Slaughter
2007 - 73 Minutes/Widescreen
DVD Provided by BTB Productions
Article written by Heather Drain
One of the guilty (or if you’re shameless like moi, not so guilty) pleasures of being a B-movie lover is the indulgence of really bad taste. Sure it might be fare that you don’t take home to momma, but that is often part of the fun. Some films may try to mix the two, while others completely revel in the holy sewer that is cinematic bad taste. SKULL & BONES is a 100% firmly the latter and that is not a bad thing.
Things abruptly start off with two semi-nude dudes trying to wake up another semi-nude dude whom apparently they’ve just killed. After a rather nifty Baudelaire quote, we have the title credits and our two main characters, Nathan (Derrick Wolf) and Justin (Michael Burke). These two lovebirds have lost the spark not only in the bedroom but with life in general. When most couples get bored, they usually buy some groovy sex aids or manuals. With these two, Nathan uses his love of horror movies and true crime for carnal inspiration. Justin’s game for it and they end up drugging and anally assaulting a borderline retarded theatre major from their university. (By the way, get used to the wild varieties of buggery, ‘cause there is a LOT of it.)
When the friendly forced sex goes awry, resulting in an accidental death (the same scene we inexplicably saw a few minutes ago), the boys have discovered their perfect hobby. After getting rid of the body in an old couch (ala DePalma’s excellent SISTERS), they decide to do some class warfare and set their sights on the Ivy League classmen across the river from Shoreline. They end up finding the perfect victims in the form of a group of yuppie chodes who reveal that they are associated with the infamous Skull & Bones secret society. The future potential leaders of the worlds apparently have all the cognitive ability and willpower of a muskrat after a four-week bender. Preying on the stupid is not a bad idea when you’re a killer and our dynamically horny sadistic duo would be hard pressed to find a group more bone stupid and douchbagtastic than these guys. Luring their victims is ridiculously easy, requiring only a creepy white van, black tee shirts with pink skull & crossbones, PGA, and blow (we’re talking Peruvian marching powder, though there is plenty of blowing of all kinds here). What follows is a series of similar rape/murder scenes culminating with a sex slave zombification ceremony (a definite highlight, along with an earlier scene of oral castration that is a great throwback to some of the more fluid filled works of Troma). Somewhere in there is a ransom-kidnapping subplot that ends up buried in between all the anal-homocide shenanigans.
The first thing that stands out about SKULL & BONES is that it is clearly made by people that love horror, b-movies, and true crime. Between the references to lesser-known real life crimes to a brief shot of a DVD copy of the T&A comedy SQUEEZE PLAY, there is some cheeky fun to be had here. In fact, the film’s strongest points lie within this love and its sheer willingness to wallow in bad taste. The thought of a homophobe renting this expecting a queer bashing epic makes my heart happy, since they will be subjected to numerous scenes of man on man action complete with fake baby batter, blood, and, yes, even poo. Granted, it’s not that the filmmakers have made a big pro-gay movie either. But not everything has to be a big politically correct statement. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a giant bat lubed up with sex grease is just…well, you get the picture.
The cast is a bit patchy acting-wise, but both Wolf and Burke are good as the sociopathic Nathan and his easily agreeable partner Justin. I would go so far to say that Burke is the real standout, making me wish he were given more dialogue and screen time. He’s naturally compelling and has a lot of fun with his role, as does Wolf, who relishes his meaty part with glee.
The biggest flaw in SKULL & BONES is that it doesn’t seem wholly completed. There’s a definite unfinished feel to it. The ambition and ideas are there but are not given enough time to flesh out properly. Certain things like a class lecture on serial killers, the aforementioned ransom subplot, and especially the ending seem almost like an afterthought. While excess is great, there is so much attention given to the rape/murder scenes that everything else suffers in consequence. The bad porn editing during the sex scenes does not help at all. All great bad taste epics have the money shots balanced with scenes focusing on characters and dialogue (the best thing about PINK FLAMINGOES, the granddaddy of bad taste comedies, is the dialogue). Apparently, director Slaughter is planning two more sequels, so that could explain the sketchpad approach here. The upside is that it is nice to see a film made with some heart and a childlike glee for puerile humor. If you’re in the mood for gross humor, some funny lines, and more sodomy scenes you can shake a double-headed butt plug at, then this could be the flick for you.