Isaacs Picture Conclusions

SHITFEST 2014: SUMMER ~ SKELETON MAN (2004)

SFSOFFICIAL BY: BANANAS ABOUT MOVIES bananas-about-movies-logo SMAN1 Skeleton Man The fol­low­ing review of Skel­eton Man is brought to you in asso­ci­ation with Shit­fest Sum­mer 2014, a bloga­thon that comes to you all the way from Shit­fest Island, bear­ing gifts of movie crap­dom, with a side order of ran­cid sweet­corn, and greasy pea­nuts from a half-digested Snick­ers bar, parped into a bucket from the arse of a man with irrit­able bowel syn­drome. Yes, this is Shit­fest. And this is Skel­eton Man, a crime against eye­balls, ears, and prob­ably cute little kit­tens. And I’ve watched it twice! Here’s my review… They say that in a mon­ster movie, it’s always best to keep its appear­ance under wraps for as long as pos­sible. It helps to build ten­sion and fear, work­ing towards that ter­ri­fy­ing moment when one of the prot­ag­on­ists — along with the audi­ence — bears wit­ness to the monster’s full, hideous vis­age for the first time. This is the point in the story where there is no going back. It’s now a basic fight for sur­vival between hero and monster. In Skel­eton Man, I think they real­ised they had the movie world’s lamest mon­ster design ever, so they reveal it almost straight away, to avoid a keener sense of dis­ap­point­ment later on. Think of the movie mon­ster greats like Michael Myers, the Alien, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, and the Pred­ator. Then take a look at Skel­eton Man… skeleton-man-image-01 That’s right. They basic­ally bought a Hal­loween skull mask, and then fin­ished it off with… well, I’m not sure what they fin­ished it off with. Some­times, Skel­eton Man seems to be wear­ing a raggedy old cloak which is all torn up and full of holes. Other times, he seems to be wear­ing one of these… skeleton-man-image-02 Don’t tell Tesco that I used one of their cheap product ranges to describe Skel­eton Man’s cos­tume, as I fear they might sue me for sul­ly­ing the good name of their bar­gain bin liners (which are always tear­ing as they’re too thin, I might add). As cos­tume designs go, it really is appalling. And yes, I real­ise I used a pic­ture of a hot babe in a Freddy Krueger out­fit, rather than the actual Freddy Krueger, but it’s only fur­ther evid­ence of just how rub­bish the Skel­eton Man cos­tume really is. Even the hot babe looks scarier! The story begins at a house where some old pro­fessor is busy brush­ing the dirt off a vase which he’s found at an Indian burial site. His­tory tells us that digs at Indian burial sites never go accord­ing to plan. And sure enough, Skel­eton Man shows up to col­lect a skull that belongs to him, mak­ing short work of the pro­fessor and his wife. He gives them a right good old chop­ping with an axe. To give the film some credit, it’s a blood-soaked kill, which is sure to please your aver­age gorehound. Halfway through the scene though, he dis­penses with the axe, and gets out a sword. This is the first example of the film’s makers been unable to decide upon a single, iconic look­ing weapon. Even a fairly rub­bish bad guy like the fish­er­man from I Know What You Did Last Sum­mer had a hook, and stuck with it. If you’re a mon­strous killing machine who nav­ig­ates the twi­light realm between this world and the next, you’ve got to keep it simple. Choose your weapon. Humans will see you as a single-minded indi­vidual, and fear you all the more. You don’t want them think­ing you’re some wishy-washy tart, flip-flopping from one weapon to the next. Dur­ing the course of the movie, Skel­eton Man uses an axe, a sword, a spear, and a bow and arrow. The last one he uses to shoot down a heli­copter. When he hasn’t got any weapons, he just kind of pushes people over with his hands. Or holds people up in the air, where they seem to scream a lot, even if Skel­eton Man doesn’t actu­ally seem to be doing much to them, until sud­denly they’re dead. Here, he takes out an inno­cent fish­er­man. Rooker’s Delta Force squad are of little use, and can only sit and won­der at the blood curd­ling scream. Did they hear something?

There’s a kind of inde­cis­ive­ness that per­meates the whole film: it can’t work out what on earth it wants to be. It’s a big old stinky stew of bits from bet­ter movies, most not­ably Pred­ator. Skel­eton Man has, for no reason I can fathom, Predator-style thermal vis­ion. He also warps in and out of exist­ence at ran­dom, to escape bul­lets and explo­sions from Michael Rooker’s Delta Force squad. And then other times he doesn’t bother, stag­ger­ing around like he’s drunk (in all fair­ness, the guy in the Skel­eton Man cos­tume prob­ably needed to be drunk just get through a day’s filming). Rooker’s Delta Force squad is, bizar­rely, her­al­ded as an “Under­cover” Search & Res­cue Team. Why they’re under­cover in the middle of a forest that isn’t behind enemy lines or any­thing, is an unsolved mys­tery I will take to my grave. I think it might just be a very flimsy excuse to add four babes of vari­ous hair types to the team. Here’s the babe addi­tions to the team, along with their names, spe­cial­ist skills, and hair type. skeleton-man-image-03 They’re all pretty use­less, and most of them are rap­idly dis­patched, usu­ally through every fault of their own. Hav­ing said that, they’re not much worse than the guys in the team, and they’re sup­posed to be hard­core Delta Force, trained to within an inch of their lives. Even Michael Rooker, the leader of the squad and sup­posedly battle hardened through vari­ous cam­paigns in volat­ile hot­spots around the globe, finds him­self strug­gling with the forest itself, let alone the evil pres­ence that stalks it, in one of the films fun­ni­est scenes, below…

Oddly enough, on the back of the DVD box it says the run­ning time is 86 minutes. Yet my DVD player showed a total run­ning time of 2 hours. You can only ima­gine my trep­id­a­tion as the film neared the end of it’s 86 minutes. Was it not going to end? Had I some­how got hold of a bootleg copy which had a spe­cial, exten­ded director’s cut? I was grit­ting my teeth, and gird­ing my loins in readiness. Thank­fully, it turned out to be just an extra thirty minutes of a single black screen. Almost like they’d ran out of shit to fill the disc up with. I watched every single minute of that black screen. And in com­par­ison to the film, it was pure bliss. Like Rooker and his battle against stray branches, watch­ing Skel­eton Man often feels like a fight for sur­vival against impossible odds. If you can make it through, well done. I’m recom­mend­ing you to Delta Force!

59 comments

  1. Abbi

    This cracked me up… I mean they couldn’t even come up with something more inventive than Skeleton Man. He’s not even really exposing his skeleton is he? Bin Bag Man probably would have made more sense.

    Like

  2. Hahaha! This looks so shitty! But what strikes me as the ultimate shittiness is the thirty minutes of black screen. Maybe it was so people could do a meditation or breathing exercise to purge this film from their system.

    Like

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