Skull & Bones

Dir: T.S. Slaughter
Star: Derrick Wolf, Nathan Burke, Geoffrey Reynolds,

It's kinda hard to work out who the target audience for this might be. I came to this conclusion round about the point where the two central characters, wearing Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden masks, were torturing and sodomizing their victim, who was wearing a George W. Bush mask, while making sexually-ambiguous 9/11 references. While I admire the taboo-breaking spirit of political satire apparently inherent in this, a straight audience is not likely to enjoy the lengthy scenes of same-sex S&M practices, and a gay one is not going to be impressed with the movie's blanket depiction of homosexuals as drooling, predatory psychopaths. Nathan (Wolf) and Justin (Burke) are community college room-mates, with Nathan clearly the dominant one, obsessed with serial killers. After an attempted bit of humiliation of a classmate turns deadly, and they are dissed by four undergrads from "Ivy" [clearly Yale, but I imagine the film-makers thought better of portraying that campuses students as 100% over-privileged assholes], they decide to take revenge by luring the Ivy-leaguers into their van and... Well, basically see above, though the use of a lubed baseball-bat certainly brings new meaning to the phrase, "Batter up!"

The tagline is "A tale of homo-cidal mania" and that's about the level at which this aims: that it hits most of its apparent marks is more a consequence of low aim. That said, it has its moments of memorable bad taste, and occasional moments of wit, such as the four Ivyers being lured in exactly the same way, down to the dialogue. This could be a sly stab at the cookie-cutter, interchangeable nature of the students - or possibly, Slaughter couldn't be bothered to write four scenes. That's the problem here. While much of this is technically shoddy to the point of ineptness, one senses this is, if not deliberate, largely irrelevant to what the creator is trying to do: be "controversial, nasty, and extreme". The main problem is, John Waters already did it, forty-odd years ago, and made a better, ah, fist of it too: he didn't fake, say, Divine eating dog-shit, the way the sexual torments are fabricated here. If you can't do them properly, don't show them at all, I'd say. While the concept of gay psychos engaging in class-war is certainly not without potential, most of it gets lost on the way to the finished product.

[January 2010]

Not much skulling, 
but a great deal of boning
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