The Merits of Sin (Short Cuts): Skeleton Man (2004) (USA) The Church (1989) (Italy) Hollow Gate (1988) (USA) Gurozuka (2005) (Japan)

Sometimes ya just can’t find the damn words. I watch a shit ton of films. Always have and (hopefully) always will. I’ve only been dwelling within Spook du jour for a limited time but once I joined I started adding more films to the queue. It’s easy to write about the good, it’s easier to write about the bad but those middle ground flicks are a bundle of frustration. There can be little pieces of greatness contained within but it’s not enough to stretch out a review…and who the hell wants to read something full of repetitive ramblings and a genuine struggle to make a damn point. Wait. I think that’s happening here. I took a page from Reel Rat’s book and his wonderful haiku review pieces. I’ll keep it short, I’ll keep it sweet and I promise I shall not repeat this long winded introduction. One final note, I do not consider The Church middle ground, I just feel enough people have written about it with far more talent than I.

Oh wake up! It wasn’t that bad!

Skeleton Man (2004)

Take 1987’s Predator, subtract about ninety percent of the entertainment value and you’ll be somewhere in the right ballpark. After a couple squads of American soldiers go missing in the same neck of woods, a dream team comprised of Delta Force and various military specialists are sent in to figure out just what the hell went wrong. What went wrong is a disturbed Indian burial ground has unleashed a horse riding skeleton man who is exceptional at murdering. Michael Rooker, Casper Van Dien and a villain named Cotton Mouth Joe make the film watchable but the obvious plotting and endless stupidity destroy any rewatchabiliy. 4/10

You deserve a better movie

The Church (1989)

Renovations at a cathedral built over a mass grave eventually bring some rightfully pissed off spirits back into the world of the living. A large group a random people are soon trapped within the church and most come to messy ends. A good old fashioned train smashin, facial self mutilation, icky possession and sexy times with a demon are paraded across the screen like an Italian horror flick on a coke binge. Oh. Wait. This is an Italian horror flick on a coke binge. It’s a wild and wonderful time that just keeps getting better with age. A cast full of familiar faces and an stunningly beautiful setting all add to the joyous explosion of spaghetti nightmare heaven. 8/10

Alright. Alright. No need for that.

Hollow Gate (1988)

A mentally unstable, Halloween hating man skirts justice because of his rich grandma’s influence in the small town he calls home. Off his meds, he kills grandma and traps four unsuspecting “young people” on his large family estate. Cheap costume changes and death are in the immediate future. Charmingly stupid for the early portions, it becomes pretty boring as it stretches along to its limp climax. There’s a bit of fun to be had with the killer’s overblown acting being a standout, much love given to sandwiches and some smile bringing cheapo violence but all in all there ain’t enough meat on that bone to get your stew on. 5/10

Keep it in your pants

Gurozuka (2005)

Seven years after a film club came to an end following the disappearance of one member and the mental breakdown of another, the newly resurrected club heads out to the same isolated area where all the bad business went down. Sure as shit, there’s something evil on the prowl and the seven lovely ladies are all in mortal danger. Is it supernatural or just some old fashioned insanity placing these young girls in jeopardy? Could be both. The deigan masked killer is suitably creepy and a few of the crew are pretty damn likable but that doesn’t save the flick from some boring stretches. A bit of violence and a creepy video pop up but ya may nod off in between the good bits. 5/10

No sale

Well there ya have it. Four reviews for the price of one. Ya lucky so and sos. As usual, you should always judge for your damn selves. Skeleton Man can be found easily in any secondhand shop where people get rid of their things for drug money and/or rent. The Church just got the sexy ass remastered treatment and can be grabbed here: Hollow Gate has been unleashed by Toxic Filth (who else?!?) and you can grab it here: and while you’re at it pick up anything else that tickles your fancy. Trust me…there’s some awesomeness available. And Gurozuka is available from Synapse but I’m sure you can find it cheaper elsewhere.

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