Saturday, February 9, 2019

Phil's Horror Watch: SKINNER (1993) from Severin Films - February 8, 2019

SKINNER Limited Edition Slipcover Blu-Ray
SKINNER (1993)

Starring Ted Raimi, Traci Lords, Ricki Lake, David Warshofsky, Richard Schiff, Blaire Baron, Christina Engelhardt, Roberta Eaton
Written by Paul Hart-Wilden
Cinematography by Greg Littlewood
Edited by Jeremy Kasten, Fred Roth, Peter Schink (as Peter Schenk)
Produced by Mark Beychok, Nelson I. Korchak, Dan Sales (as Daniel Sales), Tamar E. Glaser, Jeff Pollon, James H. Rutt, Brad Wyman
Directed by Ivan Nagy
Originally released by A-Pix Entertainment
Released by Severin Films

Over the years, there have been a resurgence of horror films from the early 1990's that people are finally discovering. Granted, this was not the best time for the horror genre; with the slasher genre dead and most being cheap direct-to-video releases, there were little choices for fans. But there were some diamonds in the rough, but they were few and far between. Some of these lost gems have gone on to become cult classics, attracting new viewers with each passing year. One of these films was a down-and-dirty horror flick that became somewhat popular for several reasons. Make no mistake, SKINNER is still shockingly weird and disturbingly fun after all these years!!

The film's official synopsis: It’s been called “sleaze-oozing” (Flick Attack), “gut-churning” (The Bedlam Files) and “incredibly tasteless” (Cult Reviews). It featured the most intensely graphic scenes yet by KNB EFX Group (The Walking Dead). Uncut, it remains perhaps the most disturbing – and rarely seen – shocker of the ‘90s: Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess) delivers an unnerving performance as psycho drifter Dennis Skinner who wears flesh-suits he slices from doomed prostitutes, falls for a lonely young housewife (Ricki Lake of HAIRSPRAY fame), and is himself hunted by a horribly scarred survivor (an equally unhinged performance by Traci Lords). Richard Schiff (The West Wing) co-stars in this still-potent sickie from veteran television director – and one-time Heidi Fleiss boyfriend – Ivan Nagy, now scanned in 4k from the original camera negative and including the complete hooker-flaying sequence.

Original VHS Box Cover (1995)
I recall seeing parts of the movie back in the day, but this was the first time for me of actually watching the whole thing, and in its restored edition! Ted Raimi is flat out crazy awesome in the film, and he brings his A-Game to the antagonist Dennis Skinner. Traci Lords is just as crazy as the scarred Heidi, whose thirst for revenge will take her on a dangerous path! Ricki Lake's character Kerry Tate is the only normal person to be found in the movie, even though she's alone all the time, so it's only natural that she would start to have feeling for Dennis. He's calm, listens to her, and is quite good looking, for a serial killer! C'mon Kerry, wake up! He's totally creepy, and there's plenty of clues to his behavior! Why did he always carry that tool bag around? Why was he coming and going at all those random times of the day and night? Weren't you curious as to where he came from? Oh, he's got money for rent and such. OK, but where the hell did he get it all? Yeah, there are a couple of holes in the script, but overall, I was very entertained.

The film was released on VHS from A-Pix Entertainment, the company that brought other 90's direct-to-video titles such as JACK FROST, EVIL ED, BREEDERS, THE ICE CREAM MAN, and UNCLE SAM. It was eventually released on DVD by Image Entertainment, but the transfer of the picture wasn't all that great, plus it was the edited version as well. Then in November, Severin Films announced that they obtained the rights and were finally releasing the unedited version.

Bless the hearts over at Severin Films, as they restore some of the best forgotten, overlooked, and infamous movies of all time! Who else would take the original camera negatives and make a brand new 4K scan of this 90's cult classic? These guys of course! The picture quality is fantastic; looking so sharp and crisp! When this title was announced as part of their Black Friday sale, it features an exclusive Limited Edition slipcase. As I am writing this, I believe these copies are now sold, but the standard Blu-Ray copies are available.

The special features on here are not only awesome, but informative and cool! Included are the following: 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 Outtakes and Extended Takes, and the film's trailer.

SKINNER is a lost 90's fright flick that will transport you back when direct-to-video movies were all the rage at your local video store!! For the first time, you get to see the uncut, unrated, and uncensored version of the this sick and twisted cult classic! What more do you need? Make tonight an outrageous 90's horror movie night!! Just make sure you don't invite anyone named Skinner to cover and watch it with you! 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!


SKINNER is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Severin Films. To purchase a copy, visit their website at severin-films.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

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