I recently came across a new Blu-Ray of a film I had never heard of before called Skinner. I read the back and my interest grew. Ted Raimi plays a serial killer who skins his victims, also starring Traci Lords???? I am in. I quickly sat down and watched this film and it grabbed me right away. Traci appeared to be a vampire at first swearing revenge of this weird guy. Ted Raimi, whom I mostly know from Evil Dead 2 and other Sam Raimi related stuff. He has a fascination with water and it’s a recurring theme throughout the film. He visits the ocean and watches the water. Also stars into a glass of water from the faucet. Perhaps he is intrigued with the light refractions and how water symbolizes life. Ironic because his raison d’etre is to take life. Or maybe he moves like water from town to town, ultimately it is for someone smarter than me to decipher or analyze. But it’s a very cool concept in the film. Water is calming, vast, mysterious, and incredibly powerful.
It is revealed Raimi is a serial killer who “skins” his victims. Donning their skin and messing with prostitutes’ before he kills them. He preys mostly on prostitutes’ and occasionally a co-worker. Ricki Lake also appears, despite this not being a John Waters’ film. Slight Cry-Baby reunion here. Ted’s character “Dennis”, moves in with Ricki Lake’s character and her trucker husband. The film locations are all very bland and appear to be “anywhere” USA. But it was in fact shot in LA, this film did not have a huge budget but it doesn’t look cheap. Film locations are incredibly bland however but it is supposed to a city. Dennis can easily find prey and get away with murder.
Traci’s character is bent on revenge and suffering from a drug addiction. She is tracking him down while he is new in town and beginning his killings. She escaped him before and suffers permanent scarring on half her body. The film is really a gem with pretty good affects and a very interesting production story. The special features contains interviews with many involved in production. There is a scene I won’t spoil but basically everyone disowned and would probably not be shot today. I was surprised how much I liked this film.
A very weird connection is this film was directed by Ivan Nagy, whom is from Hungary and shot many famous album cover photos. Including a Michael Parks album! Later he would appear in Nick Broomfield’s Heidi Fleiss documentary in a less than glamourous light. I rented Kurt and Courtney several times as a kid. Show Business really is a small world and it’s crazy to imagine connections like this, as I already own all the Michael Parks LPs, one day I should write a post about him but I will fall short. But Nagy had an interesting life and career also. How this movie even got made is one for the books.
I would highly recommend the film as an above average slasher with some pretty unique elements and a excellent cast. Luckily it got a recent Blu-Ray release otherwise I probably would have never found out about it. It never faired well but was released on VHS and likely had some cult following amongst those who rented it.