Any given week, I'll get a call from one of my friends, saying, "Hey, did you get *insert hot new Hollywood film or television series here* on DVD?", to which I always reply, "No. I'm too busy watching all these low-budget horror movies people send me all the time." I'll admit, sometimes it gets to me. Sure I'd like to sit down and check out some nice, polished zillion-dollar slick production. But I always know they'll only go so far. I always kinda know what I'm in for. Not so when you're talking about indie horror.
However, once in a while, I'll see one of these no-budget productions and think, "now why the hell aren't THESE people working in Hollywood?"
Such is the case with filmmaker Christoper Alan Broadstone, and his leading man Tony Simmons. MY SKIN! takes place in one room, at one desk. At that desk sits death itself (simmons), and on the floor behind him is the dead body of a woman, her hands and feet bound. Her head all bloodied, covered in a plastic bag. There's been a murder, and the grim reaper has come for her soul. But he's got a treat for the guy who committed the crime, and he makes a little phone call to the killer before wrapping up his business at the scene of the crime.
Think an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, as directed by David Lynch, shot and edited by Sam Raimi, and that's kinda what the experience of watching MY SKIN! is like. The atmosphere is maddening, the lighting and sound crisp yet nightmarish, and the acting is 100% hide-under-the-covers scary. Tony Simmons is one of the best actors I've ever seen grace and independent production, he reeks of talent and energy. His performance matches the pro-level editing and camera work beat for beat, making the whole piece effective and enjoyable. I'm not nit-picky, but even so I would be hard pressed to find anything resembling a flaw in this production.
Also on this disc is a 22-minute short entitled SCREAM FOR ME, which again takes place in a single room, but is stylistically different from MY SKIN! and decidedly more brutal and disturbing. Without going into detail (buy the DVD ya cheap bastards!), I'll say that when I watched it, I actually felt relieved when the poor girl was murdered, and wishing the same fate for the unfortunately still-conscious guy lying beside her on the floor. My my my, is this one rough going, largely due to Tony Simmons' once again amazing performance. You can't even tell it's the same guy from MY SKIN!, a testament to the man's abilities. He and Broadstone seem all too ready to dive into really REALLY dark territory.
When my friends think they're cool with all the latest 2 disc special editions and season whatever of the hit TV show of the moment, I invite them to sit down and spend a little time in the world of independent cinema, where anything can happen to anyone at anytime. Where, in the case of Christopher Alan Broadstone's work, psycho killers are the least of your worries.
I invite my friends to get comfortable on the couch. They won't be for long.
© 2005 Gonzoriffic