Proving that the horror film genre still has plenty of life in it comes Christopher Alan Broadstone’s 13-minute short, MY SKIN, which like his former short SCREAM FOR ME deals with the taboo of death in an enterprising way.
Death (Tony Simmons) has flown into a city office, and perches carrion-like with beaked bird-mask before the asphyxiated corpse of Cindy (Lisa Montague), murdered by her husband George who has fabricated details of the crime in order to lead the police off the trail of the true killer.p> Removing the bird mask used to disguise himself as he soars against the moonlight, Death (appearing as a cross between Brando’s Colonel Kurtz and Max Shreck’s Graf Von Orlock) opens his ledger. Inside are listed the names, birth and death dates of all humanity; a meticulously planned balance book designed to ensure the growth of mankind is kept in check. The cadaverous index scans the page; it would appear that events have conspired to cheat him, for the deceased was due to die of natural causes 64 years later. Assembling details of the murder, gleaned from a supernatural surveillance of the crime-scene, the grim figure decides to phone the killer, and manipulate the crime evidence to his advantage.
Broadstone once more displays the dark, surreal, minimalist look with this creepy tale that is reminiscent of those old EC horror comic strips - though this one has a restrained ending - with the director favouring style and atmosphere over the gratuitous violence that marked his directorial debut SCREAM FOR ME. The camerawork is pretty captivating, hardly standing still for more than a few seconds, shooting between close-ups of the battered corpse of Cindy before sweeping in for a close up of the gnarled features of Death, spiralling around as we follow the pen-strokes of a pretty bizarre piece of prose written in a circular pattern, and peering at us through a gun barrel.
The make-up crew have done a good job here, with Tony Simmons appearing almost unrecognisable from the sadistic killer he portrayed in SCREAM FOR ME. His menacing gaze, claw-like mannerisms, and death-head mask really do strike an imposing figure, and recalls the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch, in which bird-headed demons would devour the souls of the damned. Simmons is near perfect for the part, and he really ought to get more acting opportunities.
In all, an atmospheric and stylish addition to the independent film market, which should do wonders for the CVs of all those concerned, and which should be seen by all serious horror fans.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Christopher Alan Broadstone
USA / 2002 / 13 minutes.
A DVD-Rom release
A Black Cab Productions Release
Also included is the film SCREAM FOR ME
Region 1. NTSC. ECM Digital Stereo