Skin Crawl
Directed By Justin Wingenfeld
Released: 2007
Starring: Debbie Rochon, Julian Wells, Kevin G. Shinnick, and Armando Anthony
Running Time: 76 minutes
DVD Studio: Shock-O-Rama

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In Colonial times, Margret (played by Debbie Rochon) and her sisters were peaceful practitioners of white magic. When one of her sisters was raped and murdered by an evil witch hunter, Margret turned to black magic for revenge. In the present day, Margret is reincarnated as a woman married to the cheating Howard (Kevin G. Shinnick) (also a reincarnation of her sister’s murderer). He and Sadie (Julian Wells), his mistress, decide to bump Margret off so they can be together. When Sadie rips him off and blackmails him, Howard thinks he’s hit rock bottom. However, things get worse when the black magic powers of Margret’s ancestor kicks in and she raises from the dead to wreak some unholy havoc.

Please, don’t rewind again! D’oh, they did it again!
Skin Crawl feels like a thirty minute feature stretched out through some clever editing to make its relatively short running time. Now don’t get me wrong, this is one professional looking indie horror film here but there are enough abandoned ideas in this film for several features. The dialogue is trite but it holds together through the spider’s web of plot. The cast is up to the task and everyone puts in some supremely sleazy performances.

Indie horror icon Debbie Rochon is subdued but convincing as Margret, a woman who waits 400 years to get her revenge. Paint her blue, load her up with worms, and send her out for some undead revenge, y’all! She’s ready! (Insert whip-cracking sound here.) The gorgeous Julian Wells adds her patented dose of softcore sex and is quite good as Sadie, a conniving and somewhat frightening sleazebag. Kevin G. Shinnick is a pretty dang good actor as well (just not as sexy). Hell, after only a few minutes of screentime, I wanted to see Howard get done in.

I admire what the filmmakers are trying to accomplish with the multiple perspective storyline of
Skin Crawl although I don’t feel they are entirely successful. Taking a straightforward story and telling it from different angles is a very difficult thing to do and here it comes off as padding. The “rewinding” adds another 30 or 40 minutes onto the movie that I could have lived without (although I do appreciate director Wingenfeld's attempt at putting a new spin on an old formula). And the persecuted-witch-prologue barely ties in with the rest of the film. The cohesion of these two sections was grossly neglected. However, this does have the feel of an old pulpy horror yarn, so it is easy to forgive most of these nitpickings.

Although somewhat disappointing in the plot and script department,
Skin Crawl
does manage to deliver some nasty moments of horror. Just try and not cheer Rochon on as her rotting corpse lurches toward its gory goal. I betcha you’ll have to! Those viewers out there who are squeamish at the sight of bugs will be climbing the walls with this one as there are maggots, worms, and roaches aplenty. Oh yeah, and keep your eyes peeled for cameos from sexy starlets Misty Mundae (Shock-O-Rama) and Ruby Larocca (The Devil’s Bloody Playthings).

DVD Stuff

Skin Crawl is presented in full frame on this disc and looks and sounds very good (although the DVD menu volume nearly blasted me out of my chair). Extras include a featurette called “Under Your Skin” that has interviews with Debbie Rochon and writer/director Justin Wingenfeld. There is also a feature commentary with producer Michael Raso and Wingenfeld. And last but not least, the obligatory Shock-O-Rama trailer vault. Nice little package, folks.

Links

For more info, check out Shock-O-Rama.