The film begins with a man driving into a nudie bar with a suspicious demeanor. This also happens to be a nice little cameo by Kenneth J. Hall who is a very well known indie icon. But Mr. Hall isn’t around long before the killing begins and we are shot off to Banions Cross where the population is only 67. Todd is dealing with a rather annoying but very hot girlfriend Jonda. Then we are lead throughout the town meeting the quirky townsfolk before the arrival of a new Manson Family arrives. The leader is a self professed son of Charles Manson and he is here to finish up his fathers work with his recruits. This begins a long night for Todd and the rest of the citizens of Banions Cross as they must prepare themselves for the night of their lives.
Now just from reading the synopsis and even my short introduction to the film above doesn’t even touch on the comedic genius of this film. There are so many jokes laid throughout this film that I found myself laughing way more than I should have. Scott could probably go back and shoot a couple of more scenes and edit this into an all out romantic comedy and I would probably still love it. Of course there is plenty of horror as well but what really makes this film enjoyable are all the laughs.
Actor Mark Chavez who plays Todd in the film is simply hilarious. He was perfectly cast in the role and has great comedic timing. You really grow to like the guy despite the fact that he cheated on his ridiculously uber hot girlfriend. His interaction with all the townspeople is great but I think the moments he has with his friend Chris played by Robert Paul Medrano are the absolute best. They both have some great lines and the stories that Chris has may seem pointless but they sure are damn funny.
Phillips also has a couple of layovers from his previous zombie film The Stink of Flesh. One of my favorites happens to be an older gentlemen named Bob Vardeman. This guy is great, he plays kind of an old, grumpy doctor that is always cussing at his cat. Another to make the jump to Scott’s new film is Kurly Tlapoyawa. In this film I think he plays the much better suited villian. He just has a great presence on camera and he pulls off a villain, loner type much better than the sort of hero he played in Stink of Flesh. Kurly and Trent Haaga make a perfect on screen duo. Haaga is another one of those actors who just exudes that bad ass demeanor. I would love to see someone direct these guys in some kind of buddy film. Kristin Hansen is joined this time by her uncle Gunnar Hansen amazingly enough. Both of their roles in this film are not very big but Gunnar gets a great home invasion sequence which totally makes up for his lack of screen time.
My favorite scene in this movie though has to go to the lovely Elske McCain. This is actually the first film I have seen her in and wow.. let me tell you I’ll be waiting for her next! Just picture in your head this scene. Elske McCain topless with a pair of brass knuckles. Yea its bad ass. I think I will don the scene the “Old School Scene”. The price of admission is worth it if the entire disc is scrapped to shit except this one scene. You just have to see it to believe it.
Now I’m finally getting to something that everyone should already know about already. The score for this film recently won an award at the Fright Night Film Fest so I really can’t argue with them. It really is a great patchwork of original music from some funky western to some old school rap. It has alittle bit of everything. One of the few movies that could really benefit from releasing a soundtrack I think.
There is only one thing in this movie that I felt could have used a little work. The special effects where OK but most of the film consisted of stabbings off screen or some hidden stabs up and under in the gut area. I’m sure this all had to do with the low budget but I would have loved to have seen one gag that just lit up the screen. The one that just stays with you even after the film is over with. Unfortunately there isn’t one but it would have been nice. I guess in this case you can’t always get what you want though.
If you enjoyed Scott Phillip’s Stink of Flesh you will no doubt love Gimme Skelter. He has improved greatly since his last outing and clearly it shows. Each film he has made has been something completely unique and fresh to the genre. Somehow he manages to find these ideas that just seem so obvious and turn them into a kick ass film. Indie film just keeps getting better and better and Gimme Skelter is one of the films that will be riding right along with this fantastic wave of new and original indie films. Keep it coming guys!