Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Skin'em Alive(or in Italian: Scorticateli vivi (1978)

Rudy is a young man with money problems. He doesn't have any. Worse he owes the mob. After being beaten up and given 24 hours to pay, Rudy visits his girl before heading off to find his brother who is in Africa. Rudy's brother is Franz, a mercenary that Rudy thinks has a hidden stash of diamonds Rudy can use to go to America. Franz is unhappy to see his brother and tells him he's doesn't have any money either ("The only thing that I have that you don't is an accent"). Franz throws his brother out, however before Rudy can leave Franz is kidnapped by some rebels. Rudy (who hates violence) decides to go off with the mercenaries to rescue his brother.

I've seen this film and I'm struck by the twin problems of not being able to either adequately describe or discuss this movie. Trust me, if you ever see this movie you'll have the same problem. Then again I don't really think anyone really should have this problem since I don't think anyone should see this movie.

The first term that comes to mind when I think of this movie is vile. Lets face it this is a vile movie. Its a racist sleazy piece of trash that is jaw dropping in its inhumanity. I've seen a good many movies in my time but this one is ugly.

The ugliness comes from the fact that all of the people in this film, with the exception of Rudy's girlfriend, are ugly people. They all are bottom of the barrel sleaze-balls. Who can you root for? No one. You can't even cheer for the leader of the mercenary band because he's a bit ineffectual and he's also out there killing and raping.

Did I mention there is a great deal of killing and raping? Most of it is white on black, with the mercenaries mowing down everyone that gets in their way. They kill the men and rape the women. And you really can't side with the blacks because they are shown to be little better than savages with acts of violence that are equal to if not worse than their white attackers. You will hate everyone. Its very nihilistic, though I'm not sure that was the intention.

I don't know what to say. By the time half the movie had run I wanted to take a shower, by the end I wanted to be dipped in something to clean and sterilize my being (okay its not THAT bad but close) Technically the film isn't bad. The plot kind of works. The acting is okay, though most of the emotions are either "feigned indifference" or "sadistic glee" which I would think are pretty easy to fake. The explosions and action scenes aren't horrible either.

Its not a completely awful film from top to the bottom, and thats the troubling thing. Its actually an incredibly sleazy exploitation film thats just about as low as you can go, but its watchable. You may not like whats on screen but it is watchable, especially if you tend toward low brow and low grade movies. I've given the film a 3 out of 10 for that very reason. Honestly, I don't think most people are going to like it, or even want to watch it, but if you like to have your buttons pushed by sleazy racist exploitation movies this is going to be your ticket. If you don't like having to take a shower after watching a movie then stay away (The farther the better)

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