If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Skinner, it’s not to accept a dinner invitation from Ricki Lake: 20 minutes to prepare and cook an entire chicken?!?! That sounds like a recipe for some serious E.coli to me. And while we’re at it, Ted Raimi isn’t so hot on kitchen hygiene either: he fails to wash his hands after manhandling the chicken and proceeds to spread bacteria all over the place.
Of course, a bout of serious food poisoning is still preferable to being killed and flayed, which is what Raimi’s character, Dennis Skinner, likes to to do hookers, using their skin to create a suit in which he can prance around in the moonlight (a man’s got to have a hobby). When Skinner’s landlady, Kerry Tate (Lake), becomes close to her loony lodger, the psycho decides that the time is right to reveal his secret to the lucky lass, much to her horror. Meanwhile, Heidi (Traci Lords), morphine-addicted survivor of one of Skinner’s earlier attacks, hunts the psycho looking for revenge.
Skinner is by no means a great movie, suffering from an erratic narrative and plot details that are left frustratingly unexplained (what is up with Dennis’s fascination with water?); it is, however, an entertainingly piece of trash, a sick little psycho flick with a wonderfully over-the-top performance from Ted Raimi, and solid support from Lake and Lords, the latter channelling Meiko Kaji and Christina Lindberg for her role as a vengeful junkie on a mission.
The film also features an impressive moment of graphic flaying (courtesy of KNB effects group) that is guaranteed to please gore fans: Skinner slices open his victim’s back, works the skin loose, rolls the body over and yanks the skin down off the face (be sure to watch the uncut version of the film: there’s an iffy copy on YouTube that is missing this splattery scene).
6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for the delectable Ms. Lords, who doesn’t get nekkid (for a change), but is still very hot (it takes more than a few scars and a lack of hair to stop her from being sexy).