Skeletons in the Closet is an eighties style horror anthology, inside a TV show, inside a movie and it is one hell of a ride. It focuses on Jamie, a little girl with a love for horror movies and her babysitter Tina as they watch a TV show called Skeletons in the Closet which is kind of like MonsterVision but it is hosted by The Widow and Charlie, the husband she murdered and stored in the basement.
I think the best way to talk about this film is to start at the outside and work our way into the center. The outer wrapping of this tasty treat is the back and forth between Tina and Jamie. Tina is your typical teenage babysitter. She’s a smartass who can’t wait for the “little brat” to go to bed so her boyfriend can come over and defile the family’s couch. Jamie is a consummate horror fan. The opening scene shows her re-reading a horror comic while wearing a Skeletons in the Closet shirt and waiting for the show to start. This, according to Jamie, is pretty much her normal Friday night. Tina doesn’t get why anyone would watch horror movies and Jamie does her level best to explain and defend the movie but her words fall on deaf ears and rolled eyes.
I love the character of Jamie so much because I feel like so many of us can relate to not only the struggle she faces with Tina but also her joy. Some of my favorite scenes in the film are the ones where they flash away from the action on the TV to Jamie’s face, which is always plastered with a childlike glee. She’s like a visual representation of a horror nerd’s inner child. I think some of us could relate to the solution to her problem as well but you’ll have to check the movie out and decide for yourself.
Let’s talk about the show that has Jamie so enthralled. The Widow and Charlie are pure gold. She’s a sultry blonde who maybe isn’t so bright and Charlie is like an undead Al Bundy. His wit and her lack thereof play off of each other really well. He verbally busts his murderous wife’s balls and explains plot points to both The Widow and the audience; I gotta say, it has been a long time since I was this entertained by a corpse. I would totally watch the Skeletons in the Closet show every week and I’m really interested in their back story. These are things that I doubt will ever happen, but god damn it, my inner-Jamie can hope.
Now to look at The Widow and Charlie’s movie of the week, Chop Shop. It’s where the bulk of the action in the film happens and honestly, it’s pretty damned decent. There’s a thriller complete with a cantankerous cannibal granny, a crime story with some paranormal badassery, and it’s all tied together by a pretty clever version of Hell. It’s another piece of this awesome horror puzzle that I think would be totally enjoyable by itself.
Skeletons in the Closet is one of those movies that I knew, from the time I discovered it, would go one of two ways. It was going to be awesome or awful. With so many pieces to the puzzle, there wasn’t much room for an in-between. As you can probably guess, it didn’t suck. This movie is packed full of solid performances, well-done practical effects, great sets, and really clever writing. There were some really memorable lines in this film that I feel that need to be mentioned. At one point Tina looks at Jamie and says, “Did you really just compare necrophilia to Santa Claus?!”. Also, they have the best local TV station in history; their tagline, “Channel 13, fuck yeah!” never failed to get a chuckle out of me. This is another one of those films that I can’t wait to see get a wider release because I know plenty of people who would love it.
All in all, would I recommend this movie? You betchyer ass I would. There’s a little something for everyone in this clever nod to the 80’s. Unless you catch it at a festival at the moment, I don’t believe you’ll be able to see it for awhile, but once it gets released you, dear reader, will know. So stay tuned.