(Online Screener Copy)
Directed by Dustin Wayde Mills
Written by Brandon Salkil & Dustin Wayde Mills
Stars: Brandon Salkil, Erin R. Ryan, Allison Egan, Dave Parker
The new film from Dustin Wayde Mills (Puppet Monster Massacre, Night of the Tentacles, Easter Casket) is a witty, stylish and ultimately stomach churning body-horror nightmare which I wholeheartedly recommend. I saw so much promise in Dustin's work after watching Night of the Tentacles, a hilarious and creatively gruesome film influenced by the best of 1980's that I knew his films would just continue to get better and better. The Ballad of Skinless Pete backs that theory up perfectly.
Featuring co writer Brandon Salkil as the titular Pete, a scientist with high hopes of creating a cure for cancer. Said cure happens to come from the stomach of a little known parasite (which he happens to have gotten hold of) and after having the ill thought out notion of being his own test subject, Pete's life is thrown into utter, not to mention horrific, chaos.
Brandon Salkil who also stole the show as lead character 'Dave' in Night of the Tentacles steps up his game even further here as the most unfortunate 'Pete'. It cannot be easy to play a character who is intended to horrify and terrify audiences as well as provoke genuine sympathy but Brandon manages this masterfully. A well written and well acted character who makes this film stand out even more in addition to its creative plot.
Its more than a little impressive how Dustin manages to make indie movie magic with such a low budget. His films just look GREAT and he has a keen eye for how to make the best of practical FX regardless of financial limitation. There are two scenes in this movie that are just jaw dropping in terms of gore, I was both glued to the screen and desperate to look away at the same time so hats off to Dustin for those! There are other fantastic moments throughout the film such as a severely altered dog on the attack and the dissection of the aforementioned exotic parasite. Its safe to say gore hounds will not be upset by this film.
However, one thing even more interesting than all the blood shed is the emotional punch The Ballad of Skinless Pete packs. The ending of this film is nothing short of heartbreaking and this is where both Brandon Salkil and co star Erin R. Ryan, as Pete's friend and fellow scientist Alice, really nail their characters and the awful predicament they are in. Great work by two actors to keep your eyes on.
All in all The Ballad of Skinless Pete is one heck of an inventive, squirm inducing and emotionally distressing body horror film that deserves attention. Head on over to Facebook to find out more about the film and also buy your very own DVD copy!