Much as I hate to begin with indecision, I genuinely can’t decide whether Skull Heads is one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen or one of the most ridiculous. Probably a bit of both.
The Arkoff’s are an odd family. First off they are clearly American despite apparently living in Italy for generations and never leaving to do anything ever (a tenuous reason is given for this anomaly, but it’s too silly to be worth mentioning). Their little family unit is made up of a domineering disciplinarian dad, Carver, who makes his first appearance tying his daughter to a rack for the heinous crime of bringing a mobile phone into the castle. We also have mum, Lisbeth; a pampered and temperamental curvaceous ‘Italian’ sex kitten, mentally deficient, but sexually voracious Uncle Peter and a shadowy bedridden grandfather with a penchant for Poe. Daughter Naomi completes the picture and she’s something of unsurprising loon too though seemingly harmless with her childlike wackiness. Their peculiar brand of crazy is allowed to run free in their rambling and picturesque ancestral home.
Things seem to be going swimmingly for the nutty Arkoffs, but trouble looms on the horizon in the shapely form to teenage Naomi who is beginning to discover a world of cell phones and iPods which, as these things are apt to do, is beginning to open a whole new world outside the castle walls and filling her head crazy ideas like college and travelling and new people. Fortunately big mad dad is around to show his daughter the error of her ways and the evil of the outside world by introducing her to medieval torture devices.
Crafty little minx Naomi won’t be beaten though and conspires with the more congenial Lisbeth to invite the crew to a fancy Arkoff family dinner where, helpfully, the legend of the Skull Heads is finally explained. The Skull Heads are apparently hundreds of years old and are the protectors of the Arkoff castle, I’m not really sure what exactly they do to protect the castle, but they can raise the dead and really that’s impressive enough by itself. Now, this is my favourite part, odd glimpses of the Skull Heads have been seen through the movie and they are something of revelation. The Skull Heads, it turns out, are small glittery Día de los Muertos style examples of art and craft hour. As ridiculous as this sounds, in a time of crappy CGI, the fact that someone sat down and made these and animated them makes me really happy. Even though they really don’t contribute anything to the film despite it being named for them and a teensy bit of dead raising at the last minute, I still love this. Someone really persevered to insert them into a film where really a much simpler and less silly narrative device would have done of the job; I thoroughly respect such blind, bull-headed commitment to artistic vision.
Naturally the Skull Heads are non to pleased with this turn of events and things promptly kick off bad style (I’m not sure why I just said that). In the madness that ensues we learn the real disturbing truth about the Arkoff family.
|Arts and crafts gone mad|