Knucklebones, which screened at this weekend’s Horror Channel Frightfest is an old school trashy slasher. After attempting suicide pretty young teen Neesa (Julin) decides to join her friends for a night of fun in an abandoned warehouse. With rumours of the place being haunted the group are thrilled when they discover a demon summoning ritual. They aren’t so thrilled however, when their ritual works and calls forth the deadly Knucklebones (Tom Zembrod).
Yes, this is a film that plays to all of the expected conventions of the genre, but sometimes that is exactly what you want from a film. This is helped immensely by the fact that Knucklebones never takes itself too seriously. Knucklebones himself is a demonic riff of the iconic Freddy Krueger. Like Krueger, Knucklebones likes to verbally torment and tease his victims. Also like Kruger, he’s media and modern society savvy, he taunt’s one of his victims with a ‘that’s what she said’ quip before stating that he’ll ‘just put the tip in’ before unleashing a chainsaw into a very inappropriate crevice.
He also manifests in a bone-crunching (literally) stomach-churning way. It’s not the usual way we see demons arrive in films and it will definitely stick in your memory for a while after viewing.
Sadly the titular maniac doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. Instead we have to suffer the usual story of the partying teens who stumble into trouble. It’s even more infuriating in this film as the group knowingly summon a demon and then are confused when it works. They run around screaming, lamenting that there has to be an explanation – yes there is, you raised a demon and it’s as pissed as Hell. The group is made up of all the usual stock characters, the final girl, the sex mad bimbo, the bitchy best friend, the horny male, and the sensitive guy.
Not content with just that group, before we reach the first hour we’re introduced to a secondary band of people. This group arrive at the warehouse with the intention of stripping the building of copper and are formed of anarchic criminals. The only reason to include these extras seems to be to provide more cannon fodder for Knucklebones to dispatch. And dispatch them he does. There are some very inventive deaths to be found within Kuncklebones and there are a couple of standout hilariously over-the-top executions. One involves the aforementioned chainsaw, and the other a really long and sharp skewer. The second team only last a fleeting few minutes and serve no other plot purpose and the film could easily do without them.
Camp, ever so slightly crass, and the perfect partner to the slasher film drinking game (it’s online), Knucklebones will never be a classic but is certainly a future guilty pleasure.
Knucklebones forms part of this year’s Frightfest programme.