THE BALLAD OF SKINLESS PETE
First off, I would like to say thanks again to Dustin Wayde Mills. He is the director of the Horror/sci-fi film “The Ballad Of Skinless Pete”. I appreciate you allowing me to preview the film before its official release date. The film stars Brandon Salkil, who has had roles in some of Dustin’s previous films, Erin Ryan plays the female lead. Peter Peel (Salkil), is a very ambitious oncologist who is working on a cure for cancer. Alice Cross (Ryan), is his best friend and research partner. The two think they have discovered the potential cure for cancer inside the stomach of an exotic parasite, so they set out to conduct tests. They are denied funding for the tests so Peter decides to inject himself with the string, what he gets is more than he bargained for as it starts melting his flesh and changing his appearance.
I have seen “Bath Salt Zombies”, “Night Of The Tentacles” and several more of Dustin’s films, none of which I have been overly impressed with. Sure, he is working on a limited budget and creating majority of the ideas himself and I commend him for his ongoing efforts. This latest venture has shown his ability to do things a little more professionally and come up with that polished look that’s been missing in his previous work. The screenplay and story behind this experiment gone wrong is really well written. The technical aspects in his work have improved volumes too. The audio is nice and clear, majority of the steadicam still shots look really nice and the clear-cut editing between scenes tops off the directing aspect. There is some really solid and well-developed dialogue written in this film too, from what I remember in Dustin’s other films that wasn’t the case. I will mention that both Brandon and Erin work really well together. They had good chemistry for some natural dark humour and then managed to really pull it together for the more emotionally driven scenes.
Moreover, I commend Erin on taking on the task of nudity in several scenes, because that’s not easy for anyone to do! I think Brandon steals the show though with his ability to carry the film and give it that dark edge. I like the piano and bass score work as well, although I wasn’t as bigger fan of some of the synth music, I thought that got a little tedious. The positives far out weigh the negatives here. In a few of the close cut scenes back and forth, the camera gets a little shaky. Also, because a lot of the film is shot in the basement with minimal lighting the overall tone of the film is really dark. When there are glimpses of light they seem to be glaringly bright and shine straight in the eye line of where the audience is looking. That’s probably a difficult thing to avoid in low-budget filmmaking, but it’s a little hard to watch.
The Ballad Of Skinless Pete is by far Dustin’s best work. He continues to gain experience and write cool and unique ideas within horror and it’s sub genres. This is a fast pace little horror/sci-fi flick. It contains some great practical creature makeup effects and some cool blood and gore, personally I think it could have had even more! but that’s just me. I like the mask and stages of makeup on the decomposing Peter, I thought it was really disturbing. This entire film was very reminiscent of a cross between “Hollow Man” and Cronenberg’s classic sci-fi film “The Fly”. If this sounds like your type of film, be sure to check it out and support Dustin! Go to the link below and be sure to support his films, well done can’t wait to get a hard copy of this one.
My rating for “The Ballad Of Skinless Pete” is 6/10