When we last saw Chromeskull, he'd had his face melted and his head caved in via baseball bat. Not a fun situation to find oneself in. Now, with Chromeskull catching up on some much needed rest, his second in command, Preston is sent out to finish the job he started and tie up loose ends. But Preston has ideas of his own about who should be running this show...The first time I saw LAID TO REST, I was immediately charmed by its antagonist. The Skull faced, camera wielding headcase known as Chromeskull was, and is, a slasher for the ages. Theres a real lack of truly iconic killers in the genre these days, and alongside Babyface from THE HILLS RUN RED, our knife happy pal was one of the few masked killers who's image alone made him eminently watchable. Shame then that his stomping ground was a film so mired in terrible acting and ridiculous plot developments that took the viewer straight out of the experience. It was a strange mash-up of brilliant ideas and half baked execution. Let me rephrase that, the only thing that was not 'half baked' in LAID TO REST was the execution. The kills were beautiful to behold, and stand among the greatest ever put onscreen in a modern slasher. I've seen the film a few times since, usually with a beer in hand and a group of buddies round to enjoy the bloodshed. You ever drank far too much and slept with someone you know is trash, but you just couldn't resist? LAID TO REST is like that. You'll have fun with it when your trashed out of your skull, but you'll wake up feeling guilty come the dawn.
I'd hoped that with the sequel, the issues of the first film could be remedied. A simple task really. Keep the eyeball raping kills and the stone cold killer, give us a plot strand to hold onto, discard of the dreadful acting and perhaps have the characters characters behaviour resemble something like you'd find on our planet. Alas, the God's of Horror did not hear my prayers, (whats with these guys!? They never wiped out Brad Fuller for me either!), as our kickass villain once again find himself waist deep in nonsense that would shame 'Space Jason'.
Despite far better acting, better kills and antagonists with a hint of depth, this film is, strangely, a step backwards. Now I know that's nothing unusual for a slasher series, but I had hope that the LAID TO REST franchise would work in reverse. You know, start of sub-par and work its way into something resembling Horror greatness? Its killer sure as hell deserves better than these two films, and its special effects team should be showered with virgins and fine wine for they're beautiful sins. I'd hoped they would listen to what the fans wanted, because yes, there are fans of this series. A lot of them. I want to be one of them! But if you keep hitting us with unintelligible storylines, we're gonna head to pastures new. Its not enough to have an insanely cool killer in a slasher movie. It's almost enough. Its 'lowest common denominator' enough, and we'll drink to it, party with it, and maybe even sleep with it more than once if we're fucked up enough, but what we really want to do is fall in love with it.
|That ain't Chromeskull....|
So we have wonderful kills, but here the real rub. Most of the kills aren't dealt out by Chromedome! We learn very quickly, (within five minutes) that he has helpers, and one of them wants to take over the big boys position now that he has a face that looks like a truck fucked it. That could have been a great angle to take the story, but instead, its just one of many things thrown in there that never amount to a much of any damn thing. The fact that our killer Skeletor takes a backseat for the best part of the movie is infuriating. All the kills his 2nd Lieutenant commits are awesome, but we came to see CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST, not 'HELPER: LAID TO REST. That awesome teaser where he spins the blades? Helper. The amazing kill with said blades? Helper. The designer of awesome blades? FUCKING HELPER! I wanted to eat my own brain. The acting is a step or forty up from last time, and the helper in question, named Preston, is played really well by Brian Austin Green, but give him his OWN FUCKING FILM! I felt cheated. Now some viewers may not have a problem with this, but for my money, I wanna see what I came for. I don't watch a FRIDAY THE 13TH film to see Jigsaw slaughtering people, or vice versa. This was by far the worst decision the writers have made here, but its not the only one.
CHROMESKULL was a real disappointment for me, but it may be the complete opposite for you. I didn't hate it, (far from it), and theres a great deal to admire, not least the infinitely cinematic killing machine of the title. I may be looking too deeply into a simple slasher movie but I really believe the character could be up there with the greats, given the right material. Were this any other low budget franchise I'd have been quite content with it, perhaps even raved about it, but its one I had really high hopes for, and my hopes were dashed. I love the character. I want to love the franchise, but as it stands, I just can't. If your looking for solid kills, insane gore effects and viciousness by the bucket load, you came to the right rodeo, but if like me, your hoping for a work that's the equal of its antagonist, you may well feel let down. I'm still rooting for you, Chromecranium, my man. Sharpen those blades, dust yourself down and get back to work.
6 Splitting Headaches out of 10