Directed by Armando Fonseca, Kapel Furman
Written by Armando Fonseca, Kapel Furman
Starring Rurik Jr, Guta Ruiz, Tristan Aronovich, Ivo Müller
Rad is really the only way to adequately describe this movie. Apparently based on an actual pre-Columbian myth, the idea for Skull: The Mask has actually been around for quite some time. The Brazilian writing and directing team of Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman conceived of a supernatural serial killer possessed by an ancient, mystical artifact years ago when they pitched the idea at the first edition of Fantasmercado – an event at Fantastic Fest aimed at helping Latin American productions get off the ground. Cinestate funded the project and it’s now just starting to grab some buzz, thanks especially to unique festivals like the Chattanooga Film Fest that seem tailor made for the bloody mayhem and pro-devil propaganda this movie so deliciously provides. It’s definitely geared towards the pro-wrestling crowd as well; and just as that sport is now deemed essential, Skull:The Mask is essential viewing, too.
Known as The Entrail Collector of the 4 Worlds (like I said, rad), the demon T’Uxlu is a guardian of the portal to the Underworld that resides in a horned skull mask. Reminiscent of the Hellboy mythos, our story begins in the 1940’s after a military experiment fails to control the entity, leading the mask to lay dormant until it resurfaces in present day São Paulo. After possessing an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time, the demon personified goes on an epic killing spree to gain sacrifices in order to become a God. (I know, you’re already in.)
The man inside the mask should not remain anonymous because Brazil may have found their version of Kane Hodder in pro-wrestler Rurik Jr. A member of the Brazilian Wrestling Federation, Rurik Jr. is also know as Beto and his signature moves are the La Mistica and the Splash – moves that are prominently displayed in some of the action kills throughout the run time. The character of Skull already feels like a classic heel in Hell’s WWE, and Rurik’s physicality is undeniable. If there are sequels (and there is definitely an opening), the filmmakers would be smart to keep Rurik Jr. in the role so he could make a run at Kane’s four movie streak as Jason Voorhees. What can I say, the man is just a joy to watch as he impales party goers with his unholy hatchet attached to a rope of intestines.
Skull the character had already been used on Fonseca and Furman’s well-known Cinelab Program, a reality show focusing on practical visual effects, so it’s no wonder that the kills in this are on point. If the slasher sacrifices aren’t inventive every time, they are still incredibly visceral, crowd-pleasing set pieces. There’s also a samurai inspired scene that pays a little homage to wuxia cinema. Oh, and did I mention there’s a fight against a badass priest in a cemetery? Now, that I think about it, what more could they do in a sequel?
Skull: The Mask will make you miss seeing movies with a crowd. It will make you miss spilling popcorn on your date after you pump your fist uncontrollably after a particularly gory kill. It’s an indie action slasher masterpiece. On top of that, it has a lot of mythology to explore and, who knows, there might even be more masks out there waiting to be discovered.
Blood drenched. Splatterific. Goretastic. What other adjectives do you need? A demon who guards the Underworld uses an ancient mask to possess a body to bring on an epic bloodbath that will turn it into a God. The Brazilian Jason!