The Horrible Doctor Bones (2000)Written By: Raymond Forchion
Directed By: Ted Nicolaou
Starring: Darrow Igus, Larry Bates, Sarah Scott Davis, Rhonda Claerbaut, Danny Wooten, Tangelina Rouse.
Country of Origin: United States of America
I firmly believe that watching bad movies takes years off of my life. While there is a definitive truth in this (simply spending 90 minutes at a time on these masterpieces is time I’ll never get back), I actually believe that these movies are aging me horribly, day-by-day. But with only one life to live, I want to spend many of my remaining years remembering the fond times when I scoped out a diamond in the rough and found that it had more of a social and geo-political statement than anything currently in the A-List (I’m referring to you, Avatar). Tonight’s picture is not one of those kind of films. Instead, we’re getting The Horrible Doctor Bones, the second entry for Full Moon Pictures in as many publications.
An aside, if you read the review for Dead & Rotting, then you’re probably well aware that this is the other Full Moon VHS currently in my possession, so it likely means more of the same. And a further aside to the aside, my trailers that supplant this film are far worse than the other video. First, I get a trailer for a poorly done, low-budget voodoo doll epic, Ragdoll. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I get two more commercials for Ragdoll, one hyping the action figure of the menacing voodoo killing doll from the film, and one hyping the soundtrack. These two commercials are then in duplicate for The Horrible Doctor Bones even before I’ve watched the movie. The action figure costs $19.99, minus shipping and handling. This VHS cost me .99 Cents. We’re off to a hot start, folks.
The titular character of this one doesn’t take long for his presence to be known. Dr. Bones is in fact a record producer that lures young talent into his underground studio for sound and music experiments. Now, I’m not sure what’s weirder here: the fact that whenever Bones appears onscreen, a bizarre sound effect that sounds like a plunger in action plays, or the fact that his musical experiments result in his test subjects doing less rapping and more head exploding than planned. I’m gonna say, just this once, that the whole head exploding murder thing is probably meant to be the primary focus of these bewildering goings on.
From the get-go, this one sets up just like the other Full Moon entry, in that we’re spending a lot of time getting nowhere, all the while noticing dozens of continuity and plot errors, many of which IMDB would likely site as being “intentional by the cast and crew.” During the first 20 minutes alone, characters seem to have incredible projection abilities during their band auditions, creating microphone feedback whilst not even speaking into or near the microphone (which isn’t plugged into anything). There’s a few drummer close-ups that reveal a lack of playing or acting like playing ability as well as a bassist and a keyboardist, both of whom fail at pantomime (and their instruments are plugged into anything, either). The speakers in the background serve little purpose in such a small arena which also, apparently, has its own lighting production crew. And as if I haven’t pointed out enough stupidity, the Urban Protectors, the band with whom we are supposed to relate and support given that they are the only protagonists this film has sprouted yet, audition with a song that does something really bizarre for a live track: fade out. The song fades out. Now that is pure genius. Spend enough money on the movie for an action figure and a soundtrack, but forget that when using songs for the flick, you might want to reedit them for the audience’s benefit. The leads also toast out of Dixie Cups when they sign their record deal. Dixie Cups are gangster.
Now, while I can bash the complete and total laziness of cast and crew alike in this production (and I have), The Horrible Doctor Bones is not without some upside. It spends more time than the regular horror movie building a backdrop for the principle characters and Darrow Igus is actually halfway decent as Dr. Bones himself. He manages to manipulate the band into believing he can make them rich and famous, yet he’s already accumulated a body count higher than any albums or millions they’ve actually made. Bones brings out the innermost demons and troubles within each of the four Urban Protectors, making great strides towards his evil conception.
All of this has happened, yet the blood, guts, and gore that we likely thought we were going to get hasn’t. In fact, I anticipate that it won’t happen. Ever. You see, this movie takes all day to get absolutely nowhere. Dr. Bones is more concerned with lies, voodoo, and treachery than he is actually, you know, ripping someone’s head off. There is some heart-squishing and a few visuals of a devil-inspired Dr. Bones, but other than that, you really don’t get the big payoff you were hoping for.
Quote of the Film:
“Baby, if you was an ice cream cone, you’d definitely be licked.” -Pookie. Yes, Pookie.
Unlike the actual music industry, most of this movie is completely out of sync with anything entertaining, and, ironically, makes you feel like your head is exploding. An inordinate amount of time is spent filming piss poor, underground music videos and blacksploitation for the 21st century. And clocking in at just over 72 minutes, that’s time they really didn’t have to waste, making this hardly a full-length feature film at all. Think of it more as a music video with brief spurts of acting, killing, makeup, and really terrible plot, and you’ll be watching an extended and uninspiring Thriller rip off. In fact, for a cast made up entirely of African-Americans, you’re somewhat surprised that one of them doesn’t play the race card given the overwhelming minstrelsy presented on the screen. Believe it or not, that may actually be a good thing. There are some very real circumstances and situations that the characters are put in, and the writing, from a dialogue standpoint, stands up stronger than 90% of horror movies released around the same time. The issues that these kids face should be reflective of their internal struggles with Dr. Bones, but instead, all of that falls by the wayside in favor of a very plodding, slow film that does little to showcase horror or scares. Sure it’s cheap, but you should never discount how important a good death scene is when matched up against the likes of this.