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  Skinheads Buy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Greydon Clark
Stars: Brian Brophy, Jason Culp, Elizabeth Sagal, Chuck Connors, Dennis Ott, Barbara Bain, Liz Sagal, Bill Kohne, Lynna Hopwood, Gene Mitchell, Frank Noon, Bunny Summers
Genre: Thriller, Trash
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It seems surprising to me that, despite their reputation for violence, sociopathic image and general all round negativity, there aren't more movies centred around skinheads. In fact, right now, I can only think of three: Made In Britain, Romper Stomper and American History X. Perhaps without the freaked-out promiscuity of the hippies, the shocking flamboyance of punks, the good-natured dumbness of rockers and hip-hop gangsta's all-round coolness, they just seem so uniform. So.... boring.

Skinheads starts off pretty well. How's about this? The gang, led by the psychotic psycho Damon walk into a Jewish grocery, eating all the candy and generally throwing stuff about (a sight that reminds me, a little anyway, of the Job Centre scene in Made In Britain). Upon seeing the owner's camp tattoo (I mean a number on his wrist, not an anchor on his forearm!) they go totally fucking nuts, knocking fuck out of him (twice, for good measure) and filching (not felching! Hell, when did you ever hear of big, butch blokes in tight denims and braces involved in such depravity?) the store's takings. When a young black boy comes in, they give him a damn good (and extremely brutal) hiding. Luckily he runs away and gets his big bro' and co., who return with fucking Uzi's (yay!), ready to kick some skinhead butt, but end up, implausibly, getting shot to bits before the boneheads escape in their "Death Van" (a white Transit with an inconspicuous swastika (which spins the wrong way... by the way - ahem...) spray-painted on the side). Back at the hideout, a young, impressionable teenager comes to join the Alopecia SS and is accepted. Now, you can watch as he realises the error of his ways and trys to claw his way out of the Aryan cess-pit he's just dropped himself into.

But it is not to be. Instead the skins go on the run, but being as they're trying to hide from the law they go on the rampage, raping and killing (again, very brutally) the owners and customers in a roadside cafe. The two survivors escape in a crappy old Volkswagen Beetle which is, unsurprisingly, run off the road by the Death Van. By the time the hapless heroes have fled into the woods, the movie has turned into The Hills Have Eyes, Deliverance or any number of similar movies involving heroes hiding from villains in alien environments.

Which is why, upon my first impression, I was determined not to like this movie. Don't get me wrong, I like generic movies but this appeared to be slipping into that grey, nether region known as "average". I mean, for a start, the hero and heroine are like chalk and cheese, constantly getting at each other throughout the film until they, presumably, fall in love (I could see it in their eyes). And the big, hulking, retard of the skinhead family is called Brains - talk about inspired! Even worse, I wasn't quite keen on some of Skinheads' more original ideas, such as the concept of skins roaming the woods. Look, call me a celluloid-fascist if you will, but in Nazi terms skinheads are for the city, the woods are for the KKK and paranoid survivalists. And, without wanting to sound like a feminist-veggie-social worker-beardy weirdy-student-hippy-Glastonbury goer-anti-war protester-drug addict-Commie socialist, I reckon one of the black dudes should have pumped the final bullet into Damon. Sadly, all ethnic minorities in this film have been wiped out before the half-way mark, so there's no chance of this ever becoming another Brotherhood Of Death...

However, I must confess, that by the time Skinheads was over, I had become very fond of it. For a start, Skinheads is violent as fuck - in fact, given the extreme violence levels and the general tone of the movie, I'm surprised that it's been given an 18 cert! The high point of the film is a skinhead being crucified before becoming a meal for a rampaging, but cuddly, grizzly bear, but there are plenty of bloody shootings and twattings to tide you over beforehand. In fact, more good-guys get wasted here than at the National Drug Squad's Christmas Ball! Plus, the skinhead bird (after repeated viewings I still couldn't catch her name) is well-fit (Would I be out of order to ask, "Are you shaven?"), although some might not agree. There are some great songs on the soundtrack too, provided by Elvis Hitler..... and some fucking atrocious ones by Coven.

Disturbingly however, the skinheads' views are surprisingly philosophical (ie more than just run-of-the-mill racism), more befitting to the neo-Nazi intelligentsia than your average bonehead. Obviously Clark has done some serious research for this movie and it seems wasted on what amounts to a basic, dumb-ass plot. It sounds weird, I know, but for once in my life I find myself wishing for something more intellectual...
Reviewer: Wayne Southworth

 

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