This week on the B movie docket is Bones!
B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.
Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.
Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.
WEEK 21 – Bones
Welcome to another week of 50 B Movies. This week, I bring to you the urban horror B movie Bones. Directed by frequent Spike Lee collaborator Ernest Dickerson. The He’s Got Game director has previously enlisted Dickerson as Director of Photography on several of his films. Here is the synopsis for Bones: Jimmy Bones (Snoop “Doggy” Dogg) is a legendary protector and patron of his thriving neighborhood. Cool, handsome, and respected – Bones is the benevolent caretaker of his people until he is betrayed by those closest to him. Flash forward 20 years. Crime and drugs have crumbled the neighborhood and Jimmy Bones has become a charismatic emblem of better times. But his spirit is about to make a comeback.
You read that right. Dickerson enlisted former Death Row recording artist and frequent Martha Stewart collaborator Snoop Doggy Dog to become the face of a new horror franchise. Of course, this was 2001, so I do not think the duo had formed yet. Well, how does Snoop Dog fare as the supernatural killer in Bones?
I was not too familiar with any of the faces outside of Snoop, Clifton Powell AKA Pinky from Next Friday’s as Jeremiah Peet, and Mars Attacks! Pam Greer as Pearl, the widow to Bones. Overall, everyone does a solid job with the acting. I mean it does not seem like anyone was looking for an Oscar. But they also were not hamming it up B movie style either. It is a good compromise that fits the tone of the film well. Sadly, Bones is not giving Tony Todd’s Candyman a run for his money. But the acting suits this urban tale of vengeance fine.
Bones is told through a mix of present-day and flashbacks to Bones’ youth as a switchblade flipping pimp type character. Back in the day Bones used to run with a crew making illegal dollars. Soon Bones’ underlings grow a far larger appetite than anything Bones can satisfy. So, they decided to literally cut him out of the picture. Little did they know this dog holds a grudge that death will not get in the way of him fulfilling.
It is a straight-up vengeance tale that does its best to depict a middle-class affluent lifestyle being besieged by the supernatural. Clifton Powell plays a family man and Bones former right-hand man. Unluckily his kids are looking to get into the part business. Their first party happens to be at the house where Bones remains lye. And from then on out it is a tale of Bones burying his teeth and other sharp objects into people.
Bones may not be the scariest of villains. But he does a well enough job menacing the teenagers that have stolen his pimp ring and thrown a rager in the place he died. Bones is none too happy about that. The movie does a better job of building a horror atmosphere more so than it does delivering real scares to the viewer. I’ll put it this way: Bones would be more at home in a Clive Barker tale than a Stephen King one. There are more gross-out moments than horror. Take for instance the moment when Bones makes it rain maggots in the club.
Why You Should Watch It
Ever wonder how a rapper would act in a horror movie? You’ve seen that before with Ice-T in Leprechaun in the Hood. But here is the rare movie where the rapper is the villain. For that, Bones will not let you down. There is enough ghost banter and revenge talk on Snoop’s part that you won’t hate yourself for watching the movie.
Within the Bonesverse Bones is an effective villain. I’m not comparing Bones to Haddonfield Michael Myers or Elm Streets Freddy. But I will say that Bones is creepy enough played by Snoop Dog who brings life to the walking dead.
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