Bonejangles was an easy buy for me. We have the horrifying visage of the title character, the Bone Jangler, a.k.a. Edgar Friendly Junior. He’s wearing the half skull mask my buddy Mickey Knox wears for zombie walks, and a quick glance at the back cover reveals an appearance by Reggie Banister. I’m in.
The local police force has captured the notorious serial killer, Bonejangles. Now, all that’s left to do is to transport him to a maximum-security asylum. The only problem is, the handoff will be made at A foggy little town in the middle of nowhere. It just so happens to be one of the cop’s hometown, and it hides a terrible secret. One night a year, the dead rise from their graves to feast on the living. One night a year, this sleepy little hamlet is overrun by zombies. And that night, is tonight.
Of course, that’s business as usual for the cop. He’s completely forgotten about it, he’s more nervous because the girlfriend he left behind still lives there… And tonight is also her wedding night. Once in the town, we get the backstory, that the local Madame was drug out of her house of ill repute, to be burned as a witch. Being a prostitute, she’s not just any kind of which, she’s a succubus. And she laid a curse on the town with her dying breath. Now she lives in the haunted house on the outskirts of town, keeping herself alive in our by capturing young man and using them. Possibly. The only way to stop her, would be if there were some violent being with equally supernatural abilities around to kill her.
Like perhaps, a superhuman serial killer?
This is the brilliance of Bonejangle. They manage to turn this into a versus movie… in the tradition of King Kong versus Godzilla, Freddy versus Jason, Alien versus Predator. They take to completely unknown monsters, and set up these two opposing mythologies with the witch and the Jason clone serial killer (he’s got two machetes to show that he’s even scarier than Jason) and turn it into a terrifying show down that satisfies every bit as much as it would have had it been a franchise with characters that we recognize, and the zombies are just the icing on the cake.
Bonejangles does not shy away from blood and gore, particularly in the third act. They do it well, and make their bad guys look really good. Reggie Bannister is confined mostly to flashbacks, it looks like he came in and worked on the movie for one day so they could put his name on the box and that’s fine. He does an excellent job chewing the scenery and hamming it up as Edgar Friendly Senior, a serial killer in his own right, before passing his madness down to his monstrous son. He delivers some foreshadowing that pays off in spades towards the end, and gives us everything that we could want from a Reggie Bannister performance.
The bordello itself is achieved using curious means, they apparently couldn’t find a house that satisfy them so they built a large miniature, and use some serious forced perspective. We actually get it in frame not only by itself, but also with some of our characters… The big problem is they linger on the house too long, and your eye has time to adjust to the fact that it’s not quite real. Even worse is the use of CGI in this film. A stock blood spatter that hasn’t nearly been color corrected enough, and an explosion that looks like it comes straight out of a video game. The filmmakers obviously don’t know what they’re doing with the CG, but the good news is they’re probably aware of the issue, As they kept it to a minimum. It’s jarring, but there’s so little of it that it doesn’t sink the film.
Altogether, Bonejangles is actually a really fun, bloody horror film that does some very smart things and delivers us some really great monsters. I’d actually like to see a prequel to this, just to see more of the Bone Jangler himself.
85% of the cast is under 25
Bad CGI (common, afterFX, same old blood packs)
Horror con star cameo