Monday, December 23, 2013

Snoop Doggy Bones

Aside from directing episodes of some of television's best shows, Ernest R. Dickerson is a filmmaker with two outstandingly fun credits to his name: the Billy Zanetastic Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight and the all-star Most Dangerous Game blast Surviving the Game

The man has a nice touch.

Quick Plot: A group of industrious teenagers decide to turn a long-abandoned slum house into a hip and hopping nightclub. What they don't know is that said facility was once the home of Jimmy Bones, a man who ruled the '70s with pimp style and a heart of gold. 

Sadly for the community, Jimmy was murdered by some crooked cops and aggressive drug dealers, leaving his neighborhood to crumble and the love of his life (Pam Motherf*cking Grier) alone with a daughter that grows up to be none other than the terrifyingly ageless, deadly expressionless Bianca Lawson.

Can we talk about Bianca Lawson for a moment? Most folks would recognize her as Kendra Dee Vamp-ir Slayer, aka the Blight On Buffy Season 2. Young'ns might identify Lawson as Maya, the bisexual teenager who helps Emily Fields come out on ABC Family Channel's Pretty Little Liars (not that I, a 31 year old woman, watch it or anything...). 

Even if you aren't a fan of a YA-series-based television show that values fashion as much as mystery, you have to be able to appreciate the fact that this mediocre-to-dull actress is still playing a teenager nearly 20 years after giving Sarah Michelle Gellar a (thankfully) temporary sidekick. 

End of my 'Biance Lawson Is Probably a Vampire' theorizing. 

Time to start the 'Pam Grier Just Keeps Getting More Awesome' lecture-

Actually, I guess we can get back to the movie. Which sadly now much lead to the 'Snoop Dogg Is Fine When He's Not Talking' sigh. Especially when the talking involves rhymes. Or rhyme-ishes, whichever.

Bones, you see, has been laying undisturbed in the slum building-soon-to-be-turned-into-a-happening-nightclub. When the teens move their equipment in, they accidentally resurrect Jimmy (or a dog does it; I'm not that observant really) who now, in his supernatural ghost spirit form, is ready to wreak revenge on his killers. Those who get in the way are simply collateral damage.

Far from a great film, Bones is a surprising amount of fun once it finds its foothold in its blacksploitation roots. While the modern teen stuff meanders, the adult cast (many with strong '70s roots like the divine Ms. Grier) helps to keep the tone refreshingly throwback. Like some of Dickerson's other work, Bones wobbles over the line of horror and comedy, and would probably have benefited from committing stronger to the latter. By the time Snoop Dogg is holding the decapitated but still smack talking head of his enemy, Bones has made its decision.

High Points
Sometimes, just existing is something special. In this case, who'dve thunk to make a blaxsploitation-inspired horror comedy in 2001?

Low Points
Ah, 2001, a time when practical effects were occasionally still celebrated, making the simultaneous use of atrociously dated CGI all the more glaring

Lessons Learned
Cigarette lighters provide about the same amount of light as turning on a switch

Some holes just can’t be filled

Nothing is quite as flammable as a polyester dress from the 1970s

A gangsta of love don’t eat no fried chicken (when a CGI human-faced dog says it, you know it's true)

Speaking of Pretty Little Liars, did you know that four can keep a secret if three of them are dead?

Look! It's-
American Mary herself, Katharine Isabelle in a fairly wasted role as the hero’s stepsister

To my knowledge, Bones had a pretty bad reputation as being laughable. While Snoop Dogg trying to act is kind of ALWAYS laughable, the film itself is a perfectly fun time, and those with affection for blaxsploitation will find a lot of little bonuses to enjoy.


  1. Okay, screw the haters, I loved this movie!

    It wasn't perfect, it wasn't horrible, it was exactly the way you describe it.

    I never paid much mind to Bianca Lawson's acting BUT in immersing myself in my new online project, I did find out that Bianca is a pure product of privilege. You may (or soon may) recognize her father, Richard Lawson as a veteran actor (he starred alongside of Pam Grier in Scream, Blacula, Scream appropriately in the 70s) and I believe still acting today.

    Her mother is a model? Something like that but if you're wondering why such a blase actress is getting roles many (especially) Black women would KILL for her, I'm sure her lineage has something to do with it.

    And I just about forgot Katty Isabelle was in this. Wasted for sure.

    1. Funny, I knew her dad was an actor but for obvious reasons, I always wanted to think he was Richard DAWson. That doesn't make sense, but the idea somehow makes me happier.

      And wanna know something crazy? Bianca Lawson was originally cast as Cordelia on Buffy, but had to drop out due to scheduling (because SHE ALWAYS GETS WORK) and was later added as Kendra. I'm glad I don't live in that world.

  2. Fine review, Emily!

    By the way, have you ever noticed in Love Actually, there's a scene where the homewrecker bitch says to Alan Rickman "It's for you. It's all for you."? I wonder if that's a coincidence, or if the filmmakers were deliberately quoting The Omen! haha!

    1. I like to think the latter. When in doubt, it's ALWAYS an Omen homage!

  3. You're right on the money here. I like Bones quite a bit. I think there's a bit of Italian horror lurking around the edges of it... Those maggots just scream Fulci to me!

    1. I didn't even think of it, but I could totally see it being a sort of blacksploitation/Italian hybrid.