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CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 (2011)

Director: Robert Hall
Writer: Robert Hall and Kevin Laroche
Starring: Brian Austin Green, Thomas Dekker, Mimi Michaels, Owain Yeoman, Danielle Harris, Gail O’Grady, Christopher Allen Nelson, Johnathon Schaech, and Nick Principe as Chromeskull!
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Having grown up watching slash and stalk flicks, I think the LAID TO REST series is a franchise custom built for me. Writer/director Robert Hall has taken a lot of old school conventions—a distinctive looking killer with an original motif, a penchant for murdering folks in creative and devious ways and a tendency not to die, whatever is thrown on him or in his path. Much like Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers, Chromeskull is a serial killer whose masked face reflects the cold inscrutable manner with which he dispatches his victims. In many ways, LAID TO REST is exactly like FRIDAY THE 13th and HALLOWEEN, but Hall adds a few more layers to this character as well as some effects which harken back to the days when names like Savini and Bottin ruled the world and no one knew what the letters CGI meant.

Robert Hall has mentioned in interviews how influentual those old slasher films were because the makeup artists were honest-to-god talented illusionists. We wondered how Savini could make it look like the blade was going though someone’s throat or Bottin’s spider head sprouted legs and walked. It was part of the fun trying to figure that stuff out. Hall explains below how he incorporated practical effects with CGI in order to reinject that illusion in LAID TO REST 2 and the results gave me a smile so big I could taste my ears.

Story aside, if you’re a gore hound, CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 is a must see. You’ll cringe and laugh at the same time as our killer saws off a person’s ear or drives a blade through a victim’s head, wondering “How the hell did they do that?” The effects in this film are top notch, mainly because they happen in the scene with the characters. It also helps that the makeup is convincing as hell.

The cool thing about this is that much like the first 3 or 4 FRIDAY THE 13ths and the first two HALLOWEENs, LAID TO REST 2 takes place seconds after the first film ends. There’s something awesome about that, even though you know they are separate movies. It’s fun to watch the films back to back and imagine this is all one big epic. You get the same feeling with LAID TO REST. The sequel continues moments after Chromeskull was disposed of in the first film. But unlike HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13th which basically repeat the same formula in its sequels, LAID TO REST expands on the mystery of Chromeskull by uncovering some form of shadow corporation behind his murders. Though only a snippet of the details are revealed, turns out Chromeskull has a whole cadre of employees working for him including current queen of the scream queens Danielle Harris in a restrained performance and Brian Austin Green in a surprisingly and wickedly fun performance.

Hall also injects a bit more heft than your usual slasher yarn by incorporating and expanding on the voyeuristic elements from the first. Chromeskull wears a camera on his shoulder, videotaping all of his murders. Turns out when the camera is off, he won’t kill. Introducing this pathology to the character immediately gives him an Achilles heel and though he may seem unstoppable, he does have a weakness. Nick Principe brings Chromeskull to life, giving him unique quirks that separate him from the other slashers, yet maintaining a cold, diabolical, and stoic demeanor all the way through.

Of course, the film is left wide open to be sequelized once again in a variety of directions, but given the ingenuity of the effects, the uniqueness of the character of Chromeskull and the ever expanding mystery of the corporation and what makes the killer tick, CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2 proves that while its roots definitely lie in the slasher genre, it proves to be much less restricted by the conventions that give the genre and especially the sequels of these films such a bad name.
Here’s the trailer!