The Horrible Dr. Bones (2000)

horribledrbones_1Starring Darrow Igus, Larry Bates, Sarah Scott Davis, Rhonda Claerbaut, Danny Wooten, Tangelia Rouse, Derrick Delaney, Nathaniel Haywood

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


The Horrible Dr. Bones doesn’t lend itself to much of anything, whether we’re talking about writing a review, having a discussion, or just watching the movie for simple entertainment. Made to specifically target the black audience, The Horrible Dr. Bones is about an up-and-coming rap group looking for their big break. Hmm, sounds mysteriously similar to Ragdoll… but beyond this base-level similarity, the two films are very different.

The up-and-coming rap group in this film are the Urban Protectors, and we open on them arriving to an audition for the prestigious producer Dr. Bones. Well, actually it opens on Dr. Bones and his recording engineer making an auditioner’s head explode with the loudness of their jams, but I hate to mention it because it makes the movie seem like it might be an enjoyable horror experience. Anyway, the Urban Protectors wait their turn to perform by watching a couple of other groups perform, and since this is a Full Moon movie, we are “treated” to this as well. It’s not the music that bothers me — I love music and performance — it’s that everything is lip-synced rather poorly, so there’s never one moment that comes close to capturing the feel of a band performing for an audience.

horribledrbones_2This style of general filler to pass time continues through almost the entire film, composed of a lot of arguments about contracts and band dynamics. The Urban Protectors’ friend, manager and sound engineer, Jamal (Larry Bates), never believes that Dr. Bones and his tempting promises are on the level, and honestly that’s about all the horror you get until the finale. There is a lengthy dream sequence where Dr. Bones brings the group members together in a collective dream and then tells them their inner most desires and fears, but honestly it just felt like a long filler scene than anything meaningful in a narrative context.

In terms of FX there isn’t much, but whenever Dr. Bones does his little voodoo ritual he turns into an older, more evil version of himself. It’s not an especially great transformation, but I appreciated it for what it was: a bit of quality makeup FX in a newer Full Moon film (something relatively rare). The doctor’s look was designed by the noted FX artist Gabe Bartalos, who worked on a number of other Full Moon productions, but probably did his most famous work on Basket Case 2, Frankenhooker and Leprechaun.

horribledrbones_16The bulk of the FX are CG in nature, though, and they look pretty horrible. Full Moon is known for being pretty cheap with its movies, but man, the CG in this movie literally looks like they hired a high school kid with a marginal understanding of what he was supposed to do. There’s a “bubbling skin” effect that they seem to use in every movie of this era that fares the best, but I’m at a loss to even comprehend what the black things floating around Dr. Bones at the climax of his ritual were supposed to be. But since I don’t understand anything of Dr. Bones’ supernatural abilities or magic in general, I suppose I can’t expect to know what these black things floating around him are. Some things are better left to the imagination.

I can’t really recommend The Horrible Dr. Bones, but I will say that it did end strongly (in relative terms) so I ended up coming away kind of liking it. But honestly, there are far better movies to spend 72 minutes with, Full Moon and otherwise.

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be watching the 2001 Moonbeam film Micro Mini Kids! See ya then!

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