If you’re a fan of brutal, muscular, blood-soaked slashers then good news – Armando Fonesca and Kapel Furman’s Skull: The Mask is available on Shudder from today.
This is the story of a ritual mask created by Anhangá, the priest/executioner of the pre-Columbian god Tahawantinsupay. It between bouts of cackling away atop his ancient pyramid, Anhangá created a ritual skull-mask: a supernatural weapon designed to attach itself to the nearest muscular chap, imbue them with indestructible power and strength, and compel them to fend off non-natives and bring about the wrath of Tahawantinsupay.
A prologue is set during a disastrous military/occult experiment in the dying days of World War II, which ends badly in terms of the intactness of the mask-wearer’s head. The story then switches to modern-day Sao Paulo, where the mask resurfaces to continue its fearful god-resurrecting mission.
There’s a certain amount of fun to be had in the mask-eye view of this deadly facial covering as it scuttles around looking for a fresh host to latch onto. But this splattery B-movie really gets going once our spooky friend locates a beefy handyman and leaps onto his face. The mask forces this hapless meat-puppet (played by Brazilian wrestling champion Rurik Jr.) into a killing spree, monomaniacally intent on completing the ritual necessary to bring about the return of Tahawantinsupay and the extermination of all colonisers. Which some would argue is a legit position to take.
This Brazilian horror may have a small budget, but that doesn’t stop it going big on practical gore effects. If you like your killers big, masked, brutal, and able to rip someone’s face off with a single swipe of the hand, this one’s for you.
The energy drops off every time we drop in on local cop Beatriz Obdias (Natallia Rodrigues) and her slightly dull police investigation, but every time we switch back to our killer as he cuts his swathe through downtown Sao Paulo, things pick right back up – with a bloody visit to a nightclub being a particular highlight.
Some late-breaking emphasis on the cosmic horror element seals the deal – if you like viscera and glimpses of the netherworld in your slashers, then check out Skull: The Mask.
Skull: The Mask is streaming on Shudder now.