Like most national cinemas, Brazilian cinema is one with a grand tradition that occasionally gets overlooked. From the Cinema Novo films of the 1960s, to the works of Hector Babenco, to the recent art house hits of Kleber Mendonça Filho, it’s a cinema with a rich history that continues to this day.
I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on cinematic history. For the life of me, I cannot find if there are other Brazilian slasher films, so thus, there is probably a very good chance that Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman’s Skull: The Mask is probably the first. If it isn’t, please let me know and provide me with some of the other titles. I wanna watch them and educate myself!
None of this matters one iota in determining the quality of Skull: The Mask, which is less of an American slasher film, and more of a late 60s Italian giallo film. Bay of Blood with its ritualistic opening, seems like a good reference points, as does some of the slower mystery elements of the genre’s history.
But let’s also be real here, for as much as this feigns being the story of a detective (Natalia Rodrigues) investigating a series of murders involving a stolen artifact, what it’s really about is the gore. The film features copious amounts of dismembered gore, which additionally makes the film feel oh so very metal as well. What I appreciate the most about Skull:The Mask is that it refuses to enter horror comedy territory. Fonseca and Furman treat their material with the upmost importance, which means the film is never aggravating. Instead, the film is forgettably competent, offering enough atmosphere and mood to be enjoyable, but not particularly memorable.