I’m of two minds about the documentary feature Skull World, now available on VOD: On one hand, its subject is not your ordinary, everyday guy who’s been doc’d to death. On the other, why encourage him?
Greg Sommer is a grown adult, yet lives in the basement of his mom’s house with his girlfriend, a blow-up doll. Since high school, he’s operated under the pseudonym of Skull Man, so named for the full mask he dons. His passion appears to be turning cardboard into homemade armor for the ongoing “box wars” he wages against others, but he holds down a day job as a cemetery worker and also has a public-access sketch show on the side, Variety Store TV.
The problem is that while Sommer is undeniably manic, he’s not particularly funny. The times when I laughed were not when he was cracking jokes, which is almost always, but when he was worshiping his terrible taste in music: “I've been rockin' Clutch since 1993. I rock Clutch loud ’n’ proud,” he tells the camera with pride. Later, he pays tribute to other bands while he’s doing push-ups: “This one's for Sepultura! This one's for Fear Factory!”
While watching Skull World, I was reminded of the recent Beauty Day, which is another documentary on another Canadian quasi-celeb / gadabout who doesn’t look before he leaps. The difference is that a fully formed arc exists in the storytelling of Beauty Day, whereas the intermittently entertaining Skull World feels like Justin McConnell (The Collapsed) was capturing footage of a crazy friend, which is the case. It’s quite possible that, given a span of more years, Sommer will do something to merit such a treatment. As is, setting up a “piss box,” a “shit box” and a “puke box” at a party he’s hosting doesn’t cut it.
The energetic film has its moments of greatness, but I think Sommer would be better suited to a short subject. His immaturity wears on the nerves ... or at least I simply don’t possess the enormous amount of patience that McConnell must for his pal. He’s all the better for it. —Rod Lott
Hey! Read This:
• Beauty Day film review
• The Collapsed DVD review