Last week’s pick was a lot of fun and with a heatwave sweeping the UK, I wanted to keep it lighter still with our first foray into Black horror. Where better to start than in the hands of possibly the best dressed demon ghost I’ve ever seen? And Pam Grier as a psychic badass babe.
That’s where we find ourselves anyway, in a supposedly bad neighbourhood haunted by the urban legend of Jimmy Bones. But what happens when the youths move in to turn old Jimmy’s gaff into a nightclub – and they ignore all sensible advice to let sleeping dog(g)s lie?
Over 20 years after his death by a gunshot, Jimmy Bones comes back as a ghost to wreak revenge on those who killed him and to clean up his neighborhood.
This Halloween, unleash the Dogg.
The year is 1979 and Jimmy Bones (Dogg) is a respected member of the community. Sure he’s a numbers runner and original G, but he’s a kind one who’s nice to kids and protects his ‘hood. One night though, he’s double crossed by a corrupt cop and the local drug pusher because he’s not into what they’re offering. Lupovich (Weiss) and Eddie Mack (Ricky Harris) shoot Jimmy, then have his associates, including girlfriend Pearl (Grier) stab him one by one, killing him to death.
Pearl FYI is a powerful psychic who reads Jimmy’s palm before this fateful meeting and seeing his life line end abruptly, begs him not to go. How different life may have been had he listened to his woman…
Fast forward to 2001 and buddies Patrick (Khalil Kain), Bill (Merwin Mondesir) and Maurice (Sean Amsing), along with Patrick’s little sister Tia (horror angel Katharine Isabelle) are scoping out the rundown old brownstone that used to belong to one Jimmy Bones. I mean, not that they know this yet.
Bizarrely, the entrepreneurial gang want to turn it into a party house/club which is probably the least believable thing about this plot. Regardless, they’ve bought the building sight unseen and go to check it out for the first time.
Along the way they meet Pearl, who, having failed to escape her surroundings, lives in the same apartment and still fucks with the supernatural for a living. She lives alone with her lovely daughter Cynthia (Bianca Lawson), who catches the eye of Patrick. There’s a question mark over the identity of Cynthia’s father but it’s rather obvious if you ask me.
Anyway, Pearl warns the kids that they’re dickheads to be messing round these parts and that they should hightail it out of there if they know what’s good. Oh, did I mention that they find a rottweiler guarding the building and take him home with them?
Meanwhile, Patrick and Tia’s dad, Jeremiah (Clifton Powell) seems to have something to hide and when Lupovich turns up on his doorstep, it seems all the more apparent he had something to do with Bones’ murder way back when.
When the team discover a skeleton – Bones – in the basement, they make the decision to leave it be until after their first party at the weekend. Which will probably be a big mistake but what do I know?
Jimmy Bones: Dog eat dog, brother.
As with any good horror movie, the house – which seems to be coming alive before their very eyes – soon claims the first member of this crew (Maurice learns a stone cold lesson about grave robbing). What do you know, blood and flesh seems to be the house’s life force – and who’s that physically manifesting his fine arse in the basement?
Well, Jimmy has every reason to be pissed and his vengeance will no doubt be as smooth and stylish as his wardrobe. But who deserves to die and who doesn’t – and how discerning is old’ Bonesy anyway?
The costuming is absolutely top notch and Snoop cuts a very fine figure as Jimmy Bones. I can understand why this film has a cult following as the set pieces are really satisfying. I love the overall aesthetic which is hardly surprising as Ernest Dickerson is a long time Spike Lee collaborator, and was a cinematographer on Do the Right Thing.
I did enjoy myself but I would have loved more Bones’ one liners and maybe some more depth to his relationships with Pearl and Cynthia.
Maybe I’m overthinking here but I wanted more from Bones because it gave me light Candyman vibes. While Bones is a real character, I would have loved more focus on his legend and it’s hold on the neighbourhood that died with him.
It does have something to say about community though and the interference of outside forces, AKA drugs and police corruption. As well as poverty, lack of community support and unwanted gentrification. Although in fairness the kid’s might be looking to get people to the house but they do fuck all to make it nicer.
That said, I do adore the Hammer Horror-esque haunted house that literally drips blood and brings ghosts back to life.
Jimmy Bones: I’m on a high… A supernatural high