Skinned Alive – USA, 1989

‘Unhinged! Insane! Totally out of control!’

Skinned Alive is a 1989 [released 1990] American comedy horror film written, co-edited and directed by John Killough (writer of Galaxy of the Dinosaurs). It stars Mary Jackson, Scott Spiegel (director of Intruder; co-writer of Evil Dead II) and Susan Rothacker.

The synth score was provided by producer J.R. Bookwalter (director of Mega Scorpions; The Sandman;  The Dead Next Door; et al).

A twisted wheelchair-bound mother, nicknamed Crawldaddy, and her insane offspring travel across the American mid-west in her van selling unique leather clothing. The leather is of a supposedly quality that most people have never seen and is proves popular until an alcoholic ex-cop discovers just where Crawladdy is getting her goods…


” …this is a gloriously entertaining slice of OTT low-budget violence (total cost: about $27,000), held up with some very competent gore effects. There isn’t a lot of story to speak of, but that’s because it’s a character piece – and what characters.” MJ Simpson, Cult films and the people who make them

” …suffers from a meandering pace and the fact the plot is really thin. Picks-up steam in the splatter-filled finale but is only a bearable time that’s got some fast-forwardable moments wedged between moments that are sometimes fun.” The Video Graveyard

“Like a tongue in cheek Chainsaw Massacre on wheels, the film both delivers in humour and pace as well as on a perverse and bloody front. The limitations of the low budget are far outweighed by the enthusiasm of the production and some bang on casting for the lead deranged family roles.” Sex Gore Mutants


Skinned Alive is a clumsily constructed horror comedy that features a talented cast doing their best with a weak script and a special effects crew that either didn’t have enough money or enough skill to stretch the money for decent gore effects. There are only two instances in the film that will have you squirming in your seat due to the splatter/ick factor…” Steve Miller, Movies You Should (Die Before You) See

J.R. Bookwalter as a Bible basher

“An attempt at Bad Taste by way of Mother’s Day, i.e. trashy and goofy slapstick splatter. Unfortunately it gets too dumb but the silly middle is bookended by some entertaining over-the-top gore.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre



Producer J.R. Bookwalter is interviewed in Brian Albright’s Regional Horror Films, 1958 – 1990 book

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Filming locations:

Akron and Mogadore, Ohio, USA

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Categories: 1980s, 1990s

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