The documentary Skull World covers two subjects. On one hand, the film follows two years in the life of Greg Sommer. Sommer is better known by his alter-ego off Skull Man, in which he puts on a skeleton costume and exhibits a personality quite different from his own.
The other subject of the film is Box Wars, for which Sommer runs the Canadian chapter. Box Wars, which originally began in Australia, is essentially a form of LARPing, except instead of role playing, people dress up in elaborate cardboard costumes and fight in large-scale winner-take-all battles. The rules of these battles are simple: fight until you destroy your opponent’s costume. It is definitely more brutal than your average LARPing event.
Much of the film is spent following Sommer as he tries to spread the word about Box Wars. This includes setting up booths at Fan Expo Canada and making appearances at Roller Derby events. The film also lets you see the man behind the mask so to speak. Outside of Skull Man and Box Wars, Sommer lives a somewhat mundane life, living in his mother’s basement. His day job involved working at a cemetery, while he tried to develop a freelance career in video production. Even though Sommer comes off a quite crazy in his Skull Man persona, there are moments in the film when speaks in a very down-to-earth fashion, revealing that it is all an act. In fact, there is a point where he says that he tries very hard not to reveal that aspect of his personality to his father, who he does not see all that often.
One of the big moments in the film comes when Sommer travels to Australia to join the founders of Box Wars in their big Boxing Day battle. It was quite impressive seeing how much more elaborate Box Wars is in Australia, which included some impressive creations, such as a cardboard horse and a giant box robot. Also, it is revealed that Skull Man reached cult status in Australia.
I would have to say that overall I enjoyed Skull World. Greg Sommer is definitely a very unique and interesting individual and it was fun watching what makes this guy tick. While the Box Wars storyline was the centre of the film, there were also some explorations of Sommer’s huge interest and belief in UFOs, as well as his visit to a shaman. His personality definitely made for a very entertaining documentary. Also, I do have to say that the documentary would be a fun double bill with the doc Beauty Day, which is another film about a guy with a crazy alterego.
The blu-ray release is labeled the “Warrior Edition” and is definitely the definitive release of the film for your home viewing needs. The disc is loaded with over five hours of special features, including an hour of content that is only available on the blu-ray.
Summary of Features:
- There are two commentary tracks on the disc. The first one is standard commentary with director Justin McConnell and Greg Sommer. The second commentary is entitled Skull Man’s Rockin’ Commentary Experience and features Sommer solo, in character as Skull Man.
- There are 21 deleted scenes (five of which are exclusive to the blu-ray), as well as seven extended segments. The highlight here would be the full half hour dedicated to Sommer’s trip to Australia to participate in the Boxing Day battle with the founders of Box Wars.
- The disc also features trailers for the film and the DVD for Skull Man’s Box Wars, as well as a gallery of photos.
Exclusive to the blu-ray is a 22 minute self-produced pilot for a Skull Man’s Box Wars TV series. I thought that this ultra low budget, and somewhat cheesy, episode was quite humorous and it was one of my favorite features on the disc.
- Also exclusive to the blu-ray is footage from the film’s premiere at the Canadian Film Festival, which featured a surprise box battle during the Q&A. As a bit of aside, I should note that I was in attendance at the screening and can be spotted a couple times during the feature (since I was sitting near the front).
- Another blu-ray exclusive is the music video “Maiden” by heavy metal group The Overfiend, which was directed by Justin McConnell and features Greg Sommer. There’s another music video on the disc entitled Skull Man’s Pit Files, which is more of a mosh pit montage than a true music video.
Overall, I thought that Skull World: Warrior Edition is well put together disc for an enjoyable film.