The US DVD by Simitar (R-rated) was compared with the US Blu-ray by Severin (unrated).
When shy-looking Dennis Skinner moves into Kerry's apartment, she doesn't know who she has taken into her house. Skinner is an unscrupulous psychopath who punishes moral misconduct according to his own standards. Apart from that, he is mainly interested in prostitutes, whom he ambushes to skin them alive, but he also finds time to get unpleasant colleagues out of the way. He is pursued by the former prostitute Heidi, who herself survived an attack by Skinner. Heavily disfigured and dependent on painkillers, she sticks to his heels.
Skinner is a somewhat idiosyncratic, unusual serial killer movie whose mostly calm narrative style is confronted with some particularly wacky, bloody scenes. Despite the small budget, the film manages to create a harmonious staging due to the spooky score and clever scene-lighting. The red/green neon light in which Skinner skins one of his victims, reminds us of the Giallos of the 70s. The leading role is hauntingly played by Ted Raimi, the brother of The Evil Dead Director Sam Raimi. Tracy Lords can be seen as his persecutor Heidi, who grandiosely fills the role as a disfigured ex-prostitute whose history regarding Skinner remains somewhat in the dark. The landlady is played by the meanwhile successful US talk master Ricki Lake, who was seen in John Waters Serial Mom as daughter Misty. King of Queens Fans may still know her as Doug's sister Stephanie Heffernan. The film was directed by Ivan Nagy, who came to the USA as a Hungarian refugee and initially made low budget exploitation films including the grandiose Deadly Herofrom 1976, before being contracted by Universal Pictures and working on various TV series and films, including an episode of < strong>CHiPs or Captain America 2 - Death too soon. On a side note: Tracy Lord's role name Heidi is no coincidence, by the way, because Nagy was befriended for a time with the ex-call girl Heidi Fleiss, who set up an exclusive prostitution ring for rich men in Hollywood.
On DVD, the film has only been released in the USA in a strongly censored R-rated version with a somewhat poor picture quality. It took a long time until Severin released the unrated version on Blu-ray on February 19, 2019. Severin has restored the movie in 4K from it‘s original camera negative, so that the movie is presented in an unprecedented brilliance. Two scenes in the R-rated version have been heavily censored. When Skinner skins the blonde prostitute, several bloody shots are missing in the R-rated version. So that there are no audio-jumps, the dialogues have been shifted a bit at some points. The somewhat controversial scene in which Skinner follows a woman in the skin of his Afro-American colleague Earl was also generously censored. The background of the cuts was probably Skinner's exaggerated voice imitation of Earl.
In the ofdb it is noted that the US Laserdisc version also contains the R-rated version. This may be doubted, because according to lddb.com the unrated version is contained there on disc.
If you don't know the film yet or if you have kept your distance from the R-rated version so far, I can only advise you to buy the US Blu-ray. Skinner is a dirty little genre-pearl, which is worth to be discovered. In the bonus material you can find some interesting interviews in which the history and the background of the movie is examined a bit more closely.
R-rated version (US DVD): 80:58 min.
Unrated version (US BD): 88:14 min.
Dennis takes a knife out of his pocket to cut the throat of the blond prostitute.
Unrated: 9 sec.
After Dennis has carried the prostitute away, you see in a short shot how he slits her open.
Unrated: 2 sec.
The camera moves on over the dead prostitute's body, who is skinned by Dennis. Some dialogue was removed from him in the process.
Dennis: "I don't know if you've ever met my father. I never really liked him much. I doubt you would've. Anyway, when my mother died, [...]"
Unrated: 6 sec.
The unrated shows in detail how Dennis skins the blonde prostitute. He tells of an experience from his childhood when he had to watch his father skin his mother.
Dennis: "Why, I don't know. Well anyway, there I was watching my father cutting her up. Doing his slicing, doing his dicing. God, I remember it like it was happening yesterday. And he said, he had this smile on his face. >>I want you to watch this, son<<. And he reached over and he pulled my mother's face off. Just pulled it right off."
Unrated: 30 sec.
Dennis fixes the skin on the back. You can see him turning the dead prostitute to the side. Dialogue is lost again through the editing.
Dennis: "I snuck back into the room where he did his cutting up and stuff. And I just stood there, looking at my mother's dead body for hours, dead in the box."
Unrated: 18 sec.
Dennis positions the prostitute's head before he pulls it off. He tells that he did the same thing with his mother's head.
Dennis: "Like he always used to say to me: >>Sewing is woman's work, son.<<. Anyway, I just kinda walked over to the corpse, where my mother was, and I reached down and I pulled her face right off."
Unrated: 16 sec.
Longer scene with Dennis pulling the prostitute's face off.
Unrated: 7 sec.
Dennis puts Earl's skin back on again. He imitates him as he takes up the pursuit of the woman.
Dennis: "Fucking bitch. Yeah, baby. Earl's coming for you now! Yes, sir, I'm coming to get you!"
Unrated: 14 sec.
A camera adjustment is missing from the girl who runs away and then from Dennis in Earl's skin.
Unrated: 5 sec.
Much longer scene of Dennis chasing the girl. So he imitates Earl again.
Dennis: "Damn it, where'd she go? Where the hell you go, bitch?! You somewhere and I is gonna find you! Yeah, I sees you running and we starts the funning!"
Unrated: 31 sec.
When the girl opens the door, the R-rated cuts short on Dennis. This short part of the scene has been seen in the Unrated before.
In the unrated version you see Dennis in Earl's skin instead.
R-rated: 1 sec
Unrated: 3 sec.
Dennis walks past the door where the girl disappeared. He sniffs something and goes inside. The girl hides in the warehouse while Dennis walks around imitating Earl.
Dennis: "Well, now. I smells you, bitch! Y'all like a rat caught in a trap! Yeah! I'm Earl. Earl ain't no hoe, little girl. I'm gonna find you, rip the skin from behind you. Yeah, now when I find you, little girl, I often like to use Mammy's recipe, which is one part hand, one part foot and one part gizzard."
The R-rated starts again when he hits the wall with the metal tube.
Unrated: 55 sec.
Dennis can be seen longer after he has climbed over the fence. He runs away.
Unrated: 10 sec.
Dennis runs while the guard lets his dog off the leash.
Dennis: "That's Bob. Gonna sick that lame-ass dog on me."
Unrated: 9 sec.
The R-rated shows how the dog gets around the corner. This was seen in the Unrated already.
R-rated: 2 sec.