Skullduggery (1983) Poster


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The crown jewel in my collection!
perni26 February 2004
Oh, Skullduggery, you horrible little cow patty of a film. Your actors are stiff and couldn't read the dialogue for an Ovaltine commercial with a sense of conviction, your plot is incomprehensible and filled to the brim with pompous symbolism no one buts its filmmakers could explain, and in the end, you just plain stink. But gosh darn it if I don't feel proud to have you in my collection of films. You are, without a doubt, the crown jewel in my cornucopia of crap. I threaten my friends with you and they cringe in fear. What power! And honestly, even though you still provide tons of laughs and potential riffing, one aspect of you keeps me coming back for more: your theme song! Oh, how brilliant is your theme song? I burned it onto a CD, for crying out loud! Does that not express my loyalty to you? I have no idea who was crazy enough to write the lyrics and put it to one of the worst tunes to come out of the '80s, but if I ever meet them, I will be sure to shake their hand (or tentacle) and say, "Thank you. Thank you."

Can you read what's in my mind? SKULLDUGGERY! SKULLDUGGERY! Tearing up my mind! Heavy breath, passion in your eyes SKULLDUGGERY! SKULLDUGGERY! I just found a clue, it's all gone! YEAH! I can see what's in your head SKULLDUGGERY! SKULLDUGGERY! Feeling just ahead (??) Killer's smile, now I understand SKULLDUGGERY! SKULLDUGGERY! Shattered hopes and dreams all fall down! YEAH!

Oh, good times, good times. 4/4 stars for sheer crapdom
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I rented it!!! Someone please help me!!
Romana-59 February 2001
I don't even know where to begin. The Scooby-like music. The frumpy male lead who, apparently, was Johnny Depp before there was Johnny Depp. The stiff, wooden females. The guy making the puzzle (I mean, what the heck does that prove?) This movie makes me want to puke whenever I see it and for some reason I see it often. You have to wonder why it is that every woman in town is unaccountably attracted to Adam. The edges of this guy's mouth are turned down so far, that even when he smiles it looks like he's frowning. But what can I say? The theme song is very catchy. It sticks to you like painful, prickly brambles. Basically, the whole movie is like a bad high school play, and obviously had the budget of one. All in all, I recommend this movie to fans of truly horrible cinema. Like me.
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This movie made me hate life itself.
evano9013 July 2005
This was probably the worst movie I've ever seen. Imagery? Symbolism? My ass. This movie was pure crap. Its plot holes had plot holes. The intense amount of useless character who die evoke no emotion. The whole constant costume changes was impossible, as well as retarded. Ugh...I can't even keep writing this, since thinking about the movie makes me want to vomit all over my keyboard.

I would never force this movie upon even my most hated enemy. I cannot conceive how this man wrote this movie, and thought that it was good enough to be directed and produced. I cannot conceive how any self-respecting actor would read the script and actually take on one of the roles. I cannot even conceive HOW I MANAGED TO SIT THROUGH THE WHOLE DAMN THING. It was like a train-wreck in slow motion, so bad that one can't look away, even with the vile hatred of Ota Strichter or whatever his name is building up within one's self.

Seriously folks: This review has horrible grammar and structure because the sucktitude (a word I just made up because there is no word in the English language to describe such drivel) has me in a complete fluster.

Do yourself a favour, instead of watching this movie, do something a lot more entertaining than watching this horrendous piece of junk movie, such as gnawing of each of your digits one by one, or, say, slamming your head as hard as you can into a the frame of a car door and then subsequently closing the door on your head as hard as you can over and over.

If you'll excuse me though, I have to go shove a burning ember into my nose in the hopes that it will reach my brain and burn the memories of it from my mind.
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it makes no sense
ready-227 April 2001
No, seriously. It makes no sense. It's just a bunch of random nothing thrown together in as senseless as way possible. Pick up stock footage, assemble it at random, and release it as a feature film, and you'll have something easily better than this.

So bad, it's not even funny. The only thing funny is that I watched it, and you can laugh at that.
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I loved this film, I am a weirdo
skex12314 October 2005
I rented this film about a dozen times in the late eighties before my video store got rid of it. I wish I was the one to get it. Did I love the film? Yes. Because it is good? No. This film is so outrageously bad, even by bad movie standards. But it doesn't fall into the gray zone of boring bad. It's not bad like other bad films. A million typing monkeys couldn't have come up with a more disjointed script. After reading other reviews, positive and negative, I suspect that a lot of the people who watched it were too stunned to even remember how messed up the continuity was. This is like three bad films in one (at least parts of three bad films, randomly cut together) As far as I remember, it starts off with the story of the friends roll-playing, then they start to die, before anyone figures out what is happening- Adam starts killing some other people, for no apparent reason, then he goes to a party. I won't give away the ending, which comes rather out of left field. In the end I was confused.

Yes, put it out on DVD, it's been too long since I saw it. (I too used to inflict this film on others, watching it is like picking at a scab.) I can't cast a vote, it's awful and great. Please, recommended for weirdo's only.
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Oh, the hurting...the hurting...
bpierce2 August 2001
This movie is pure, concentrated evil.

I acquired my copy from the dusty back bins of a video store which was going out of business back in 1987. Just to put things in perspectrive, it was on Beta--I had to dub it over to VHS. As a gamer, I tend to collect movies in the "Roleplayer Goes Crazy" genre. Most of them are pretty bad...but this one has them all beat, in terms of sheer deep hurting.

Nevermind the blatant anachronisms--such as the opening scene, set in 14th century England in an 18th century manor house where a 16th century nobleman is killed by a guy in a cheesy 1980's wizard costume. Nevermind the fact that the lead actor looks for all the world like he's dead, and was animated by black magic just for this movie. Nevermind the fact that the best actor in the entire movie is a puppet who just hangs there and doesn't do anything. Even without all of those factors, the movie would just be painful.

And yet, it holds a kind of sick fascination, not unlike a car wreck---you want to look away, but you can't. This movie has spawned an unwholesome and degenerate cult (at least two of the other comments on this list are from members.) Beware--this movie is CONCENTRATED schlock of the worst kind. Do not, do not, do NOT watch this movie and Mazes and Monsters back to back. The last person who did that wound up in the hospital a few hours later with an acute gall bladder attack. I kid you not.
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Why, Skullduggery, why?
Tromafreak1 July 2010
For the record, that was a rhetorical question. I don't know, and deep down, I don't wanna know. All I know is that recently, I experienced the single most dull 90 minutes of my life. You understand, this isn't "so bad it's good" (Criminally Insane), or even "so bad it's mind-blowing" (Troll 2). I'm talking about head-ache-inducing boredom. I don't care how far into the B-movie universe you've gone. You're not ready for this. Please, for the love of God, let this one be.

I sat there and observed the entire duration of this film. Looking closely for something, anything which might resemble entertainment value. But nothing ever happened. Not a thing. I mean, stuff happened. Conversations were had, people got killed. But why? Who were they? Did they deserve it? I just don't understand. Was I not supposed to? My questions are endless. But you know something? There are a lot of bizarre films out there that people joke about the director being on acid, or something similar (Horror House On Highway 5), but really, this is probably it. If someone was heavily into such a drug, and they just happened to get the idea that making a movie would be a swell idea, then I would imagine that their first attempt at art would turn out something like... you guessed it. Skullduggery!!

Just kidding. I'm pretty sure acid isn't to blame for this travesty. With that said, Let this be a valuable lesson to any Dungeons & Dragons geeks out there, who may get any ideas. Stay out of the world of B-cinema. You don't get it, and you never will. Just continue doing what you're doing, and don't try and be cute, by attempting to educate the world about you're favorite thing. I cannot specify enough that we are not talking about something so bad it's good. Skullduggery ain't ahead of its time, nor is it too deep to grasp. it's like watching Nascar, or C-SPAN. And really, how typical is it that this movie would be released on DVD by Substance. And what, may I ask, is up with Substance, anyway? How does a company that only acquires the most unwatchable obscurities go about staying in business? Skullduggery, I was warned about you. Every review I ever read turned out to be a warning, in one form or another. It was foolish of me for wanting you to be apart of my collection of obscure Horror. And now, I'm stuck with you. I realize that I'm the one to blame for my own misfortunes. But I won't let that stop me from despising you until my dying day. Hopefully, someday, I will learn to leave well enough alone when it comes to the unwatchables, but you will always be Skullduggery, and nothing will ever change that. And believe me when I say that I will forever warn other over-confident B-movie enthusiasts of your mind-numbing worthlessness. 1/10
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Unbelievably strange
pumaye4 August 2004
One of the strangest movie ever made, probably, an unbelievable mixture of horror and fantasy, with really cheap special effects, bad acting and a terrible scenario. The curse of a medieval warlock is cast upon generations of men and a young roleplayer of today is forced to become a sort of serial killer, unable to comprehend what is real and what is not. A few of the deaths are creative, at least, but nothing can save this movie from the depths of the charts, as it is too full of crap to be taken seriously, even simply as a late addiction to the slasher flu that took the horror scene like a tide in the first half of the Eighties
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Remember kids: If you play D&D games, Satan will turn you into a serial killer.
sohrmn30 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Skullduggery (or its many alternative titles) seeks to cash in on the early 1980s backlash.

A group of college students get together to play a D&D board game led by an older gentleman (who turns out to be the devil).

One of these players - Adam - comes from a long line of cursed men (starting with a king who betrayed the devil).

While Adam is helping out at a community college talent show, he remembers his ancestral curse and starts killing people.

Adam seems to think that some of his victims are villains fron the D&D game, but other times its seems that Adam is under a demonic spell, or mentally ill or something else.

Sometimes Adam seems to have command of several different magical powers, while other times he seems like a helpess puppet.

He frequency changes into different costumes, can tranform theatre props into real weapons and women seem to instantly want to have sex (sometimes very kinky sex) with him.

The devil - pretending to be two different men (a older D&D gamer and a rich man named, Dr. Evil) - seems confused about what he wants Adam to do.

He wants Adam to kill people, he wants Adam to join some sort of Satantic cult, and he also wants Adam to kill most of cult members...for...some reason....

The film lets us watch a large chunk of the talent show (a weird show... lacking in talent) and the party hosted by Dr. Evil (an even weirder event that seems to suggest the devil likes to hang with geeks, nerds, stoners, and wanna-be young intellectuals.

I suspect that the director and writer thought that they were making a clever, avent garde film with a topical, supernatural twist.

Mostly, the film is hard to follow, with lots of weird characters and scenes that don't really seem to make sense.

When the film pauses to make a point, its either too University pretentious to be taken seriously, or the film tries to make a joke that ain't really funny.

One of the D&D players makes so many lame sexual innuendo jokes, he comes off as more shallow then a certain character from the Family Guy series.

The local hospital has a doctor who has sex with nurses, while dressed in a Gorilla costume. Why?

A nurse leaves work to press Adams pants. She then tries to seduce him by pretending to be his mother. Why?

The film pauses backstage during the talent show to show us two effemiate gay characters who exist as a "arent them gay people funny" joke.

Later on, at the party, two gay characters act as door bouncers who (for some reason) try to rape a woman in a threeway. Adam kills all three with a harpon gun.

Granted, Adam becomes an effective killer (it helps when the police are mostly inept, and people leave dangerous weapons lying around or hanging up on walls).

What else is good in the film?

The music is actually pretty good (albeit often out of place).

Skullduggery will probably be enjoyed by people who want to "riff" it.

The Spoony Experiment has done so, and more efforts will follow.
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A movie so bad...
MWilley28 January 2000
That I'm inspired to go back and *raise* my votes for other stinkers just to give my vote of 1 a little more oomph. The main character wanders around killing people, but nobody in town seems to notice or care. You won't, either. The killings have some connection with an ancient curse and/or the "Dungeons & Dragons"-like game he plays. At least, that's what the blurb on the back of the box claims - I suspected we were cutting away to scenes from another movie at random.
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This really is a stinker...
Coventry18 August 2004
...and I'm glad everyone here on this fine site agrees with me on that! I've seen my share of awful…crappy…utterly trashy films already but this 'Skullduggery' beats them all. The poor suckers who made this film didn't even have the money to buy a couple of light bulbs. Three quarters of the film is underexposed and you can imagine how staring at a semi-dark screen easily irritates you. Unfortunately, the disastrousness doesn't stop there…every tiny little aspect about this film is just downright horrible. It looks like it tries to be a horror comedy…only it's not funny…or scary. Skullduggery is a mess and it hurts even more to say it's got some potential. Even though the plot isn't really clear to me (or to anyone, I suppose) it seems to handle about a guy whose actions are controlled by the devil, because there's an ancient curse on his bloodline. When he's playing a sorcerers-and-witches board game with some pals, he loses all sense of reality…I think. The acting sucks, the music annoys, the tension is non-existent and the murders are lame. To say it short: this entire production is retarded. I paid 0,59$ for the ex-rental tape and I desperately want my money back.
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Leofwine_draca17 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
SKULLDUGGERY is a comedy horror from Canada, made on an independent budget and with no discernable sense or storyline to it. It's one of the cheapest and dumbest films I've seen in a long time, a film which flirts with the then Dungeons & Dragons craze for a while but which mostly makes no sense whatsoever. A guy goes on a killing spree for some reason or another, but the picture quality is incredibly bad, so bad that you can't even make out what's going on. The film is dull-witted and inane, and a definite chore to sit through.
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Oh. My. God.
Rabiesbunny30 December 2005
I have never seen a worst movie. We read a review of this, my boyfriend and I, on, and laughed so hard.

But NOTHING could prepare us! You will NEVER find a more incoherent, absurd, stupid, and mind-numbing movie than this one! Our friend picked it up at a video store, and gave it to us after he watched it. It was like having a root canal for the whole movie, but we sat through it and gave it all we had.

We have seen the worst mankind has to offer. The plot makes no sense. It's fragmented and is incoherent at BEST. Though the fake 'D&D' sessions make any real gamer laugh, there's nothing to laugh at in this movie.

AvP looks like Hamlet compared to this piece of filth.
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So painful, yet so divine.
squidexplosion21 January 2002
Skullduggery, skullduggery, ah, how you have hurt so many with your cheesy-ness. Yet, I love this movie, not as much as 'Big Trouble in Little China' or 'Trekkies,' but I love 'Skullduggery' all the same. The entire movie reeks of low budget "student film" and there are more than enough odd characters, stilted dialog and bad acting to make any bad movie fan giddy with delight. Plus they filmed the entire thing in Toronto, one of my favorite cities.

This would have been a perfect movie for MST3K. I hope that years and years from now, when all the old msties get together and lament the movies that never got the MST3K treatment, this movie will rank at the top.

Mind you I don't recommend that you watch this movie in conjunction with any other 'gamer goes crazy' movie, as the consequences for you can be dire. Yes, I was the one who watched 'Skullduggery' and 'Mazes and Monsters' back to back, and what happened? Well, I collapsed with an infected, inflamed gallbladder. You have been warned.

Still if you are looking for a movie to 'MSTify' alone or with friends, you can't beat this movie.
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They just didn't care......
tangent-41 July 1999
I unfortunately own a copy of this movie, and I spring it on people when I'm feeling particularly evil. ;

But seriously, the flick looks like the director gave up on it 5 minutes into the movie, and his replacement tried to put as much artsy-fartsy, has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie symbolism as he could. (although watch for the "Tic-Tac-Toe bathrobe guy, not only is it the director, he always gets cheered at the mass showings). You know a movie is bad when you have to dub an English speaking actress into English.

This movie is prime MST3K fodder! In fact we're working on a MST style script for it now.

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A groaner
alpalmer28 July 2003
Just kill me now -- this film was so awful that I don't know how I even managed to sit through it. The only part I enjoyed was Jake's (Geordie Johnson) Steve Martin impression 30 minutes in, otherwise it was a snoozer. Even I (on a bad day) could make a better film than this! I'm surprised this film even made it off the cutting room floor and onto video.
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weird, wonderful and gloriously B
doctorgonzo2321 March 2003
There's a lot of thins in this movie that could have come straight out of a David Lynch project- constant shots of a creepy puppet, a mysterious man putting together a puzzle, the director walking through dressed as some sort of a technician with a tic-tac-toe board on his bak.... all really interesting imagery. I think that most of the comments on here are negative because no one even bothers to try and figure out what the hell is going on in this strange film. I really liked it; although my taste runs toward the b-grade genre. The acting is really not great, but there's always something interesting to look at (try to figure out how the tic-tac-toe game is being played) and despite what others have said, the music is great. I won't bother going into the plot here (not sure how well one could sum it up anyway) but I must stress that this is definately worth seeing if you get the chance. If you do watch it, I urge you to take your time and actually try to figure the imagery out; there's a good bit of symbolism at work here and I don't think one should simply write this movie off as awfull without at least thinking it over for a while. I picked it up as an ex-rental for $2 so I can hardly complain. This would actually be nice as a DVD. Seriously.
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**Attention! Important! Let's get Skullduggery *riffed*!!!
kerouac-517-37639425 February 2015
To all those on the comment boards who were sad that MST3k never got a chance to riff this movie, take heart -- the MST3k guys are back with RiffTrax, at, that riffs B movies *and* blockbusters. But they still do the horrible flicks. What you need to do is create an account at (very easy to do, no CC needed), then go to:, search for "Skullduggery (1983)" in the search box without quotes; 2 hits should come up; VOTE EITHER ONE UP! Preferably the one that has the most votes! I need to see this movie riffed by the best riffers of all-time. I really do. Badly. So head on over to and LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
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Something more going on?
the_open23 December 2009
So I watched this film for probably the third time last night, and there was, of course, no shortage of laughing, MST-style mocking, and general merriment. This is certainly one of the absolute strangest movies I have in my bad movie collection (which is large). At the same time, the more I see this film, the more I'm convinced that there is something more going on here than is detectable prima facie. Now what that might be, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. But I think there are some clues if we look closely.

To me I think we need to look at the film as engaging with multiple cultural time periods (as hinted at by the pseudo-philosophical conversation had by the enigmatic might-be-brothers early on at the part). It's engagement with the past and present are clear (medieval times & the goofy slasher obsessed 80's respectively) but I think what is more interesting is how it deals with the future. The notion of reality blending into fantasy (and more importantly, a game) is very interesting and something that I think is still very relevant in our society (e.g. people committing suicide over "relationship" problems in Everquest, the loss of a sense of the outside world (e.g. neglecting children, etc) with similar games). The fact that the Tic-Tac-Toe man (one of the most interesting and baffling characters in any film I have ever seen) is constantly wandering through the scenes, reminding us that the line between reality and non-reality has been crossed. Really the whole film deals with this line.

I also think that the image on the puzzle that is being put together over the course of the film is interesting. The image of Adam and Eve is one that is repeated a couple times throughout the film (during the play, on the puzzle, etc.) and so we might ask about what the significance of this is. I don't know, but maybe it has something to do with regression? The blending of reality and mythology? Who knows.

There is probably more to say here (especially about the Tic-Tac-Toe man, the weirdo magician and the party), but I'll leave it to others to say it. I'm not gonna vote on this because it just feels wrong. I don't know that a rating would help anybody with this movie. It's a freaky, freaky movie, and you ought to check it out. Watch it to laugh and mock sure, but also try to open yourself to this other layer that may or may not be there.
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