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John’s Horror Corner: Head of the Family (1996), a delightfully tasteless sleazy horror comedy

December 15, 2013

MY CALL:  Colorful characters, sleazy humor and a silly plot make for a fun and delightfully tasteless B-horror comedy.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Head of the FamilyHideous! (1997), Puppet Master (1989), Ghoulies (1985) and Seed People (1992).

Directed by Charles Band (Puppet Master, Dark Angel: The Ascent, Ghoulies, Netherworld) and penned by bonkers horror writer Benjamin Carr (Hideous!, Curse of the Puppet Master, Thirteen Ghosts), this campy Full Moon release left me with a constant, guilty grin.

Forming the keystone of this weak story, Loretta (ex-adult film star Jacqueline Lovell; Hideous!, The Killer Eye, Femalien) has been cheating on her husband with Lance (Blake Adams; The Killer Eye, Lurking Fear) and the two of them need to find a way to get her abusive hubby out of the picture.

Somehow, their answer comes in the form of the local weirdoes, the Stackpooles.  The members of the misshapen Stackpoole family include the over-sized man-child Otis (Bob Schott; Gymkata, Vamp), the rigid bug-eyed Wheeler and the statuesquely out of place Ernestina (adult film star Alexandria Quinn).  They move like lobotomized drone-ish automatons and have all the personality of a blow-up doll–which is strangely appropriate given that one of them is played by a porn star.  They are led by their quadruplet brother Myron (J.W. Perra; The Creeps), a wheelchair-bound mastermind with a freakishly large head that shares a telepathic mind-controlling link with his siblings.

Who’s down for an evil staring contest?

Whether for their own macabre entertainment or the thrill of scientific discovery, our mutant Stackpooles perform domestic surgical experiments on the local townspeople.  When Lance learns of this he blackmails them, threatening to reveal their crimes unless they “take care of” Loretta’s husband and pay him a fee to keep his lips sealed.

“Yeah, we’re quadruplets…what?  It’s not obvious?”

You’ll like the special effects behind Myron’s huge head.  I giggled at the green-screened-in head.  Since regular human arms accompany this giant head, it almost looks like a big ugly animatronic muppet. Watch out for the scene when Myron and his head fall down the stairs…and when Myron gets a little fresh with Loretta…both are laughable.

Bro, this dude has like LEGIT Muppet hands.

Something that stands out about this DTV horror release is its sense of sleazy humor.  About half of this movie’s dialogue is delivered during sex scenes.  Now, despite the half dozen sex scenes, this movie really isn’t too raunchy or smutty.  Almost as if done by comedic intention, Lance and Loretta seem to do all of their criminal plotting while having sex.  Jacqueline Lovell may spend as much time naked in this movie as she did back in her adult film days.  Lance is even abducted by Otis in the middle of a sex scene–again, this may be a cheap way to show some skin on the screen, but it was also done in a funny way complete with a POV punch to the camera’s “face.”

Jacqueline Lovell in one of her clothed scenes.  Are we sensing the level of sleaze tey were aiming for in this film?

Another noteworthy observation would be that there is no gore.  This movie and its humorous sleazy style didn’t seem to need it, though.  This movie was just zany and I spent a lot of time grinning like a fool for reasons other than nudity.  It’s like someone woke up and said “I want to make cheesy, bad, schlocky B-horror movie. But I want to do a good job of it!”  And you know what?  They did.

If you take this movie about as seriously as the filmmakers did–so, not at all–then you should get some solid B-movie entertainment out of this stupidly fun little gem.

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