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John’s Horror Corner: Headhunter (1988), a Nigerian voodoo curse demon that loves decapitation.

April 10, 2016


This thing looks like someone got Yoda wet, then fed him after midnight. LOL

MY CALL: Any pleasure to be derived from this Voodoo demon movie–besides giggling at its general badness–is limited to just a handful of scenes surrounded by boring plot and sinful acting. Watch with caution; probably only for the obscure 80s horror fanatics out there…which I am, so I thought it was okay. MORE MOVIES LIKE Headhunter: Other horror movies set in the Sunshine State include Day of the Dead (1985) in Fort Meyers, Jaws 3-D (1983), Jupiter’s American Horror Story: Freakshow (2014) and Frogs (1972), Jeepers Creepers (2001) and Swamp Thing (1982). Other absurd 80s-era horror include Rawhead Rex (1986), Night Angel (1990), Nightwish (1990), Prince of Darkness (1987), Dreamaniac (1986), Def by Temptation (1990), Ghosthouse (1986), Manitou (1978) and Deadly Blessing (1981)…probably all of which are better than Headhunter.

Headhunter : Original Cinema One Sheet Poster

This poster makes it look like a totally different movie.
Where are all the voodoo curse demons?
Looks like a possession movie poster.

It takes a while for this movie to get to the point…or to get to anything that matters at all. Opening shots long-windedly depict Voodoo rituals in Africa when something goes wrong. Something that we obviously wouldn’t get to see in the first five minutes. But we get the idea that this something is summoned when chaotic POV shots give a nod to an Evil Dead demon.


This opening sequence is unnecessarily long and at first I thought I was watching a documentary or something on the National Geographic channel.  Speaking of which, we do get to see National Geographic-style nudity…but no nudity later during a shower scene.  Go figure.

Meanwhile in south Florida, a Miami cop (Wayne Crawford; Barracuda) with some drinking issues discovers that his wife (June Chadwick; Forbidden World) has a lesbian lover and he starts sleeping with his partner (Kay Lenz; House). The editing is terrible, the acting is scarier than the movie, and none of the aforementioned aspects of this cop’s life really matter at all with regard to the plot.


She is sulking like all the time.

As for what little plot there is to discuss, it seems that a poor Nigerian community has brought their voodoo practices (and curses) across the Atlantic to Florida…and judging by the recent crime scenes, they brought their voodoo demon with them. A local community leader, voodoo shaman and somehow wealthy African Studies professor (to my knowledge neither shaman nor professor are lucrative careers) altruistically appears to help our Miami cops “track down” this demon…sort of…well, not really. You see, at first he finds them and says he wants to help. Then he reveals that he really can’t do any more than tell them the recent chain of murders are linked to a curse that followed his people from Nigeria. No weaknesses, no origins, no mythology or folklore…just, yeah, a decapitating curse demon that somehow needs to be stopped.


In the first hour of this tragic low budget B-movie (or D-movie), our evil force is represented by POV shots, wind/telekinesis and a curved blade (like that of a khopesh, or sword). We see heads, then we don’t see heads, there’s some blood where heads used to be…it’s all pretty weak. But it’ll make you grin.

This movie just needlessly drags. You know what’s an awesome B-movie idea? A voodoo demon that hunts people down and chops off their heads because of some curse that goes entirely unexplained. You know what’s not a cool idea? A movie about a south Florida detective whose wife is cheating on him with another woman. This unambitious D-movie gives us both and, as a result of this plot beleaguered by our protagonist’s personal crisis, this movie is only awesome for about 10 minutes. Two of these brilliantly bad minutes feature the most frantic chainsaw shopping scene in film history. A couple more minutes feature a bath tub filled with severed body parts and blood.


When we finally see our demon headhunter at the very end of the movie, we enjoy a silly latex monstrosity that looks more like the swamp hag from Legend (1985) wielding a sword than anything that makes me think of Africa or voodoo. Our hero ends up saving his lovely partner in a voodoo demon sword versus chainsaw duel. Then movie is just “over” after about 90 seconds of decent action and fun. No explanation, no catharsis, no finishing the tale of the Nigerian voodoo curse demon…we just assume everything’s fine after some cheesy chainsaw dismemberment.


Beyond that there’s a nudity-free shower scene and little gore, no good reason for not showing us the monster earlier or more often, and pretty much nothing in the way of atmosphere or scares.

Any pleasure to be derived from this movie–besides giggling at its general badness, which is often just as annoying than funny–is limited to just a handful of scenes surrounded by boring plot and sinful acting. Watch with caution; probably only for the obscure 80s horror fanatics out there…which I am, so I thought it was okay.




4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2016 4:27 pm

    You’re right, Headhunter isn’t that good a movie, but its kinda bad in a fun way really. Its an obscure 80’s horror film, but its quite watchable, and there are s few good gory moments. Worth a look, even if it doesn’t impress, its sure to make you laugh at just how daft some of it is.


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