Headless online movie review - Extremely gory throwback slasher fun.
Headless began life as a fictional film within a film: an obscure late-70s slasher featured in 2012 indie horror Found.
Now, as the result of a successful crowd funding campaign, it has been turned into a movie in its own right?a gloriously demented, retro-styled gore-fest that holds nothing back in its depiction of a mentally deranged and extremely vicious, mask-wearing, machete-wielding killer at work.
Director Arthur Cullipher starts as he means to go on: before the opening credits are over, he's already shown us a disgustingly gruesome decapitation, his antagonist (Shane Beasley) proceeding to scoop out and eat an eyeball, before boning the severed head in the neck?the killer's preferred modus-operandi. And so it continues, with numerous nubile young women meeting the same grisly fate, the wholesale slaughter interspersed by freaky hallucinatory scenes and disturbing memories from the killer's childhood, when he was caged like an animal by his mother (Emily Solt McGee) and tormented by his sister (Olivia Arnold/Jessica Schroeder).
It is through one of these flashbacks that we see how the sadistic sister made the mistake of unlocking the door to her sibling's prison; unsurprisingly, the lad seizes this opportunity to rid himself of both his tormentors, and, accompanied by his imaginary friend, a small boy with a skull-head, sets out on a long and bloody path of murder, one that ultimately leads to a roller rink where he targets the employees, including pretty waitress Jess Hardy (Kelsey Carlisle). Will Jess's decapitated and defiled head be added to The Killer's collection, or can she turn the tables on the sicko?
From the outset, Headless does well to capture the atmosphere of a genuine 70s slasher, with a gritty lo-fi look, great attention to period detail, and authentic sounding music. The film also delivers plenty of impressive old-school practical effects, although the level of depravity on display is far greater than anything I have ever seen in a genuine slasher from the purported era?even the most extreme examples. Not that I'm complaining: it's the mean-spirited violence and general deviancy that makes this such a blast?
How could any self-respecting gore-hound/sleaze-fan not have a good time with the following: horror hottie Haley Jay Madison getting a machete up the holiest of holies, before having her breast sliced off, and losing both of her legs to the madman; The Killer using a pretty hitch-hiker's head to get his rocks off on a pile of dismembered corpses; the twisted sister quenching her caged brother's thirst by urinating on him; the mother feeding her son a freshly severed rabbit's head; Jess's waster of a boyfriend having his junk cut off; The Killer doing his special routine on his own mother (including boffing her bonce!); and roller skate-wearing waitress Betsy (Ellie Church) doing the dirty with her sleazy boss before being chased topless across the roller rink by the killer. Trust me when I say that it's ALL done in the worst possible taste.
My only complaint with the film?and it's a small one?is that the whole ritual of decapitation, eye removal, and head-humping eventually becomes a little too repetitive. I know it's The Killer's signature (and an unmistakable one at that), but I'd liked to have seen him switch things up a bit. After all, variety is the spice of life?even for a criminally insane mass murderer with a creepy skull-headed boy for a best friend.