Saturday, November 14, 2009

'Head of the Family' is a sexual thriller like you've ever seen before or ever will again

Head of the Family (1996)
Starring: Blake Bailey, Jacqueline Lovell, J.W. Perra, Gordon Jennison, and Bob Schott
Director: Robert Talbot (aka Charles Band)
Producers: Charles Band and Kirk Edward Hansen
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Smalltown coffee shop and grocery store operator Lance (Bailey) uncovers a dark secret harbored by the strange Stackpool family and uses this knowledge to blackmail them into "disposing of" the dangerous husband (Jennison) of the woman he loves and loves to boink whenever possible (Lovell). Unfortunately for Lance and his sexy sidekick, Myron (Perra), the figurative and literal head of the Stackpool family as his body is 90% head and he controls his siblings with mental telepathy, doesn't appreciate being threatened....

"Head of the Family" is a funky little film that spoofs the "erotic thriller" and "psycho Southerners in the woods" genres as only Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment could have done. It may not have puppets or stop-motion animation, but the make-up and split-screen photography that turns actor J.W. Perra into a character that's nothing but a big head still embodies that Full Moon weirdness that makes the company's output from the 1990s so much fun to watch. And the perverse and twisted nature of the characters matches the level found in other of Band's best, like "Hideous!" and "Blood Dolls".

This film has the further benefit of being an effective spoof of both genres it's poking fun at, with satire and comedy running through every scene and every actor showing a talent both for drama and comedy. The film is especially hilarious when the genres collide at the movie's climax, creating a perfect end to a perfect script.

And, of course, it helps that Band took full advantage of the fact that his leading lady mostly appeared in softcore porn movies when this film was made. There is no skimping on the "erotic" as far as the "erotic thriller" part of the film goes--there is more sexy nudity in this film than any other Full Moon movie I've seen, with Jacqueline Lovell spending quite a bit of time on screen half-clothed, fully naked, and being one half of the Beast With Two Backs. That said, she, like the rest of the cast puts on a great show... she is fun to watch both for her gorgeous body and for her talent as a comedic actress.

From comments Charles Band made during a personal appearance here in Seattle, I got the sense that "Head of the Family" is one of his personal favorites. It should be.

Watch the preview, courtesy of Full Moon and YouTube.