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The Flop House Trilogy: Head of the Family (1996) Movie Review

We continue our Halloween Horror trilogy, in which we discuss the three films oft-recommended by Stuart Wellington on the comedy podcast The Flop House. In this installment, we talk about Head of the Family, an exploitation horror film in its truest form.

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The person behind Full Moon Features, home to many a B-movie horror franchise, Charles Band, directs this 1996 romp (named in the credits as Robert Talbot, for some reason). We have discussed previously the Full Moon film Evil Bong (a masterpiece), but there is hardly the time to get into that franchise here.

Head of the Family is the story of a family. More importantly, it is the story of the eponymous head, a man named Myron (J.W. Perra) whose giant head dwarfs the rest of his figure. When adulterous philanderer Lance (Blake Bailey) aims to get rid of his lover’s (Jacqueline Lovell) husband, he makes a deal with the murderous Myron. Lance, getting too big for his britches, plans to extort Myron for money. Unfortunately for Lance, Myron and his telepathic control of the rest of his family may prove too powerful.

This film is profoundly simple. It is all premise, yet it still somehow takes its time getting to the introduction of the eponymous head. Its premise is an attempt at making a cult B-movie horror film; only, this film never reached cult status.

Coming off of the heels of Castle Freak, Head of the Family just doesn’t stack up. It doesn’t move fast enough or become exaggerated enough to be indulgent camp. Save for the strange climactic nod to Bergman in Joan of Arc, not much at all happens in the film. Its short runtime saves this from being a B-movie travesty, and its obligatory sexuality proves that it knows its audience. Still, there is something defyingly heartbreaking about a film, full of its telepathic mind control and big-headed-little-bodied genius murderer, that doesn’t delight in its zaniness.

 

As always, thanks for reading.

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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)

 

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