“Headless” is a real bastard of a movie. Like, dammit. I wasn’t prepared for what happened to me, that’s for sure. I knew from what I’d seen online that it was gory (and it is), but more over it’s depraved. Piss, blood, semen; it’s all here. In bucket loads. Also eyeballs but I’ll get to that in a bit. If you haven’t figured it out already, this movie might not be every horror fans cup of tea. Pity for them I guess because for those who DO get it, “Headless” is as rewarding a watch as you could ask for.
“Headless” presents itself as a “lost grindhouse” movie from 1978, one so repulsive that movie theaters refused to play it due to it causing viewers to suffer “seizures, hallucinations and strange violent outbursts.” I appreciate the attention to detail it takes to create an internal lore for this movie and “Found”, as it really adds to the experience. As if you needed more out of what is already such a visceral experience, right? Found, for those who don’t know, is where this “lost” gem first made its existence known as a film that exists in that universe, watched by and inspiring some of the characters. Now, it exists in ours.
Unlike your prototypical slasher film, “Headless” takes the focus away from idiotic teenage victims and their sexual foibles (foibles do mean boobs, yes, but ultimately makes for a boring watch) and places it firmly where it deserves to be: on the mentally deranged individual chopping them up. Before we even know what’s going on, “Headless” has already dove headlong into the blood and guts, blowing up the boundaries of good taste before it hits the ten minute mark. The film opens on the skull faced killer going to town on one of his soon to be numerous victims, disassembling her with practiced skill before finally removing her head. What does he do with that head, I hear you pondering? Take it home, place it on an stinky mantle with rest of his (assumed) collection? What would YOU do with that head? He does the only thing that comes naturally to a maniac in a blood covered skull face mask – he skull-fucks it!
Right? That’s a lot and there’s a lot of that. Possibly a little too much. Just like anything that fucks you up, you build a tolerance. Once the fifth skull fucking rolled around it had lost some of it’s initial, uh, charm. I’m not saying it didn’t fuck me up (it did!), I’m just saying I got used to it and also I’m not sure how to feel about that. I’m also not sure how I feel about the neck stump of one such head oozing semen. Actually, I do; disgusted but impressed. It’s something I never thought I’d see, but I’m glad I did. I guess? Anyways. The other thing “Headless” has an obsession with is eyeballs, so much so that we get not only the gut-churning images that we would expect but some fairly surreal ones as well that add to the overall strangeness of the movie.
The focus of “Headless” is firmly on the killer, but what good is a killer without prey? Enter roller rink employee’s Jess and Betsy; exactly the kind of victims you would expect in a movie “from 1978.” Jess has a rocker (read: loser) boyfriend and her struggles with their relationship form the basis of a plot line that seems kind of at odds with the stranger aspects of the film. But…it can’t all be skull-fucking can it? The accompanying cast fulfill their roles as targets and occasional much appreciated dark comedic relief very well, even if their stories aren’t rewarding. The character of the killer is fleshed out with flashback scenes of his childhood, spent in a cage and abused. Total surprise there right? It turns out when you lock someone in a cage for years, abuse them and treat them like a subhuman, they don’t turn out so great. Eventually they may even, like here, develop a what-I-can-only-assume is imaginary child friend that comes complete with creepy matching skull mask. Every maniac needs a mascot after all, so what better than a ever-youthful skull masked little boy? So that’s how we get to our modern day skull fucker, in a nutshell of course. I would never want to ruin some of the nasty shit that this movie has in store for you.
If you’re a gross fucker like me who enjoys viewing the foulest, most life-choices-questioning and unique films our beloved genre has to offer, you should seek out “Headless” immediately. Fuck it, here’s a link to buy it. BUY IT DON’T DOWNLOAD IT! If your idea of a scary time is shaky camera shots, five kinds of jump scares and the occasional “ghost” that’s actually just ends up looking like some dirt and fingerprints on the lens, steer clear. Like, go to the other side of the street when you see it coming because this movie WILL beat you up and take you for everything you’re worth.