Home > Tales of the Weird > In the Spotlight: Head of the Family (1996)

In the Spotlight: Head of the Family (1996)

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

by Mat Weir

Lance has problems. Besides feeling trapped in a rut as owner of the local grease diner, The Wonderama Stop & Shop, his girlfriend’s bad-boy husband is starting to suspect something. Loretta and Lance dream of the day they can kill Howard but don’t know how they can pull it off. That is, until one night Lance sees the neighborhood freak family (and I do mean freak) kidnap a random truck driver for their torturous experiments. Armed with blackmail, Lance figures he can get the Stackpoole family to do whatever he wants. But Head of the Family is a cheesey cult flick from good ol’ Land of the 90’s and Lance soon finds out he might have another thing coming.

***NOT SURE HOW I CAN SPOIL THIS MOVIE, BUT HERE IT IS***

First off, I never even heard of this movie until the beginning of the year when my friend and ex-coworker, Wes, recommended it. I believe his quote was something along the lines of, “Here, you’re a dirtbag that’s into crappy movies, you’ll love this.” Well, alright then. But for those of you not in the know, we at Streetlight are slaves for the next hunt and I sat on it until now. After my first viewing all I have to say is: Good call, Wes. Good call.

I loved this movie and why the hell not? From the opening credits the audience is introduced to the next 82 minutes in an honest way; a shot of a creepy Psycho-like house, uber-cheesey (I’m talking like scalding, Taco Bell lava cheese) music, and three of the Stackpooles leaving the building. Throughout the film there are boobs, blood, intentionally horrible scenes with bad lines (Lance: “Naw baby, you make all them other girls, like on TV and stuff, look like a bunch of ugly old sows.” Loretta: “You mean it?” Lance: “Sure as shit, baby.”), gross-out factors (get to that in a minute), one or two plot twists and more boobs. Some of my favorite scenes take place in the Stackpoole dungeon where they keep their patients. Only, most of their “patients” are really just animatronic dummies straight out of Walt Disney’s nightmares. This movie knows it’s a B-rated campfest and it brings the marshmallows.

However, the main attraction in Head of the Family is the Stackpooles. There’s Otis, a Thor-like strongman with the brains of Steinbeck’s Lenny; Wheeler, a scrawny guy with heightened senses and eyeballs that bulge out of his skull; Ernestina, a perfect-by-porn-standards blonde; and Myron, a wrinkled, giant head with a baby’s body (“I’m the head of the family” he chimes at the beginning. Name- dropping dialogue, another trademark of campy goodness). They are all psychically linked (naturally), with big-brained Myron calling the shots. His costume/special effects bring the gross-out factor with simple things like a scene where he is slurping soup or another where he is sticking his extra-long, extra-slimy tongue out. Since he has an extraordinary IQ, he of course is filled with amazing one-liners and tons of horrible puns. If you expect a certain standard of quality from your cinema then you’re horribly boring and should stop reading this blog now. Just kidding…kind of. But it brings up a good point about taste. The only time “bad taste” lives up to it’s name is when eating. Head of the Family is for those of us who can laugh at freaks, rednecks, horrible movies and ultimately, ourselves.

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