Now available on VOD from Elmwood Productions is the puppet horror film Head. Puppet and horror aren’t two words that you would expect to find paired in the same sentence and it should be noted that these are similar to The Muppets, as opposed to the types of figures used in movies like The Puppet Master. Head is a true masterpiece in puppetry slasher cinema, a wonderful blend of grindhouse violence, nudity, and campy humor. While it may be the first in this new and hopefully growing subgenre, it is reminiscent of Meet the Feebles and Team America in terms of adult oriented entertainment through the art of puppetry.
The story is an interesting twist that features a motion picture within a midnight horror host’s television show, similar to Elvira and the hundreds of others that were popular over the decades. Within the TV show are a zombie short film and then the main story of a weekend camping trip gone wrong. The script and pacing are tight, with funny dialogue that features loads of harsh language. It contains everything that you would typically expect from a slasher in the woods story, a bunch of horny youths in the woods and loads of violence and nudity. One thing that was a pleasant surprise involved not revealing the identity of the killer until the end, maintaining a sense of mystery and a host of possible suspects.
The vocal acting was nicely done and they played their characters well, providing a decent mixture of humor and horror. They don’t achieve the same amount of terror that the actors do in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but we’re talking about puppets here. The puppets may not be as intricately designed as The ones from The Muppets or other television shows and motion pictures, but it doesn’t detract from the production and may actually be better suited for this type of genre.
The directing from Jon Bristol is terrific; his camera placement showed a great ability of making the realistic objects perfectly match up with the puppets. They never feel out of place in their surrounding environments and with larger items such as the vehicles and tents. The score is your typical horror score, but it works.
As with most horror movies, there is a certain level of expectation when it comes to practical effects and violence. Head more than lives up to the bloodthirsty needs of the hardcore horror fans, delivering heaps of puppet gore, spraying blood, and enough crazy shit to satiate viewers. Don’t forget about the generous amount of puppet nudity and sexual situations that audiences have all come to expect in the genre.
While this may not appeal to everyone, I personally think it doesn’t get much better than watching puppets getting hunted and killed in the woods. It’s a highly entertaining puppet slasher romp that has me thirsty for more.
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