Head opens with an odd but ultimately charismatic and funny host named Gil. We are watching his late night movie show, Graveyard Gil’s Midnite Thrills. All the usual touchstones are here: two unseen but very vocal off screen co-hosts laughing and adding to the proceedings, cheesy jokes, horrible puns. Gil presents a short film named The Walking Path, in which two friends venture out to get pizza after watching a zombie movie. Finally, the feature presentation, Head, begins playing.
While the idea seems like a run of the mill homage to the midnight terror we used to watch long after our parents went to bed, there is a twist: all of the on screen actors are puppets. The puppets are the creations of Elmwood Productions, a company that specializes in movies using their own puppets.
Head is your average slasher film: a bunch of friends go camping in the middle of the woods, where years earlier a bunch of teens were decapitated. As always, things go south quickly, people (or puppets) start dying, and secrets about this small town slowly begin to reveal themselves.
The fun of Head is watching puppets do the ridiculous and fun things that we normally see in a slasher movie. Everything is accounted for here: beheadings with an axe and arterial sprays, an unsettling display of beheaded puppet heads in a tree, and most amusing to watch, puppet nudity. The story very effectively adds to the overall tone of the midnight movie, that this is something that we could have easily caught on late one night on a channel we didn’t know existed.
The story is nothing new, but it is a solidly told campfire tale with enough twists and turns to keep you invested. The real stars of the production, of course, are the puppets. They are very clearly crafted with a lot of love and attention to detail. Each puppet has their own personality and look, making it easy to distinguish between them as characters. More than just the love that went into the creation of the puppets, there is a pleasure in watching them get destroyed. There are enough beheadings and blood sprays to satisfy the gore lovers amongst us, while also playing for big laughs. Not content with just scares, the movie is very funny.
The voice acting of the cast is excellent, adding another layer of personality to the puppets. Director Jon Bristol inventively films the puppets doing more complex activities such as driving cars. Elmwood are very clearly accomplished puppeteers, and their skills add to the quality of the movie.
The biggest shortcoming of Head is that it clocks in only at an hour, with all the Graveyard Gil stuff and the short before included. It’s a world that was a lot of fun to live in, no matter how briefly, and it would have been interesting to see what other interesting scenarios the puppets could find themselves in had there been more time.
Overall, Head and all the additional pieces of the production are crafted with love and a keen eye for the slasher genre. It brought back the fun nostalgia of turning the television on late at night, turning down the volume so nobody else could hear, and discovering something that you weren’t always sure you should be watching.
Watch Head for free at the link below!
7 out of 10