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Header - DVD - Synapse Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 20 December 2012

Header DVD Artwork


AKA: Edward Lee's Header

Directed by:
Archibald Flancranstin
Written by:
Michael E Kennedy (Based on the story by Edward Lee)
Produced by:
Michael Anthony, Michael E Kennedy
Cinematography by:
Archibald Flancranstin
Editing by:
Archibald Flancranstin
Music by:
Ben Goldberg
Special Effects by:
Ryan Carroll, Alex Marthaller, David Plunkett, Brian Ray
Jake Suffian, Dick Mullaney, Elliot Kotek, Stacey Brooks, Patrick Nicholas
1h 29min

Distributor: Synapse Films

WARNING: Contains spoilers.  If you don’t want to know what a Header is, I'll warn you when the spoilers are coming.

You know the sort of film that leaves you picking your chin up off the carpet and the jawbone utters a curse at you for making you watch it? 
"Header" is one of those films, yet the argument is that the film is like a car wreck, you can’t look away because you never know when the dead persons brains are gonna spill out, all steaming.

"Header" is a first-rate low budget indie.  It’s head and shoulders above a legion of straight to DVD camcorder wobble vision movies out there ("August Underground" comes to mind simply because it's what I call Fashion Gore).  For a start it’s based on the poisoned imagination of author Edward Lee.  "Who?"  How dare you!  He’s only the guy who’s out-sicked every writer and still kept a decent story and humour.  (To me there’s a difference between him and say, Carlton Mellick III.  Carlton pushes boundaries and loses his way by being almost fashion surreal.  Ed keeps his stories believable… well, almost.  Check out Goon and Going Monstering for two examples off the top of my head.  Also check the interview on this very site, here.)

Don’t go into this expecting Oscar worthy performances; go into it expecting a horror style hall of mirrors.  All shapes and sizes of madness meet you on your journey.  Don’t expect a large budget either.  What you can expect is a film which may have been raved about by Chas Balun and classic mags like Gorezone, Deep Red and In the Flesh.  Why?  Because it has that feel, that right atmosphere which makes you want to watch more and more.  The gore is plentiful, and there’s a great mix of action... look hang on, let me tell you the story first.

Travis starts the film as a young boy spying on his hillbilly father and grandfather laughing loud and acting very excited in their woodland shack.  We don’t get to see much but flash forward a few years as Travis is released from prison after serving a term for GTA.  He returns to the shack and finds his grandfather alone and missing his legs.  He has a huge toothless big bearded hillbilly head and fixes shoes for a small price.  Travis’s parents are long dead due to a car accident.

Grandpa chuckles as Travis tells him about beating a guy in the prison showers who tried to rape him “… so much I left him retarded.”  Then they talk more and Travis asks about the phrase “header.”  Apparently Grandpa and his father were experts at  it, and it’s the worst thing you can do to the woman folk in a rival enemy hillbilly family.  “Like it says in the bible, an eye for an eye.”  Okay, sounds cool so far.

Let’s meet  Agent Stewart Cummings who's job it is to bust moonshine stills in the area.  He has a sick wife and a whole lot of medical bills piling up for her medicines.  He’s a man on the edge.  One night he chances upon a crime scene and speaks with two officers (played by Edward Lee and writer buddy Jack Ketchum).  (SPOILER ALERT!!!) It seems the deceased woman has a hole in her head and semen in the wound.

And that my friends is a Header.  Travis knocks women out, ties them down, drills their heads open and basically “fucks” with their brains whilst they're still warm.  While he does this the nasty Grandpa gets all excited whooping and throwing his arms about.  “I don’t think it’s fair fo' ma grandpa not bein' able ta join in!”  Travis carries his disabled grandpa to the corpses head and lets him have fun.  Afterwards the old man cries because it was the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for him.  They decide they need a Header every night.  (END OF SPOILER)

Meanwhile, Stewart gets involved in drug trafficking for a hippy dude with a bad temper, to raise more cash for his wife’s medication.  He’s also getting deeper into the deaths of the local hillbilly girls and it’s disturbing his actual work.  His boss is an ass who seems to get a kick from winding Stewart up.  Sooner or later these characters are going to collide and it's a well balanced length of time before they do.

"Header" as you can gather gets a big Creepy thumbs up for being sheer balls to the wall nasty.  It's not like say, "Hanger," which was over-the-top nasty for the sake of being brutal but yet couldn't follow its own trail with anything else like a story or decent acting (C'mon, Debbie Rochon's performance for example is so low level I wanted to beat her like a pimp!)  "Header" balances humour and bad taste in the manner of Vince Offer's "The Underground Comedy Movie" but obviously using a better script.

The cast aren't really known for any major films (in fact, Dick 'Grandpap' Mullaney has a long history of playing crazy old men and grandfathers in training videos, adverts and indie unknowns but did portray George Eastman -- no not that one -- the founder of Kodak in a documentary.)  There's an ex-Playboy girl called Tara Brooks in the mix though.

"Header" is hopefully a one off and probably won't spawn any sequels which is a good thing though Mr. Lee has written a second book.  I'm looking forward to any future adaptations of the writers work so long as as much care is used as on "Header."  I've heard there's to be a short film based on his novella The Bighead coming soon.

Synapse have put out the film without much fanfare on the extras.  A handful of thinly spread interviews with the cast and crew and a 'chapter selection'.  Oh, right so that's it?  Synapse are usually pretty damn good at packaging up a flick.  Even the cover pic is just a WTF with a screaming face and a bit of blood.  Disappointing, but don't let that effect you seeking the movie out.


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 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 16:9
 Region: NTSC R0
 Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo

 - Making "Header" - Featurettes:
 The Director
 The Author
 The Guest
 The Star
 The Producer
 The Effects
 - Promotional Trailer #1
 - Promotional Trailer #2

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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