TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD (2007) – The Dungeon Review
I loved Larry Blamire’s The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and The Lost Skeleton Returns Again. I should give both films the proper respect and actually review them! But in the meantime, I highly recommend both! I have recently joined Netflix Canada which has been a massive disappointment! They have no horror films I haven’t seen. Zilch. I found Trail of the Screaming Forehead in their comedy section and looked it up on IMDB. I was thrilled when I seen Larry Blamire’s name attached as director! This was a must watch! Blamire mocks with the greatest of respect the Eisenhower-era Sci-Fi/Horror monster movies. Intentionally stiff dialog, ridiculous character names and an even more ridiculous premise. Trail of the Screaming Forehead is presented in Cranioscope and is literally about renegade foreheads out to take over earth! Obviously being heavy on the comedy, your taste in humour will highly influence your feelings about this film, and in fact all of Blamire’s films. The humour is definitely of the PG variety and is often pretty damn corny. Considering the source material from which it borrows, anything but a PG sense of humour would make the whole package fall very flat. In other words, it perfectly suits the material, and I find it absolutely charming!
Dr. Sheila Bexter is working on a theory that it is the forehead not the brain that is the source of all human thought. Her biggest cheerleader is co-worker Dr. Philip Latham who blindly supports her theory. Meanwhile a tiny spaceship has fallen to earth carrying a forehead. The forehead comes from a planet where the race was eliminated by nuclear war, leaving nothing but foreheads in its wake. The forehead affixes itself to the owner of the local bed and breakfast. Two “salty” seamen, Big Dan Frater and Dutch “the swede” Annacrombie come ashore for a much needed rest and stay at said bed and breakfast. The two seamen notice something is not right in the town. Indeed, the evil foreheads quickly multiply and attach themselves to the patrons of the tiny town. The two seamen along with Millie the local librarian find a forehead crawling in the dirt and realize what has gripped the populace. They attempt to relay the peculiar story to the local chief of police who only laughs at their tale. Unaware of the forehead infestation Dr. Bexter convinces Dr. Latham to take her concoction she is calling Foreheadazine. The Foreheadazine horribly mutates Dr. Latham’s head and the forehead possessed patrons believe he is one of them. As the foreheads take over the minds of everyone in town Dan, Dutch and Millie race against time to find a way to deal with the forehead infestation.
What an utterly ridiculous premise for a film! Trail of the Screaming Forehead is pure silliness from beginning to end! Everything from the dialog, to the character names to the delightful stop motion animated foreheads insists you never for a second take this film seriously. I particularly loved the animated foreheads! The way the foreheads pulled themselves along was an endless source of amusement for me. At one point they even have eyes and a mouth and start speaking. The local gangster Nick Vassidine (played by the film’s director Larry Blamire) ends up being taken over by a forehead which speaks to his moll Droxy Chappelle. Droxy exclaims (loosely quoted) “Your all messed up…like modern art!” Trail of the Screaming Forehead even has its own theme song sung by Droxy. Droxy uses the song to seduce Big Dan Frater and convince him to show her his cargo of frozen corpses! But the real scene stealer here is Dr. Philip Latham and his big gross head! Dr. Latham’s horribly mutated face looks like a whole bunch of foreheads glued together! He gets many of the best lines and is brilliantly played by Blamire regular Andrew Parks. The entire cast are all quite a bit of fun! The film also features some great classic men of horror like James Karen (The Return of the Living Dead) who plays Reverend Beaks, Dick Miller (It Conquered the World, Premature Burial, Piranha, The Howling, Night of the Creeps) who plays Eddie the bartender, and Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Piranha, The Howling, Twilight Zone: The Movie) who apparently arrived late for shooting and has a brief cameo where he asks Eddie the bartender where he can get a forehead. Unfortunately the film is not without its issues, and this one is a bit of a doozy. The jokes felt a bit redundant after a while. Around mid-point of the film it started to feel like Blamire ran out of fresh material. The intentionally stiff dialog uses such shtick as “in conclusion we must conclude”, and it did get a bit tiresome after a while. I also had mixed feeling about the ending. There are still some laughs to be had in the second half but it just felt a little too repetitive.
Trail of the Screaming Forehead has been my least favourite of the Blamire films I’ve seen, but it nonetheless gave me some laughs. It is a shame the jokes felt repetitious after a while because the outrageous premise, the wacky performances and the wonderful stop motion animation was an absolute hoot! That said, Blamire is pretty awesome, and I sure look forward to discovering the rest of his films! Gee whiz the guy is pretty neato! Trail of the Screaming Forehead is recommended with warning.
Dungeon Rating: 3/5
Directed By: Larry Blamire
Starring: Daniel Roebuck, Susan McConnell, Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, H.M. Wynant, Brian Howe, Dan Conroy, Alison Martin, Trish Geiger, Jennifer Blaire, Larry Blamire, Dick Miller, Robert Deveau