Thursday, 6 November 2014

Movies: Trail of the Screaming Forehead

Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007)

Organic madness. 

The unimaginative neckbeard with his expensive collection of LOTR replica swords would tell you that this movie was the result of "tons of weed man, ah-huh-huh". He would then likely regurgitate his month's worth of two-minute microwave hamburgers and nod off in the bubbling slime, a shuddering victim, overdosing on his own passionless drivel. I say this because TOTSF should never, ever be pigeonholed as simply another throwaway gimmick flick for lifeless college frat types. There are plenty of movies out there that serve that very purpose, the purpose of pandering heavily to a couch full of roach-lipped figurines with gags about Stifler peeking in the girl's bathroom. As much as I do love the crude and the trashy, this is one film that doesn't rely on the reliable. It's familiar, but it's adventurous. It's shimmering, clean comedy. It's organic madness.

If you've never heard this oh-so recyclable plot line before then your mother is probably still using stabilizers. A small, quaint little strip of Americana becomes ground zero of a sinister alien invasion, and each of the town's inhabitants are systematically brainwashed by these parasitic visitors. As stated before, this story has been done to death. It's been fucked, flipped over for seconds, and fucked again for the last sixty years, but as far as my knowledge stretches; it's never been done with sentient foreheads from a distant, dying planet. 

This is the first Larry Blamire film I've seen, but I can already confidently tell you that he has mastered 1950s pastiche like no other. Everything from the bubbly soundtrack to the traditional and perpetual mid-long shot is executed perfectly as though Blamire had sat at his desk and thrown two bugling eyes on every single nuclear family sci-fi ever belched forth during that so paranoid era. It's full of a snappy, but completely idiotic kind of charm, with absolutely zero reliance on innuendo or vulgarity. It's audio/visual proof that there is really an art to writing terrible dialogue, and it's effortlessly funny in its delivery from the cast, all whom portray characters that need little highlighting, each of them standing out in their own way with their own set of eccentricities. 

"Avant-garde" isn't a term I like to throw around, especially for a comedy that so clearly sets out to be derivative, but everything from its bright visuals to its unconventional humour designate this as something entirely different to anything yet produced during this b-movie revival. It predates many of the most well-known revival flicks like Hobo with a Shotgun or WolfCop, but it's every bit a rival to their quirky charm. If this film is anything to go by, Larry Blamire is definitely one to keep a hawk's eye on if you require a strong fix of bizarre fun. 

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