What do you suggest for the exploitation fan that’s seen everything? Actually, that question might be better unanswered, but should the situation arise, consider Arthur Cullipher’s recently released Headless.
When a film opens with a killer moaning with pleasure as he has sex with a recently detached head, you know it probably won’t be coming soon to a theater near you. However, before we dive into the particulars, let’s take a look at how this delightful piece of nastiness came to be.
In 2012, director Scott Schirmer unleashed a film called Found onto an unsuspecting audience. A hauntingly personal film about a teenager who suspects his older brother is a serial killer. It went to some seriously dark places, many of which were featured in the fake film within a film, Headless. A grim and gruesome homage to the sadistic grindhouse slashers of the late ’70s, Headless felt all too real – so real, in fact, that fans started to clamor for a real world version of the film.
Welp, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, that film is finally here, and it was most definitely worth the wait.
In this “lost slasher film from 1978,” a a skull masked killer (Shane Beasley) is on a rampage, abducting and murdering women in some extremely graphic ways. This includes chopping off nipples, gouging out eyes and, as mentioned earlier, having sex with their severed heads. And it’s all shown in gruesome detail.
Early on, we are introduced to a little boy known as “Skull Boy” although he isn’t referred to as such. The boy acts as the killer’s subconscious and leads him along the way in his frenzied massacre (think about Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko, then amp up the creepiness factor a few thousand notches). The boy adds an essence of eeriness and keeps you fully intrigued throughout, and as such we learn more about the killer’s backstory and how he became the way he is – and let’s just say, it’s not a pretty sight.
If you haven’t already surmised this already, this film is quite graphic, with a number of brutal scenes that will make even the most jaded viewer sit up and take notice. The term “not for everybody” was never more pertinent. However, if you’re able to unplug your morality meter for a bit then you should have no problem appreciating this audacious taboo trampler.
Whilst being released in 2015, the late ’70s atmosphere is soaked into every frame, as it proudly wears its influences on its sleeve. The film is indeed a loving homage to all of the grimy, gory and reprehensible grindhouse films of the the era. Cullipher (who was also in charge of special effects here and in Found), is obviously a fan of the genre and the films that spewed forth from it during the aforementioned time period.
Any technical faults this unrelenting movie has will soon be wiped from your memory, but the underlining feeling of gut-wrenching savagery will remain for many nightmares to come. Less of a horror film than just plain horrific, nothing here seems to be meant to necessarily scare you, but it is meant to hit on every guttural impulse you have. You’ll undoubtedly remember Headless long after the credits; in that it does not disappoint.
Let us know your thoughts on this future cult-classic in the comment section below.