Rarely have I seen a movie with fewer redeeming qualities than the sordid 24:25-minute-long Edward Lee’s The Bighead, which is being featured at Calgary Horror Con. According to Wikipedia, The Bighead is adapted from a horror novel of the same name by writer Edward Lee, published in 1997. It concerns “The Bighead”, a mentally challenged, inbred psychopath afflicted with hydrocephalus, raging out in the backwoods of Virginia, raping and killing whatever comes his way. The book has been noted for being one of the most graphic and disturbing horror novels ever written. By a fortuitous coincidence, The Bighead is produced by Large Melon Productions.
Supposedly a calling card for a full-length feature film, director/scriptwriter Michael Ling’s entry centers on the “backwoods myth” of a saucer-headed freak who haunts an abbey in a remote region of Virginia, occasionally venturing outdoors to slaughter nubile blondes while devouring their brains.
But what Michael Ling’s first interpretation of The Bighead is really about is redneck stereotypes: Rosie, a roadside prostitute, services one stereotype in his car, then prepares to service a couple of townies. The townies then knock Rosie unconscious and spirit her off into the deep woods. The more aggressive guy, Tritt “Balls” Connor, strips Rosie naked, sodomizes her, and forces her to consume excrement. Then, for good measure, Connor urinates on the prostitute to the delight of his beer-lapping sidekick. This isn’t horror. This is depravity. Scenes like this make me think the Motion Picture Association of America ought to consider bringing back the Production Code, although incidentally, Orson Chaplin, who plays bad boy Connor, is the grandson of Charlie Chaplin.
Three good actors are caught up in this muck: P. David Miller, as “the best bartender in Luntville,” gives a thunderous description of a failed shooting party tracking the Bighead, and a firsthand account of the atrocities committed upon the blonde-haired female victims; Raquel Cantu as the seductive and flirtatious blonde newspaper writer Jerrica Perry; and Michael Coons as Father Tom Alexander, an attractive priest who has an eye for the ladies and is handy with his fists, which come in handy as Father Tom also plans to reopen the abbey where the creature is said to hide.
About the only thing The Bighead really has going for it is the hypnotic gorgeousness of Raquel Cantu, who – incredibly – was a script supervisor on the film before someone took a closer look at her buxom charms (and yes, the luscious Ms. Cantu can act.)
The Bighead is revealed at the end of the film, lurching its way towards Luntville. The mutated creature bears a striking resemblance to the split-faced carnival monstrosity in Tobe Hooper’s 1981 scream fest The Funhouse. After beating up a couple of ruffians, Father Tom says: “Those rednecks have concrete where their brains should be.” Same goes for some horror filmmakers.
– By Harvey Chartrand