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Review: Trophy Heads (2014)

TROPHY HEADS (2014)

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

Charles Band recently directed an exclusive movie for Full Moon's new on-demand streaming service, aptly named Full Moon Streaming. The movie, called Trophy Heads, is made up of five bite-sized web episodes, reminiscent of the penny dreadful publications of the 19th century. Flawlessly combining elements of horror and humor, the movie showcases the most iconic scream queens of the 1980s. I had the pleasure of screening the first three episodes of the series, each of which was filled with scares, nudity, cameos, and horror movie references.

Trophy Heads (2014)
Trophy Heads (2014)
Full Moon Streaming

Trophy Heads centers around Max (Adam Noble Roberts). He's a long-haired scary movie aficionado who lives in his mother's basement, content in watching old horror VHS tapes in his underwear. Max comes to the realization that unlike his precious movies, the scream queens themselves age and won't be around forever, so he puts a plan into motion to preserve them (as well as obtain the ultimate collection) by kidnapping, killing them, and mounting their stuffed heads on his wall. Noble Roberts pulls off the role as sleazy, yet one cannot take your eyes off him, if only to see what he's going to do next. Like Joe Spinell in Maniac, Max is portrayed a vicious killer, yet he has a human side which makes his actions almost (but not quite) seem forgivable. In his warped sense of reality, he is doing these ladies a favor. He is giving them the chance to forever stay the way they were loved best, as they are all obviously unhappy in their current lives. He even goes out of his way to emulate the costumes that they wore in these pictures, using the multiple TVs simultaneously playing the mountain of VHS tapes in the background.

Max's mother, played by Maria Olsen, is eager to do anything to ensure that her little boy is kept happy at any cost. She doubles as his chauffeur, camera operator, and even co-conspirator. Olsen shines, as her character helps Max abduct, torture, and kill, but you can tell that she does so reluctantly, only doing so for her son's comfort. She gives a commendable performance, choosing not to act like the hunched, drooling Igor helper, but as a sympathetic, loving mother who will give whatever she can for her son. Her eyes and facial reactions alone made this character come alive. She is probably the finest actor in the whole production.

What about the scream queens, themselves? We have familiar faces, like Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Darcy DeMoss, Denice Duff, and Jaqueline Lovell. While they play themselves, they are playing heavily fictionalized versions of themselves, getting to poke fun of their own careers. For example, in the film, Brinke Stevens is working as a message therapist, Linnea Quigley is now a born-again religious fanatic, known as "Sister Quigley(!)," and Michelle Bauer sells fruit smoothies and headshots on a California beach. They are systematically taken hostage and kept in holding cells until it is their turn to re-enact a scene from one of their past movies to relive their glory days of running around in skimpy costumes before meeting a grisly end as a disembodied, talking head. Brinke gets to revisit Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity; Linnea goes back to her Creepozoids roots, and Michelle recalls her time spent on Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. Seeing these ladies in action again reminded me why I fell in love with them all those years ago, and it seemed that they had a lot of fun working together again.

There is also an unfamiliar face who is more than welcome. Newcomer Irena Murphy plays Julia, a redhead who just so happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For what it's worth, one has to hand it to Ms. Murphy, who proves that she is a very fine actress, despite spending the entirety of the film completely nude. It is a safe bet that Murphy will be a name to to be reckoned with in the horror genre.

Other than the severed heads, there isn't a whole lot of gore, but this isn't about being gruesome; it's a tale of human morality and a look back in the past, while giving a wink and nod to the fans who get the in-jokes. There are also some great cameos by Full Moon regulars Stuart Gordon, David DeCoteau, Amy Paffrath, and Robin Sydney. Of course, no Full Moon movie would be complete without music by Richard Band, and the score for this one is hauntingly perfect.

I must admit that I laughed out loud more than once, knowing that most people I know would have no idea why the scenes are funny, but I then realized that the humor was aimed at people like me: the horror fan who grew up renting Full Moon movies, making sure to watch the Video Zone after each feature. If you're like me, then I can guarantee that you'll love Trophy Heads as much as I did. I can't wait to see the last two episodes and find out how this ends. I would also love to see Band make more of these exclusives to the Full Moon Streaming service, which has an ever-growing library of films to watch. Band describes the service to be "like Netflix for lunatics."

Full Moon Streaming is an on-demand service dedicated to bringing you movies from the Full Moon library. For $6.99 per month, you can stream classic titles like the Puppet Master series; new independent horror in the Wizard Video library; cult video nasties in the Grindhouse area; wild, raunchy and shocking vintage flicks from the Something Weird catalog; even kid-friendly family films under the Moonbeam logo right to your computer, Roku, Android device, Apple device, or tablet. To sweeten the deal, if you subscribe for 6 months, you get three free Blu-Ray or DVDs of your choice, or six with a 1-year subscription.

You can watch Trophy Heads at FullMoonStreaming.

I give Trophy Heads 4 out of 5 stars.