Monday, 20 June 2011


Film: Trail Of The Screaming Forehead
UK Release date: Out now
Certificate: PG
Running time: Long enough
Director: Larry Blamire
Starring: Daniel Roebuck, Susan McConnell, Fay Masterson
Genre: Comedy/Spoof
Format: DVD
Reviewer: Adam Wing

Comedy. It’s an acquired taste. With that in mind, I’d like to make a few things clear - that would be me. Airplane. Not funny. Leslie Nielsen. Not funny. Chevy Chase. Not funny. Lee Evans. Funny (even if he does make me feel uncomfortable with his relentless sweating). The Mighty Boosh. Not funny. Harry Hill. Not funny. Leigh Francis. Not funny. My Family… are they even calling that comedy these days? Ricky Gervais. Funny. Steve Merchant. Funny. Michael McIntyre. Funny. Stewart Francis. Funny. Kevin Bridges. Funny. Simon Pegg. Funny. Dumb & Dumber. Funny. Steve Carell. Funny. Comedy, like I say, very much an acquired taste.

Larry Blamire, best known for cult favourite The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, returns to writing, directing and producing with a loving tribute to 60’s sci-fi movies. Lets just make another thing clear - I hate spoofs. Sorry, I should’ve gone with ‘tributes’. It’s not just a loathing for Leslie Nielsen that draws me to that conclusion, whether you want to call them spoofs or tributes, lazy writing is lazy writing. This might perk your interest though; he also directed Johnny Slade’s Greatest Hits, produced by and starring John Fiore, not to mention some of The Soprano’s cast. That’s pretty much all I have to say on the subject. I really miss The Soprano’s…

‘Terror strikes the sleepy burg of Longhead Bay when creeping alien foreheads begin attaching themselves to local townspeople and seizing their very souls - launching a vast invasion from Outer Space!’ Believe me, that last statement makes it sound so much more enticing than it actually is. By a remarkable coincidence, sexy, arrogant scientist Sheila Bexter (Fay Masterson) begins testing her theory that the forehead, not the brain, is the seat of all human knowledge. She formulates a human extract and convinces gullible colleague Dr. Phillip Latham (Andrew Parks) that with enough Foreheadazine he can become the most brilliant scientist in the world! Note the exclamation marks, makes it all sound so very exciting… doesn’t it!?!

Catastrophe reigns when the ill-fated experiment goes horribly wrong while the entire town is taken over by sinister brow-like nightmares in a terrifying cataclysm of Corpses and Chaos! There’s that exclamation mark again, time to get on with the review me thinks.

Things get off to a good start with a musical number performed by The Manhattan Transfer, that’s pretty much the only positive I have to offer on this particular review. It’s clear from the outset whether or not this is your kind of film, if lines like “Why must you always ask questions about things you want answers to?” are the kind of thing that float your boat then you’re onto a winner. Memorable exchanges include “Then you really could help me?”, “I’ll do better than that, I’ll assist you anyway I can”. It’s all very smart, and not at all tedious in any way. The characters act, talk and behave like assholes. If this were a 5-minute short then so be it, but 90 minutes of smart-arsed wordplay becomes incredibly tiresome, and if Trails of the Screaming Forehead is some kind of joke, I’m really not in on it.

For some of you, I’m talking to die-hard Larry Blamire fans here, the promise of a witty script and below-par special effects will instantly appeal. The nonsensical plot with alien foreheads will be a joy to watch, and anyone with a penchant for trashy cult cinema, not to mention so-bad-it’s-good-but actually not that good belly laughs, will find Trail of the Screaming Forehead immensely satisfying. The cast are certainly in on the joke, loving every minute of this warped, sporadically entertaining spoof of the sci-fi genre. It’s just a shame that I didn’t get the memo.

Maybe it is the best film ever made. Maybe Leigh Francis is in fact a comedy genius and My Family is in fact the best comedy show in the history of television. Maybe, just maybe. The fact that I’d never heard of Larry Blamire before this speaks volumes to me, and I doubt very much I’ll be hearing from him again. Comedy. It’s an acquired taste for sure. We’ll leave it at that.

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