Header (2006)

DVD Cover (Synapse)
Archibald Flancranstin Archibald Flancranstin
Jake Suffian Jake Suffian
Elliot V. Kotek Elliot V. Kotek
Dick Mullaney Dick Mullaney
Michael Philip Anthony Michael Philip Anthony
Stacey Brooks Stacey Brooks

4.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Hixploitation, Horror, Sex Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: September 15, 2009
What is a header? That's the tagline for the film of the same title, and it's also one of the chief selling points behind it - truth be told, I would have skipped over this one if not for my curiosity and a lack of answers from a Google search at the time. I'll give the filmmakers credit for that one, as they managed to sell me on their movie with nothing more than a question and a DVD cover. Now that I've sat through the film and witnessed a header for myself, I can safely say that I was satisfied with the answer I received... but I can't say the same about the film as a whole.

The story begins when Travis Tuckton (Elliot V. Kotek) is finally released from the pokey after serving eleven years for grand theft auto, and he quickly returns home to Grandpap Jake Martin's (Dick Mullaney) ramshackle cottage out in the woods. Pappy is pleased as punch to see his kin, and he wastes little time in filling the boy in on what has happened since he's been gone. It turns out that diabetes took his legs away from him, but worse yet, it seems that some of the local good ol' boys have done him wrong. This leads to the discussion of the infamous header.

You see, the header came about generations ago, and it all started with a bunch of neighbors feuding: one man would give a mean glare to a teenage girl, her daddy would kill that man's dog, he'd retaliate by raping the other man's wife, that man would get his revenge by killing the rapist's son, and it just went back and forth with the lads upping the ante in their revenge until they arrived at the header. Now, Travis will be dealing out plenty of these headers to get a little revenge for his dear old pappy.

Meanwhile, ATF agent Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian) is doing his best to provide for his sick wife, but her medical bills are quickly overwhelming him. This prompts him to start covering for some of the local moonshine-peddlers and drug-dealers, and it also leads to his first exposure to the dreaded header when he finds the body of a young lady who had it performed on her. It soon becomes almost an obsession for him to get to the bottom of what a header is (remember, he only found the body, he didn't see what happened), and before you know it, he'll be getting an up close and personal look at this legendary ritual.

So, what is a header? Well, you strap your victim down to a table, break out the... wait, you thought I was going to spoil it after I had to watch for myself to find out? No sir, it doesn't work that way around these here parts. Suffice it to say that it is disgusting, bloody, vile, and will certainly stick with you for some time. If you happen to be a fan of the depraved, then you'll undoubtedly find yourself cheering when you see it unfold. It's quite the sight to see, and because of that, I don't feel ripped off on my rental.

The problem here is that the rest of the film doesn't hold up after you've witnessed what you paid to see. Most people, myself included, plopped down their cash to find out what a header is and hoped that the other ninety-eight percent of the film would provide us with a few scares, some decent effects, or at least a handful of inventive kills. The header itself is revealed early on in the film, and yes, it is very cool, but that's where the film damned near comes to a screeching halt.

From that point on, we watch two different stories unfold: Stewart is tending to his wife, masturbating by the local pond, and obsessing over the header (the thing that we've already seen), while Travis performs the header (again, the thing that we've already seen) to other victims. The two stories eventually come together and wrap the film up with an interesting if not predictable climax, but until that point, we're switching back and forth from a lackluster story to a gag that we've already seen enough of to get the point. I'd be lying if I said that I was bored to tears throughout the entire film, but I'd also be lying if I said that I was glued to the edge of my seat.

As far as the acting goes, I have to give major credit to Dick Mullaney as the grandfather. The man won't take home any awards for filling "legitimate" roles, but he can damned sure bring an entertaining character to the screen. He had me laughing more than once with his tirades, and personally, I'd like to see him playing a similar character in a few more movies. The rest of the cast, much like the film they're starring in, are just sort of there. I can't bitch about anyone as nobody did a downright horrible job, but at the same time, the grandfather is the only one that I can heap praise upon.

I'm going to go with an average rating for this one, as the film does deliver on the promise of a nasty method of dispatching victims, but it's also a bit of a one-trick pony. Yes, it's neat, and yes, you will remember it for some time to come, but that's about all that Header had going for it. You won't want to fast-forward through the rest of the running time, but you won't exactly want to come back to it again either. 6/10.
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M√∂rderwolf777 #1: Mörderwolf777 - added 10/11/2009, 05:42 AM
I thought it was pretty good. the ATF/good guy character played by Jake Suffian was terribly acted, and the character of travis was played by an australian whose accent came through his faux hillbilly accent on a few occasions but all in all an enjoyable movie. some of the acting was top notch for such a film
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