Head of the Family: The Official Nerfed Llamas Review – Infidelity, Mutants, and Otis… OH MY!
Today I’ll be reviewing a Full Moon features flick requested by a reader: Head of the Family. I was aware of this film back in the 90s, but I never got around to watching it. Most readers 25 and under will likely never know how difficult it was to see obscure movies during the heyday of the VHS rental era. In many ways, the viewer was shackled to the limitations of the video rental mecca that they frequented, usually Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, or a small local rental shop. If you watched a lot of b-movies, especially ones put out by a dedicated studio like Full Moon Features, then you saw a lot of trailers for films that might never actually make it to your rental shop of choice. All the way back in the 90s, I lived in a small town that was a fair distance from the major city that it was anchored to, as such the b-movie selection was slim pickings on occasions. I don’t remember ever seeing Head of the Family in the Blockbuster Video, but now thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can watch nearly all of the Full Moon Features via their dedicated streaming service. So let’s keep this month long celebration of Full Moon Features moving forward with this weird little oddity that I overlooked all those years ago.
What is Head of the Family: Head of the Family is a film about a a pair of immoral lovers who plot the murder of the lady’s husband and the extortion of an odd local family that is wealthy. The lovers, Lance and Lorretta think that everything is going their way, but what they didn’t bargain for was the fact that the Stackpools, the bizarre rich family, are mutant quintuplets that are connected to one mega mind master, Myron. All of the Stackpools have special abilities and Myron can control them all. What seems like a slam dunk con scheme for the lovers quickly becomes a horror show of epic proportions! Directed by Charles Band (under the pseudonym Robert Talbot), from a story he created, with a script by Neal Marshall Stevens (under the pseudonym Benjamin Carr which also wrote Thirteen Ghosts, Hellraiser: Deader), Head of the Family stars Blake Adams (Lurking Fear, The Killer Eye), Jacqueline Lovell (Femalien, Lolita 2000), Gordon Jennison Nice (Running Time, Virtuosity), Alexandria Quinn (Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster, and a lot of porn), J.W. Perra (Kraa! The Sea Monster, Mystery Monsters), Vikki Skinner (Invisible Dad, Fugitive Rage), and Bob Schott (In the Line of Fire, Gymkata). Hey Charles, what was up with all the pseudonyms?
What I Liked: First and foremost, I liked the interactions between Lance and Lorretta, and just about every time Myron speaks. All three main actors involved, Blake Adams, Jacqueline Lovell, and J.W. Perra – respectively, did a bang up job of playing their parts. Lorretta, on the surface is a simple sex pot, but as the story unfolds she proves to be a capable con artist, able to go with the flow of her lover but also fully prepared to look at for herself should the situation call for it. Lance is seemingly a small minded loser who’s only interest is getting into Lorretta’s panties as frequently as humanly possible. However, Lance is more intelligent than he initially appears and always seems to have an ace up his sleeve, even in the stickiest of scenarios. Myron, well Myron is an evil genius that is cold, calculating, and ruthlessly sinister. The leader and big headed telekinetic is also a silver tongued devil that can turn a wicked phrase with a wonderfully malicious delivery. All of them do a terrific job playing their characters’ specific strengths and vulnerabilities.
I was also genuinely impressed with Lance’ ability to be a “Johnny on the Spot” when it came to dealing with adverse situations. Whether it’s placing a stock box over his junk so that he doesn’t get caught boning Howard’s wife, or his elaborate story telling abilities to keep him from the clutches of death, Lance is a man of constant surprises. Watching Lance work is a strange thing, because he gives off the impression that he’s complete buffoon, but in actuality he’s just smart enough to be dangerous. It’s a strikingly entertaining balance, and it is a lot of fun to watch.
I won’t ruin it, but the big “Show” during the third act is a b-movie cinematic treasure. Seriously, it is twisted and wrong and funny and beautiful. Also, the over the top out-of-leftfield way that the actual ending goes down is sublimely terrific as well. In fact, the entirety of the third act is golden. I’ll say no more, just be advised that you are in for a wild and highly satisfying third act.
What I Didn’t Like: I felt like the Stackpool family was a bit undeveloped, especially Wheeler and Ernestina, which are used pretty much only as plot devices. Whereas the head of the family, Myron, and the strong man, Otis, seem to have desires and motivations, Wheeler and Ernestina seem like puppets with no motivation at all. I specifically feel for Alexandria Quinn, who portrayed Ernestina, as she likely has played characters with more depth in the porn movies that she has been in, which is not a slight against her in this film, as she was doing the best she could with likely what very little they gave her to go on. It’s a missed opportunity, as it could have deepened the bound of the Stackpool family, and it also could have made them a bit more unique and bizarre.
One other thing that kind of bugged me about the plot, was how both Howard (Lorretta’s husband) and Lance were portrayed as consummate horrendous who would easily poke Ernestina, even though both profess to love Lorretta. I know that we aren’t dealing with high moral fiber characters here but… in the case of Lance, it seems off. He’s willing to kill Howard for Lorretta, but he’s not willing to be faithful after the fact. It just seems off and potentially out of character for him. Also, it’s not like Lance wasn’t getting laid enough…
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a like/didn’t like topic (which is why I’m covering it after both, but before the Bottom Line), it’s more of an observation: Lance and Loretta screw a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. Like, more than the average couple in any given week. We’re talking an insatiable amount of sex happens between these two star crossed lovers that would probably best be described as two horny bunny rabbits hooked on ecstasy and given an endless supply of lubricant and viagra. For reals though, check it out:
And that’s not all of them! Seriously, we get it guys, you like to have sex. Congrats! Sheesh, I feel like I’m missing out or something because I don’t have sex every five minutes. Time to talk to the wifey about upping our regiment 1,000% to try and by like the cool kids in this flick.
Bottom Line: Head of the Family is a ton of absurdly mutant horror/comedy fun. It takes a while to build up the story and get the freak show going, but oh man, once the mutant party gets started… well, it’s a gloriously entertaining doozy! The story is truly unique, and as conniving as Lance and Lorretta are, they have occasional moments of brilliance that illuminate why they are the effective liars and con-artists that they are. The Stackpools are crazy, unique, and even though they hardly have any dialogue (outside of Myron, of course), the actors involved are exceptionally convincing as the the bizarre quintuplet that they each are portraying. This is a film that I wished I had seen way back in 1996. Also, if you are a fan of nudity, this movie has a lot of it, so thumbs up if that’s your bag. This is exactly the kind of film that Full Moon Features excels at, quirky original films that challenge the imagination while giving genuine frights and laughs along the way. I highly recommend Head of the Family, which can be viewed on DVD and via the Full Moon streaming service.
Check out the trailer for Head of the Family and see if this quintuplet psycho-horror comedy is your type of personal therapy: