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Mess with the Head...and You're Dead!
on July 26, 2005
Lance (Blake Bailey)--protagonist of the ultra-low-budget direct-to-video flick HEAD OF THE FAMILY (1996)--is the owner of a greasy-spoon diner in a small southern town, but a successful entrepreneur he is not. As with most of his fellow small-town denizens, Lance is the sort of white-trash American citizen who is more likely to wind up as a guest of Jerry Springer than in an issue of FORTUNE magazine.
Adding to the day-to-day problems of running a struggling business, Lance is having an affair with Loretta (former soft-core porn actress Jacqueline Lovell), the attractive wife of Howard, the town bully. Howard seems perpetually on the verge of discovering the ongoing extramarital trysts--after all, everybody else in town already knows--and this is starting to make Lance and Loretta fear for their lives. So during their obviously choreographed lovemaking sessions, the two discuss the possibilities of choreographing Howard's demise. But can they devise a plan that will succeed AND keep them both out of the electric chair?
Enter the Stagpooles, a mysterious family of freakish quadruplets who live on the edge of town in a dilapidated old mansion. Only three of the four are ever seen in public--Otis (Bob Schott), a muscular, oafish brute; Wheeler (James Jones), who seems to have eye problems and always wears thick, dark sunglasses (even at night); and the drop-dead gorgeous Ernestina (buxom hard-core porn star Dianne Colazzo), whose supply of gray matter is inversely proportional to her breast size--when they come into town for food and supplies. And even then, the trio rarely talks. They simply pass along a grocery and supply list made out by their brother Myron (J.W. Perra), the sibling who always stays at home. And though none of them work, they always readily pay cash for their purchases. Only two things, therefore, are certain about the Stagpooles--they have plenty o' money, and they value their privacy.
One night, however, Lance and Loretta are out driving by the Stagpoole place and discover, quite by accident, a little secret that the reclusive family wouldn't want revealed to their neighbors. Crafty opportunist that he is, Lance arranges a meeting with Myron, and after confirming that the heretofore unseen sibling is, quite literally, the titular Head of the Family, Lance blackmails the Stagpooles into disposing of Howard. But Lance lets greed cloud his judgment, and he uses his special "knowledge" in an attempt to also gouge the Stagpooles out of a large chunk o' their change. Unfortunately for Lance and Loretta, such an action enrages Myron and pushes the couple towards their ultimate demise. Fortunately for the audience, however, it also drives the movie towards its hilariously tasteless and delightfully "hot" B-movie climax.
Though touted as a horror film, HEAD OF THE FAMILY is actually schlocky, humorous burlesque (as are most flicks from Full Moon Home Video) that both pays tribute to and spoofs the horror genre. Accept it as that and expect nothing more, and the film will entertain you in that way that only a B-movie can. Take it seriously--which the filmmakers clearly did not intend for you to do--and you'll come away with the proverbial sour taste in your mouth.
The DVD from Full Moon Home Video offers the direct-to-video HEAD OF THE FAMILY in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the transfer is quite good with only occasional filmic and digital artifacts. Bonus features include trailers for this film and other fun Full Moon schlock, as well as a feature commentary with J.W. Perra and "Myron." All in all, the DVD edition of this low-budget flick is well worth the reasonable cost and should be added to the collections of all connoisseurs of the tasteless and the outrageous.