Shockheaded DVD Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by Heretic Films
Written and Directed by Eric Thornett
2002, Region 1 (NTSC), 85 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on July 27th, 2006
Noble is a lonely man in a dead end life. He moves into a cheap hotel, only to be harassed by strangers looking for the woman that lived there before him. Men claiming to be detectives show up in the middle of the night to question him about the Mystery Woman. Someone keeps slipping notes to him about her, too. While he has nothing at all to do with her, whoever she is, Noble soon becomes intrigued with her and why these people are after her. He's also having odd dreams about a man in a white mask, and perhaps his mental health isn't where it should be at, either.
One day, another stranger shows up and gives Noble a video tape. He explains that the tape holds the clue to finding the Mystery Woman. The tape turns out to be a bootleg tape of some kind of bondage/snuff film type flick, recorded off of a broadcast by a pirate television station. Noble's intrigue turns to obsession as he tries to track down more of these tapes, and finally the filmmakers and the people that run the pirate TV station. His dreams of the white mask start to blend in with his reality, and he soon finds himself in a crazy, mixed up world where all is not as it seems.
Shockheaded looks and feels like a low budget movie. While it was shot well, the film tries to jam too much into too little. Scenes are very short and quick, which doesn't give the viewer much time to catch up to what is going on. The acting is mediocre at best, and the sets look like they were put together for a high school stage production. Not that there's anything wrong with that! It's low budget. But, for some reason, this film just seemed lower budget than most. The kind of low budget you expect to see on the public access channels at 2am, not on a DVD. It seems very much like a student film.
One of the problems is that many characters and situations presented are over the top. We see things through Noble's eyes, and while the point of the film seems to be to take us on his mind trip, at some points it's just so much that the viewer gets ejected from the ride. Instead of keeping us intrigued, we look for the first exit.
By the end of Shockheaded, you'll be asking yourself, "Didn't David Cronenberg already make this movie?" For the most part, the answer is yes. Anyone who has ever seen Cronenberg's classic, Videodrome, should be able to pick up the blatant corollaries between the two films. The Mystery Girl, bondage flicks, headfuck, pirate broadcasts, and a lot more have been lifted from that film and put down here. Not that Shockheaded is a complete rip-off of Videodrome, it's not. But it's much too close for comfort, in my book. While it can really be seen as a 'reimagining' or 'inspired by' at best, the fact is Cronenberg did it first, and he did it a lot better. With that in mind, it's hard to reccomend this film to anyone. Overall, it comes off as a poor imitation, with absolutely no redeeming value. If you feel the need to watch Shockheaded, walk to the next aisle over and the the real thing.
Special features include a commentary with some of the filmmakers and cast, deleted/alternate scenes, a short film, and trailers for other Heretic films. If you enjoyed the movie, you'll enjoy these. If not, skip them, because it's more of the same.
(Neon's Movie Lounge contains a Zenith 42" Plasma EDTV, Oppo DV971H DVD player using a DVI connection, Pioneer 815 7.1 receiver and JBL Northridge E Series speakers.)
Want to comment on this review? Head over to the Horrortalk Review Forum.