There are no limits to the depths of Hades that we here at Brains
On Film wouldn't Can-Opener into to tell you about odd, bizarre,
or horrible movies. That's what we do. If you have been paying
attention, you realize we try to stray away from things you might
have already read a ton about or found on the shelves at the Blockbuster.
We aren't trying to be snobs necessarily; it just works out that
way. We try a little harder to find the little bits of cinematic
smegma that the mop boy missed. This review is no different. HEADLESS
EYES definitely fits the bill. As smegma that is. Pure, unadulterated,
gooey, smelly, dried on the edges, oops there's chunk on my Chucks,
smegma. The left overs from a not so satisfying fist fuck brought
to you by the father of a couple teen stars and the man who would
later direct enough fuck flix to build a scale version of the
Sphinx out of the video boxes.
Just whom am I yakking about? The dynamic duo of Kent Bateman
(think hard where do you know that name) and Ron Sullivan (this
name means nothing to you or I). Bateman, well, his seed spawned
both Jason (Teen Wolf Two!) and Justine (Mallory from Family Ties)
and Sullivan, purveyors of quality pud pullers know him best as
the extremely talented, Henri Pachard. Pachard's career spans
4 decades and includes incredibly successful cooze classics like
THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES II, in my honest opinion one of the best
porn movies ever, and the extremely recommended BABYLON BLUE.
Henri also dipped his own wick on occasion, starring in a few
90s nut busters like Duck Dumont's PINK PUSSYCAT.
But you have to go back to 1971, to when these two guys collaborated
on HEADLESS EYES. Pachard had been directing sexploitationers,
since '67 or so, and producing them as well, himself, under the
moniker Ronald Sullivan. His pal Kent Bateman had a taut little
script, reminiscent of H.G. Lewis's work, which was raking the
cash in on the drive-in circuit. Pachard (as Sullivan) would produce
while Kent took over the direction. On a budget equivalent to
that of what a typical porn loop might have cost HEADLESS EYES
The plot involves a NYC artist, who while trying to roll his
landlady for the rent money, she awakes and proceeds to attack
him with a teaspoon. You read that right a teaspoon, don't laugh
yet asshole, it works and the poor bastard, actor Swedish born
Bo Brundin, has his eye literally scooped out of his head, in
what might be the most memorable scene in the film (it takes place
30 seconds in) the obviously overdubbed voice of Brundin screams
"OWWW MY EYYYYYYYE!" over and over and over and over
and over and over until
whew, the opening credits roll. Flash
forward to modern times and our starving artist has a patch, as
well as a not so healthy infatuation (read obsession) with eyeballs,
his freezer is full of eyeball molds. Not like molded eyeballs
in an artistic since, he didn't make nice molds, shaped as eyes
then poor plaster or anything, he has cheap TupperwareTM things,
filled with water, with eyeballs frozen into the center of them.
Kind of like those gag ice cubes with flies in them, except more
the size of small doorstops with bloody eyeballs locked in for
freshness. His studio/living quarters has some sort of display
window where folks stroll up peer in, make rude comments about
his "eye art" then mosey along. One evening a drunken
man and his wife/date do just this. A few moments later ol' one
eye stalks them to their house knocks on the door and is greeted
by a "hey its the eyeball artist" before pounding them
both over the head with a hammer. The violence is very much like
H.G. Lewis's early works. The blood is thick and slightly unrealistic
much like the actors involved and their performances.
HEADLESS EYES clocks in at a not so brisk 78 minutes. Most of
that time is padded with walking and stalking sequences, where
our artist/murder hones in on victims, seems tortured by it all
and then either carries through or panics and doesn't. Molasses,
you familiar with the viscous qualities of said material? Slow,
an apt describer. Same can be said for HEADLESS EYES. S-L-O-O-O-W-W.
Don't get me wrong I like the film for some damned reason that
I have yet to really pinpoint, but there is no doubt that you
might be begging for that 78 minutes back once it is over. HEADLESS
EYES at best reminds of a film one of my friends and I would have
tried to make. The premise is stupid, the misogyny is there and
the blood, well the blood and fake eyeballs are thankfully there
as well. That amatuer "we could do that" quality is
not necessarily a bad thing, but given that, it is hard to convince
a typical film watcher that HEADLESS EYES is good. The typical
horror fan boy would make it roughly 17 minutes into this one
before a "let's put in last week's Buffy" resonated
through the inflatable couch.
The film is somewhat uni-dimensional, you know that this obsession
just isn't going to work out, as trendy as New York art can be,
you never get the feeling that eyeballs are going to be the next
big thing. Not to mention the fact that our artist is straight,
you know he's a 70's New York arts community outsider; he has
a female love interest. I mean come on, name me a straight famous
go on, give it to me
see told ya, this
is fiction. Now had this artist been getting some sort of cool
government endowment, or he been hanging at The Factory smoking
cocks and ripping off other artists or had some old queen bank
rolling his gallery showings then Hell we might have bought in.
But this is a different sort of artiste's plight. A man absolutely
possessed by creating! A lonesome, heterosexual, eye collecting
starving artist story. Hollywood has stayed away from these stories
for some odd reason.
HEADLESS was not a success on the big screen and although it
involved an "artsy" subplot was ignored by the NYC art
clique it was mocking. But it did find a home and a modicum of
success on video with the Wizard Video release in the 80s. Wizard
had that great little come on that graced their horror titles
"Too Gory for the Silver Screen." HEADLESS EYES had
one of those video boxes that jumped off the shelf during that
period when anything horror related was guaranteed to get snagged
up at the mom and pop stores. Boy I wonder home many folks fell
asleep to poor old HEADLESS EYES, better yet, I wonder how many
people liked it?
HEADLESS EYES is filled with some rather dinner theatre caliber
dialogue much of it given via "voices in the head" nonsense.
An example of some of the highbrow scripting comes from our main
character, "What hidden secrets to you guard and shelter?
Where do you keep them? Are you sharing them now, right now? She'll
laugh at you, on the sidewalk, laugh at you!" Delivered in
the single take, "What the Hell is my motivation, Kent?"
delivery style, sometimes it is hard to even muster a laugh from
Brundin's epitaphs. The camera does travel outside to the streets
of NYC for a few shots, something you don't usually see in zero
budget movies of this ilk. Along with the outside camera setups,
it seems there was at least a thought given to soundtrack. The
music is repetitive, grating, annoying and dammit, fucking effective.
The eye killer theme, plays a little like a "No-Wave"
New York noise concerto obviously way ahead of its time. I have
read a few complaints, from the folks who have bothered to scribble
3 lines about HEADLESS EYES, of the music. Once again, they just
don't get it. It's not Goblin, and that is a good thing.
May favorite segment of HEADLESS EYES includes a news report
involving one of the victims, where a reporter, W. C. Gubbits,
is doing a "man on the street" type news story. The
victim is being carried from her home in a casket to the cemetery
as the reporter tells us
from HER house in a CASKET? Anyway,
great dialogue abounds from all the neighbors, but the best is
spewed on the screen when the Detective on the case shows up we
get a blistering exchange
Reporter: Have there been any developments
since last night?
Detective: Developments? Sure, there's been developments if
you want to call victim #14 a development. There's nothing obvious
about this guy, nothing sticks out on him.
Reporter: Are there any theories about what he's been doing
with the eyes?
Detective: Some sort of pervert, demented or something.
Another painfully enjoyable little snippet comes as the paranoid
artist begins to panic on the streets of New York, when he walks
up to an old lady on a stoop she begins to chant mockingly, "I
know who did it, I know who did it!" One of those all to
brief moments of joy buried in HEADLESS EYES. There is also a
little filmmaking backstory which involves a producer, cursing
at a screenwriter before using the casting couch on a beautiful
young starlet wannabe as she is being stalked by old Cyclops.
You know me, any jab at filmmakers gets me all giddy like a little
gal. All in all, HEADLESS EYES is made up of a few effective bits
of film weighed down by a plot that is not too well developed.
I will say this, you have to have some good old fashioned sticktoitiveness
to get through HEADLESS EYES, sack up gentlemen, it is not for
Seriously, this tortured artist thing actually seems to have
potential, but it just doesn't get moving, ever. I really wanted
his art work to start a buzz and for him to become the toast of
the town and of course have to kill and kill and kill until his
art became outré, maybe he'd never get caught, but kill
himself because he was no longer the artiste du' jour. But it
wasn't to be.
The ending of HEADLESS EYES involves a drop dead blond, a meat
locker, eye gouging, dead cows, frigid temperatures and great
music. But unfortunately it is botched, even with those prime
ingredients! Not to say it is not appropriate, it is just flawed
and could have been much better. That might be the take-home message
of this whole review "it is flawed and could have been much
better." But couldn't just about any movie you have ever
watched? Stop being so damned picky!
As our brutal artist says over and over again "I'm sorry,
I'm sorry I have to do this." But I highly recommend torturing
yourself with HEADLESS EYES. Henri Pachard fans, keep your dicks
in your pants, same goes for your Jason Bateman followers. If
you like Justine, and you happen to have naked pictures of her
please send them to me, I'll forward them to Skippy, I know he
always wanted a piece of Mals...
|You read it here.
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