Plot: Pete (Wayne Crawford) is a police detective with some real problems, not to mention a wild, unrestrained temper. His wife has left him for another woman, but he doesn’t have time to dwell on that loss, as a series of brutal murders demands his immediate attention. While Pete runs hot, his partner Katherine (Kay Lenz) is more level headed, so she helps keep him balanced…or at least tries. The two investigate the recent murders, which involve Nigerian immigrants being decapitated. The two even consult a local expert on the supernatural, as the deaths seem to be ritualistic in nature and have loose ties to a local religious sect. Has a dark presence follows these immigrants from Nigeria, or is this just the work of a brutal serial killer? And can Pete keep himself from flying off the handle every five minutes?
Entertainment Value: Headhunter might not be an 80s genre classic, but it is a wild ass movie that horror fans should appreciate. I have to start off with Wayne Crawford’s performance, as it drives the movie and is a true tour de force of wild, over the top thespianism. The movie has a slow pace at times, but Crawford ensures things never feel dull, as his outbursts and random comments always entertain. Even routine scenes have a vibe of unpredictability, but Crawford really shines when things have gone off the deep end. Kay Lenz is fun to watch as well, while June Chadwick has brief, but memorable screen time. The narrative is thin, but does what it needs to do and allows for ample wackiness and hijinks. I do think the pace is on the slow side at times, but it isn’t too bad and nutty moments roll in on a consistent schedule. But you need to appreciate the craziness to really appreciate Headhunter and of course, some genre fans prefer a more stable, traditional approach. But if you like the wilder, random side of the genre, this one provides that in substantial doses. The craziness ramps up as the movie progresses, then barrels into mind boggling territory during the finale, where things flip totally out of control all around. I had a blast with Headhunter if you’re a fan of oddball 80s horror, you should give it a spin.
A number of topless native women are presented, but that’s all the nakedness. The blood quotient is low as well, though we do have an exploding head, blood soaked bodies, and severed heads, as well as some interesting makeup effects. I loved the creature effects as well, so over the top and fun to watch. But while the movie doesn’t boast a lot of sleaze or gore, it compensates in the other two departments. The dialogue is a consistent parade of ridiculous lines, sudden outbursts, and memorable exchanges, especially when Crawford is involved. Some of the lines seem random, but that just adds to the fun, while drama and dysfunction are also strong elements here. Crawford’s speech about him pissing on the Wicked Witch of the West is a highlight, but honestly, his performance is packed with memorable and quotable lines. The entire movie feels odd, but it really escalates the close to the finale things become. So a consistent flow of offbeat, strange things, capped off by a mind melting series of scenes to close it out. The finale is by far the wildest part of the movie, but the strange river baptism sequence has to be up there, just nuttiness by the truckloads here.
Overall Insanity: 8/10
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