header Subtitle


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Header (2006)

What exactly is a "header" you're probably asking yourself?  Well without spoiling too much, let's just say it is the ultimate form of backwoods vengeance.  "It's how we do things around here, how we takes care of bidness. The only thing you can do to get proper ree-venge is by having a header!" Grandpap explains, in this outrageous gross-out based on an Edward Lee novella.  In the Bible it might purport an eye for an eye, but out here in these sticks it's a head for a head, apparently.  All I'll say in good conscience is that Bobby in Deliverance had it pretty easy, if that tells you anything.

The plot is thicker than you'd expect from such a one-trick pony.  Travis Clyde Tuckton is your average misguided country bumpkin who gets out of the pokey and returns to live with his disabled grandfather.  "Never getting to share proper in the joys of life" and plagued by the loss of his parents, Travis has questions and Grandpap has answers.  He shows his grandson the pleasures of "havin' yerself a header" and violated bodies soon start popping up, leading the law to eventually come a knockin'.

Meanwhile, in another neck of the same woods, ATF Agent Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian) is having trouble with his sick girlfriend, Kathy.  Her laundry list of medications is becoming impossible to afford and Cummings works a deal with local drug pushers to subsidize his meager income.  When this "fed on the take" catches wind of the incredible crimes he hopes to do some real detective work for a change; however, his superior discourages him from pursuing the odious offenses. "It's the law of the hills" the knowing badge insists, "Folks don't talk about it, it's just understood. Just leave it be."  But of course he doesn't.

Before the inevitable showdown goes down, we witness Travis and Grandpap subjecting various "skanky crackers" to their most unusual whims; Agent Cummings falling under FBI surveillance; and enough unsavory-ness to alarm even the poor sheep in the foothills of Kentucky.

Freshman director Archibald Flancranstin squeezes his pennies for all their worth in this low budget indie.  Header's direction is uneven, but it still moves along rather briskly.  The photography is pretty spiffy for a small production and the acting is fine aside from a few hiccups, mainly courtesy of lead Elliot Kotek as Travis.  Dick Mullaney as Grandpap steals the show and is afforded the best dialogue; albeit you almost need subtitles to fully understand what he's saying at times.  There's some gore but nothing too impressive; most of the perversity is handled off screen, but leaves no question as to what is happening.  Cameos by authors Lee and Jack Ketchum add some respectability to the adaptation, which I predict will become a cult classic in the years to come.

If you're the delicate or sensitive type you might want to steer clear of Header.  However, the entire premise is crazier than a shit-house rat, so it's hard to ever take too seriously.  The zany dialogue had me laughing out loud repeatedly and I found the whole sordid affair generally entertaining.  How can you not with kidnapping, murder, headers, shootings, masturbation, police corruption, marital infidelity and psychosis coloring the plot?

Definitely worth a gander, you owe it to yourself and your inbred kin to find out what a Header is before you or them are caught unawares.  And don't miss Grandpap's brief refrain of "Dump This Skanky Cracker In The Woods Somewhere" either - it's sure to barnstorm up the country charts at any moment.  Depraved fun from beginning to end, what can I say?

No comments:

Post a Comment