Review: Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007)

Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007)

Directed by: Larry Blamire | 88 minutes | horror, comedy, science fiction | Actors: Daniel Roebuck, Susan McConnell, Fay Masterson, Andrew Parks, HM Wynant, Brian Howe, Dan Conroy, Alison Martin, Trish Geiger, Jennifer Blaire, Larry Blamire, Dick Miller, Robert Deveau, Betty Garett, James Karen, Paul Bunnell, Kevin McCarthy, Christine Romeo, Michael Schlesinger, James Swift, Shane Swift, Michael McConnohie, Chuck Williams

Aliens in the shape of human foreheads that prey on human prey… you immediately feel that a film with such an angle cannot be too serious. And indeed, right in the opening scene of ‘Trail of the Screaming Forehead’ it becomes all too clear that the approach of this production is all too humorous in nature. This is also apparent in the subsequent scenes when numerous remarkable figures, questionable developments and ditto dialogues pass by. For lovers of science fiction and/or horror classics in particular, the recognizability of the developments will quickly become apparent: the arrival of the alien foreheads, the contamination of the first villagers, the apparent emotionlessness emanating from the villagers taken over, the gradual spread of the danger, the alien threat that is slowly being recognised, the disbelief or opposition of the local authorities and further events… these are more or less traditional developments that will make the lovers of the classics a little brighter. And with the cameo of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ Kevin McCarthy, the conclusion is that this film is a humorous tribute to the science fiction/horror classics of the 1950s, which centered on alien invasions of small and secluded village communities.

What is at least as noticeable is the success of the situations and events depicted and that it continues to fascinate from start to finish. Because the village is filled with all kinds of unusual figures, because of the way they interact with each other and because of the vicissitudes they get into at the hands of the aliens. And not least because of the dialogues that are conducted there. Director Blamire has effectively laced his film with humor. It leads to the most nonsensical scenes, statements, conversations and pseudo-scientific nonsense. At times perhaps a bit too exaggerated and almost corny, but with the humor he has applied throughout the story, director Blamire succeeds in turning his film into a successful science fiction/horror comedy.

The approach of the film, the constantly present humor and the total nonsense that passes by means that it never gets scary, even though just about the entire village is taken over by the alien foreheads and the heroes in the story have to go all out against add them. And exciting? Yes. Admittedly no tension of the nail-biting kind, but in the sense that the attention is held without effort and one can empathize with the various main characters. All the more so since several of them are also taken over by the alien foreheads and the question is increasingly whether and how the alien visitors can still be stopped. The disadvantage is perhaps the predictability of the main lines in the story. For the connoisseurs of classics, several developments will not present many surprises. On the other hand, the recognizability is also part of the charm of this film, and for the laymen in the genre it will not be a problem anyway. In addition, Blamire has also included the necessary original and creative finds and nonsensical plot twists in the story to keep it surprising enough.

Appropriately exaggerated acting by this and that. Entirely in the style and atmosphere that characterizes this film and makes it appear successful. With quite a few notable performances. Most notable are director Blamire himself as the ambitious cafe owner Nick and Jennifer Blair as his bored and sexy girlfriend Droxy. In addition, good work by Dan Conroy and Brian Howe who, like the sailors Dutch Annacrombie and Big Dan Frater, partly steal the show with their nonsensical statements and dialogues and their equally nonsensical laughter. Also neat work by Alison Martin as the librarian Millie Healey who fights the alien foreheads with the sailors. Without exception, the other actors also put their best foot forward. And the curious traits and traits exhibited by some of the villagers, and the obvious delight with which the actors and actresses shape them, add to the entertainment of this film once again.

In terms of special effects, things are nice, although not too sophisticated or groundbreaking. But that, too, is part of the film’s appeal. Nicely done are in any case the scene in which an alien forehead is talking and the scenes in which the foreheads move crawling. Also, in keeping with the classics to which this film pays tribute, no more gory situations. So much the better, this production doesn’t need that either and it would have been more out of place than appropriate. What matters is that director Blamire has delivered a successful humorous tribute to the science fiction/horror classics of yesteryear with his approach and all the nonsense he lets by, and with a title song that is as catchy as it is nonsensical.

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