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  Meet The Hollowheads Hi Honey, I'm Homicidal
Year: 1989
Director: Thomas R. Burman
Stars: John Glover, Nancy Mette, Richard Portnow, Matt Shakman, Juliette Lewis, Joshua John Miller, Lightfield Lewis, Bobcat Goldthwait, Donovan Scott, Anne Ramsey, Logan Ramsey, Layne Britton
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Meter man with the United Umbilical corporation Henry Hollowhead (John Glover) telephones home to his wife Miriam (Nancy Mette) to tell her that his boss, Mr Crabneck (Richard Portnow), has invited himself over for dinner at their house that very evening. Miriam is thrown into a state approaching panic as she's just not ready to entertain guests, but carries on anyway, busy in the kitchen until her youngest son Billy (Matt Shakman) arrives home from school. Despite his efforts to hide it, she notices he has a black eye and puts him in an apparatus she folds out from one of the cupboards to remedy it. Then Billy's troublemaking friend Joey (Joshua John Miller) shows up - for the Hollowheads, it's going to be one of those shifts...

Legend has that when the studio that produced Meet the Hollowheads saw the finished product, they were so horrified that they barely released the film in cinemas for one week with a new title, then dumped it onto video. Watching it, it's not difficult to see why it generated such a reaction as it is very strange indeed, the creation of special effects artist Tom Burman who scripted with Lisa Morton, and what turned out to be his only film as director. It appears to be set in a weird version of the future, or perhaps a parallel universe, where everyone is obsessed with the tubes and pipes that provide just about everything for the families who live there.

Resembling a twisted sitcom from the nineteen-fifties, it takes the old cliché of the boss coming for dinner and builds up its society around this. The film is preoccupied with the everyday workings of the world it depicts, so will spend just as much time showing how the food is prepared as it does with the meal itself. The food is appropriately disgusting looking, brightly coloured and made from what comes out of the tubes, or in one instance, a tentacle that emerges from a hole in the wall and is sliced off and chopped up into pieces. Meanwhile, Billy and Joey play a target practice game which involves firing small missiles at a spinning board.

When the boys grow bored with that, Joey persuades Billy to bring in the family dog (at least I think it's a dog) so they can prise off its ticks and use them as missiles in the game, much to Miriam's displeasure when she finds out. To get the boys out of the house, she sends them on an errand and this is the only look at the outside world we are offered, such as it is. The Hollowheads' home is set in an inky black void, and the boys are warned not to get too close to the edge lest they fall off and are lost forever, although they treat this as a fiction (which they secretly believe). They end up at what looks like a factory's boiler room to order a pail of mystery liquids served up by an unfriendly, subtitled Anne Ramsey.

But that's not the worst of it, as becomes obvious when Mr Crabneck arrives for dinner. He is smarmy and sleazy and leches after both Miriam and her teenage daughter Cindy (Juliette Lewis), who is getting ready to go out, in fact he's so obnnoxious that the evening ends in violence, with some grisly makeup effects being tried out. As an exercise in fashioning a semi-satirical set-up that lampoons the worries of modern life - not being promoted at work, domestic chores getting out of hand, are your children in trouble? - Meet The Hollowheads is too wrapped up in itself to be truly effective. You may well marvel at the craftsmanship of the puppets and design, and the cast are consistent in their "shiny happy people" portrayals, but the film is only worth seeing as the kind of oddity that is occasionally thrown up by Hollywood. Music by Glenn A. Jordan.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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