Blu-ray Movie Review – Head of the Family (1996)

Head of the Family
Directed by Charles Band (as Robert Talbot)
Courtesy of Full Moon Features
Original Year of Release: 1996
Blu-ray Release Date: December 20, 2016

I simply cannot get enough of Full Moon’s films. I swear, every time I watch a new one, I gain more and more respect for Charles Band. Sure, many of their movies are cheesy, but that’s part of what makes them so much fun. And when you consider the small budgets Band worked with on many of these films, it makes them even more so enjoyable.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY is a 1996 horror comedy from Full Moon that was recently given Blu-ray treatment. I had never seen the film prior to this release, but I’m glad I decided to give it a look. It is low-budget fare full of gross humor and even grosser visuals, but it is wildly entertaining and a lot of fun.

If you are not familiar with HEAD OF THE FAMILY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Full Moon Features:

Something’s twisted in Nob Hollow. In the midst of a torrid affair with Loretta, a biker’s wife, Lance discovers that the tiny town’s weirdest residents, the Stackpoole family, have been doing some hideous human experiments in the bowels of their basement. Lance blackmails Myron Stackpoole (the “Head of the Family”) and his psychically controlled siblings into murdering Loretta’s husband, but Lance soon finds that he’s way in over his head. Join Myron and his creepy clan in their dysfunctional, disfigured den of demented decadence for an abnormally good time.

I have to confess: I think I enjoyed this film more than Frank Henenlotter’s BASKET CASE. Granted, they don’t have the exact same premise, but I found them similar in nature. Band’s HEAD OF THE FAMILY is more tongue-in-cheek, which made it more fun to watch for me.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY is shot well and looks good onscreen, thanks to the HD transfer. The picture is a bit grainy in places, but I don’t know what the DVD versions looked like therefore I cannot tell how much of a change has occurred. Still, the graininess is not enough to detract from the film experience. The sound is great and works well in surround-sound.

The acting is cheesy and low brow, like many lower budget films, but it’s perfectly acceptable for this one. In fact, it helps to amp up the cheesy factor, which in turn makes the laughs even better. Ex-soft porn star Jacqueline Lovell does a decent job as Lorretta, although she’s the only notable name in the cast.

The special effects in HEAD OF THE FAMILY are surprisingly good. They’re not in league with AVATAR, but they certainly stand up to Band’s high standards set with films like PUPPET MASTER. I like the overall look to the “head”, as he comes across as creepy and funny at the same time. This creates an uncomfortable atmosphere where the laughs help keep the viewer at ease.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY is a big win for me, and it’s another feather in Full Moon’s cap. If you’re new to Full Moon Films, take the plunge and jump in with this one. And if you’re a Full Moon vet (like me), this film will be a welcome addition to your collection. The Blu-ray is available now.


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