Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Headhunter (1988)

A series of deaths among the local Nigerian community awaken the mild degree of interest deaths among the poor and the black tend to awaken in Miami’s police force. Racist idiot Captain Ted Calvin (Steve Kanaly) sends out what must be his least favourite couple of detectives to solve a series of murders you’d usually build a task force for. The lucky ones are Katherine Hall (Kay Lenz) and her peculiar partner Pete Giullani (Wayne Crawford). Pete’s suffering from marriage trouble: seems as if his wife (June Chadwick) has found her lesbian self after what we can only assume to be a decade or more of horror and is throwing him out on his ass, and if you ask me why that’s going to be important for the course of the film, I surely don’t know. But then, I didn’t write the script.

But, let’s get back to the murders – as the film does from time to time too. These aren’t your run of the mill killings but rather bizarre beheadings after which the head of the victim goes missing. Because they sure as hell wouldn’t find anything out on their own, Nigerian-American shaman/lawyer Samuel Juru (Sam Williams) provides a bit of exposition and informs our heroes they are looking for some sort of demon that drove the Miami Nigerians from Nigeria. Which they of course don’t believe.

But no matter, for the demon finds himself threatened and challenged by the two worst cops in town kinda-sorta being on his case doing nothing of consequence, and starts to haunt them with hallucinations and attacks instead of letting them get on with drinking in bars, walking around town muttering nonsense, and not doing anything that could solve even the case of little Timmy’s vanished ball.

Seriously, I got nothing here. I have no idea what Francis Schaeffer’s film is supposed to be, what it’s supposed to do, or what the people involved think its plot is. About half of the film belongs to the peculiar genre of the mumbling, rambling cop film, consequently spending its time on showing our police heroes (yeah, that’s sarcasm right here) being shlubby, mumbly, and totally ineffective, investing a lot of time into Pete’s personality crisis without it having any pay-off or much connection to the supernatural plot beyond his wife and her lover becoming victims at the end. Mostly, that part of the film takes places in bars, cars, and other places where characters can mumble some nonsense at each other, and honestly, I have no idea why the film showing half of this stuff.

I have even less of an idea about the supernatural plot. There’s a demon, who might have a cult, and might do something or other even worse than beheading people we never learn anything much about, I suppose. He’s mostly an invisible wind for large parts of the film (at least those parts that are indeed concerned with him), and turns into a rubbery suit for the big tiny chainsaw against monster finale, but otherwise, I have no idea what his game is, why he feels threatened by two characters who couldn’t find their own asses, or why I should care.

If all this sounds rather vague and disconnected, welcome to Headhunter, a film that spends most of its time not actually doing anything except for being somewhat peculiar and pointless, and certainly never deigns to attempt stuff like entertaining its audience, telling a story, building up a mood beyond “huh?”, or anything you might connect with, you know, a film, and which, alas, just isn’t weird in an interesting enough way to keep one awake watching it.

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