Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2011)

Directed By: Larry Blamire
Written By: Larry Blamire
Starring: Larry Blamire
  Brian Howe
  Andrew Parks
  Fay Masterton
Trail of the Screaming Forehead

I am quickly becoming an expert on Larry Blamire. Having watched three of his other films this year, I have got used to his unique style, sense of humour and delightfully playful approach to filmmaking.

For those unaware of Blamire’s work, they come in the form of such ridiculous titles as The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again and Dark and Stormy Night. These are all tongue-in-cheek, joyful pastiches of early horror / adventure films, deliberately crappy-looking, woodenly-acted, awkward and seemingly slapped together with a budget of six quid and some cellotape. In reality, they’re craftily designed, cleverly constructed pieces of work that are very very funny.

If you like Larry Blamire’s style, you’ll absolutely love Trail of the Screaming Forehead. If you hate it and everything it stands for, then there’s no point in reading this review at all…

In the small town of Longhead Bay local comedian Amos (Daniel Roebuck) finds something strange in the local woods – an alien forehead! It attacks him immediately and he becomes the first to be taken over by a race of malevolent foreheads, desperate to invade Earth and use our bodies for… our foreheads. This is the premise; the bonkers, bonkers premise.

Elsewhere in town, local brain scientists Dr. Philip Latham (Andrew Parks) and Dr. Sheila Bexter (Fay Masterton) are developing a serum that will increase the size of your forehead, and therefore your intelligence (don’t ask…). But they’ve run out of foreheads for their experiments!

Even more elsewhere in town, sailors / ship people Big Dan Frater (Brian Howe) and Dutch “The Swede” Annacrombie (Dan Conroy) have parked their boat full of frozen corpses and are looking for a place to stay.

And even more elsewhere in town, master criminal Nick Vassidine (Larry Blamire himself) and his utterly stupid floozy girlfriend Droxy (Jennifer Blaire) put two-and-two together and realise they can steal the foreheads from the corpses and sell them to the doctors! The perfect plan! – Kind of.

With love, intrigue, stupidity, a crap policeman, a terrible mutation and dozens of forehead aliens attacking the town, Larry Blamire’s latest release is utterly, utterly idiotic and very funny.

Made in 2007, this beast has taken four years to swim to the UK, but it’s well worth the wait for fans of Blamire. It is perhaps the most compelling and genuinely intriguing of Blamire’s films – the script is tight, clever, well observed and never too ridiculous to appear knowingly rubbish. It is expertly and intricately acted by a solid cast, with stellar performances from Andrew Parks and Alison Martin in particular. It is certainly better than The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, and actually works as a movie in its own right; a deliberately shonky movie, but still a compelling watch.

Having covered ‘Old Dark House’ films, black & white B-movies and “thrilling” adventure epics, Blamire’s Trail of the Screaming Forehead is a loving parody on the small-town alien invasion epics of the 1960’s. Filmed with day-glow oranges and yellows and featuring a barrel of all-American townsfolk clichés, it’s an embarrassingly accurate snap-shot of the crappy alien invasion films of the 60’s, which dramatically fell-from-grace off the coattails of classics that dominated the 1950’s. Blamire once again treats his source material with respect, but by doing so proves precisely how shoddy the original films were…

Trail of the Screaming Forehead is essential for fans and a must for newcomers to his work. It is cunningly crafted and very well executed, and even features a random cameo from Dick Miller, which is always awesome. Simply great fun and well made, this is Blamire’s best work and well worth a watch.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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