Header (V)

What’s a Header? Search the deep recesses of your constitution. Do you really think for one second that you can fathom the frightening reality that comes with the answer to that question?

What’s a Header? You’ll wish you never knew.

ATF agent Stewart Cummings’ (Jake Suffain) little world is about to come crashing in around him. Passed over time and again for promotion and saddled with a severely nasty boss and an increasingly frail girlfriend, Cummings is about to be caught up in a twisted nightmare of boondocks bloodshed, as he is drawn into a series of gruesome murders. On the surface Cummings seems to have it all figured out, but like so many other tragic figures, he is utterly unable to comprehend his dreadful descent into madness and the horrific reality that is the Header.

Cult author Edward Lee’s classic novella gets the grand treatment from a group of filmmakers who clearly have a deep seeded love for the grotesque. In Header, Lee’s hellacious creations inhabit some kind of surrealistic backwater version of a deranged Jim Thompson pulp novel. In what would seem almost impossible, Director Archibald Flancranstin has captured the grit and twisted humor of Lee’s work almost effortlessly. So few horror authors are as immediately identifiable with their work as Ed Lee, so by enlisting the man himself and fellow hardcore horror scribe Jack Ketchum for cameo appearances in the film further lends an unqualified stamp of approval to the visual interpretation of one of fringe horrordom’s most polarizing purveyors.

To tell of what transpires within the frames that pass before us would surely diminish the almost nauseating experience for the uninitiated, but suffice to say, fans of Lee will hardly be able to contain their devilish glee at seeing their darkest dreams revealed in daylight delight for the better part of 80 minutes.

Guaranteed to have you gouging your own eyes out before you have time to blink, Header is easily the most disturbing film of the year – but not because of the lurid subject matter. Certainly more graphic and sexually explicit films have come along in the recent past. But fodder like Slaughter Disc and their carnal contemporaries are making up for lack of storyline with an excess of extreme plot device. Few of them will ever hold a candle to the general unease that the team behind Header achieves with mostly implied imagery. Now, I’m hardly saying that Header goes on without the unholy trinity of blood, breasts and brutal butchery, I’m simply noting that what is shown on screen, in the film, is not perpetrated in the “excess is best” pornographic sense of overkill – perhaps I’m just jaded.

It is a given truth that what exists in our own minds, when we visualize the written word is infinitely more disturbing that what ultimately ends up flickering over our heads in some darkened theater, but Header is one of those great exceptions to the rule and much credit is due the filmmakers behind this release, which while not pure cinematic perfection still exhibits moments of sheer brilliance. If you know the source, you know what to expect. If you’ve passed happily through life on a series of Stephen King novels your world is about to get a hell of a lot sicker – and that is the most exciting thing about getting a Header.

Official Score