9 of the Grossest Talking heads in Film
There’s something about a disembodied talking head that just gives me the creeps. I remember learning about Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat, who was executed by guillotine in 1973. After the blade fell, the executioner’s assistant lifted her head by the hair, and slapped it on both cheeks. Eyewitnesses reported that her eyes opened, and her severed face took on an angry expression. The most famous case was conducted by a Dr Beaurieux who claims a severed head responded to him when he shouted in it’s face.
With reports of severed heads remaining conscious, it’s easy to see why film makers gravitate towards this macabre phenomenon. This gag is usually played for laughs, such as in the 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where Robin William’s King of the moon constantly loses his head (and eventually his whole body). Even Tim Burton can’t resist a good severed head joke. In his 1996 film Mars Attacks, Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker both lose their bodies, in an alien experiment. But it’s not always so clean cut (if you can forgive the pun). Decapitation is the ultimate tyranny, producing an extraordinarily compelling object that demands our attention, whether we like it or not. The sheer brutality of the act lends itself to a quite dark humour and even today we reference it such as “head will roll” and “Don’t lose your head”, both common sayings that elude to execution by be-heading. With this nasty business in mind today we are looking at those ghastly severed heads that just wont stay dead! 10 of the Grossest Talking heads in Film.
Total Recall (1990)
When Douglas Quaid has to sneak past security on Mars, he dons a rather unusually disguise, that of an overweight middle-aged woman. With a lovely orange dress and red wig, Quaid’s disguise is topped off with an exploding talking head. All is going well, until the disguise starts to malfunction, and Quaid jabs his hands into the quivering heads ear, opening the device. The wig falls off, the head splits open and a smug looking Quaid is revealed. But the heads not done yet. Quaid throws it at a guard, who diligently catches it, as the severed head lays down a one liner and explodes. It’ll take me “two weeks” to get over that one! No Surprise there!
Scary Movie (2000)
When Buffy is confronted by Ghostface in the school’s locker room, the killer bites off more than he can chew. Rather than being terrorfied by the masked killer, she goes all meta and starts to reference the typical conventions of the horror genre. Even when the killer stabs her, she belittles his lack of originality and proceeds to break her own leg so the killer can “catch” her. The scene ends with Ghostface cutting of Buffy’s head, but even a quick decapitation can’t quiet this vocal teen. “I’m a gross scary severed head” she indignantly cries as Ghostface chucks the talking mug into the lost and found bin.
Return to Oz (1985)
Princess Mombi is the dark and twisted witch that keeps a collection of severed heads in locked cases. The deranged creature is obsessed with youth and beauty and when she spots Dorothy, Mombi decides that she want her head too. But good ol’ plucky Dorothy does not let a thing like imprisonment keep her down. She breaks out of her room and sneaks into the long corridor where Mombi keeps her stolen heads. Upon opening up the case with Mombi’s original head (and stealing the Powder of Life), the sleeping bonce jumps to life, it’s eye flick open and it begins to scream, along with all the other heads. We’ve heard of “Talking Heads” but never screaming heads! That’s another level of horror entirely.
When recently deceased Barbara and Adam Maitland find that their home possessed by a Strange family, they decide to haunt their own home, to rid them of their unwanted guests. The couple start their haunting with a classic murder scene, that sees Barbara stooped over Adams, bloody, headless corpse, a knife in one hand and the severed head in the other. But as the living wont often see the dead, their actions are fruitless. Adam’s severed head realises that “this is not working out at all”.
Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)
When the dead rise once more, two bumbling grave robbers discover that stealing heads just isn’t that funny. A toxic gas cloud awakens the dead from an old cemetery, and the terrible twosome finds that the severed head they had snatch up is now alive and biting. The rotten bonce doesn’t like having items thrust into it’s head and it’s hungry for brains “for now!”
The Voices (2014)
Jerry is an upbeat man who works at a bathtub factory, and lives in a modified apartment above a bowling alley with his dog and cat, Bosco, and Mr. Whiskers. However, this schizophrenic decides to stop taking his medication and start to hallucinate. Manifesting first as good and evil via his now talking pets. Mr. Whiskers encourages Jerry’s anger and murderous intents, which leads him to accidentally killing his workplace crush Fiona. Jerry buries her body but keeps her severed head in his fridge, where she starts to speak to him. It’s not to long before other heads start to appear in the fridge. Jerry’s isolation and loneliness has made huge HEADways!
Evil Dead II (1987)
Ash Williams and his girlfriend, Linda, take a romantic vacation to a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods. However, an old book causes a terrible darkness to awake within the woods and Linda is taken by the evil. With his girlfriend now a possessed evil demon, Ash is forced to decapitate his girlfriend with a shovel and bury her near the cabin. But like any good demon or zombie, Linda “take a licking and keep on ticking”. Her possessed head attacks Ash, biting his hand and causing our jawed hero to sever his own limb. Ash plops Linda’s bloody head into a vice where she taunts him, seconds before her weirdly rotten body attacks him with a chainsaw. Damn girl … you let yourself go!
The commercial space tug Nostromo is on a return trip to Earth with a seven-member crew in stasis. They are awoken by a distress call and led to a planet where one of crew is infected with a parasite. Whilst the infected crew member survives his ordeal on the planet, he dies days later when a creature burst from his chest. This nasty Alien proceeds to polish off the crew of the ship. With the crew in danger, Science Officer Ash suddenly turns on the others and is revealed to be an android programmed to contain the Alien at all costs. The crew over power Ash and knock his droid head right off, in a spray of visceral white liquid. Smashed and ruined, his messy severed head taunts the crew before being burned to “ash”!
Genius Doctor Herbert West creates a re-agent that can reanimate the dead. This breakthrough is science is something that Dr. Hill really wants to lay claim to, and he blackmails West, when he discovers the re-agent. But west is not just a genius, but a mad one at that, and he drives the blade of the shovel through Dr. Hill’s neck, decapitating his head. With a fresh corpse at his very feet, West inject the re-agent into Hills neck, bringing the severed head to life. But Hill escapes, stealing West work. Hill experiments on other corpse even kidnaps a you girl, stripping her naked and shoving his bloody, severed head between her legs. Only a lethal dose of re-agent can stop this ghastly head! Tails you win…Heads you lose!