JANUARY 4, 2010
Back when Ransom came out, I remember people getting all pissed off that some reviews noted that Gary Sinise’s character was the villain, because the ads didn’t give that part away (even though it’s “revealed” in the film’s first act). Likewise, I’ve been told not to “spoil” what exactly a Header is, because it’s supposed to be a big surprise when you see the movie. So I won’t, but I will say this - don’t expect to be kept in the dark too long, because the movie tells you what a header is within minutes of its first mention.
And that kind of bummed me out, because it’s built up to be this huge reveal in the stuff I’ve read about the movie (such as the “Rue Morgue” article), and I wouldn’t have minded a little more of a mystery to it. Like the victims of headers are found, and the cops are like “what the fuck is happening?” and then they catch someone in the act maybe at the end of the second act. But no, it’s all digital, but in general terms, we know before the end of the first reel. Bummer.
Besides the script’s impatience, my only other real issue with the movie is that it was kind of sloppy, and being on a digital format, I don’t see why these issues couldn’t have been corrected. Light will go from overly bright to overcast (and back and forth) during a scene on several occasions, and there are an inordinate number of shots that are clearly just zoomed in versions of previously-seen angles. Digital doesn’t look all that great as it is, why make it look worse by zooming in on a shot with your NLE instead of just re-shooting it properly if you forgot to get a closeup on the day (which seems to be the usual cause for these shots)? It’s not like the star of the movie is Tom Hanks and you can’t get him back, the dude was probably just the director’s buddy.
Otherwise, it’s a wonderfully offbeat little movie, with almost zero sympathetic characters (the closest we get to one turns out to be a drug addicted whore) and a gleeful approach to deviant sex and all purpose hick-ery. Our “hero” is a guy who masturbates by the side of the road because his wife can’t perform (she is sick), one of our villains is a footless shoemaker (he’s also toothless, and I must admit I didn’t understand half of what he was saying, though it’s all quite charmingly terrible), and, well, if you know what a header is already, then: the movie has about a half dozen headers. And not always on women. In short, it’s the most glorious depiction of sex-crazed rednecks since Bloodlines.
The disc’s only extras are a bunch of interviews with key talent from the film, as well as Jack Ketchum, whose interview I couldn’t even finish because I can’t stand listening to the guy. The only one that I enjoyed was the director (Archibald Flancranstin - this has to be a pseudonym, right? The only thing that comes up for the name “Flancranstin” on Google is about this guy/movie), because it was the shortest. The one on the effects is good too, because it has a few participants, isn’t shot in a static angle of the guy in front of some trees, and inadvertently reveals how long the film has been on the shelf (one of the guys says that he got the job because the original guy went off to do Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, which would be in 2003 as the film came out early in 2004). You also learn that the brain matter is hog meat mixed with macaroni salad, which sounds delicious to me, personally.
What say you?