HeaderDirected by: Archibald Flancranstin
Starring: Jake Suffian, Elliot V. Kotek, Dick Mullaney

“If there’s one thing I don’t need it’s a bone splinter sliding into my dick meat.”

a very new convert to the writings of Edward Lee. It’s only been in the
last year that I’ve been actively going after the man’s work. See, I’d
heard of him before, but he’s not exactly the easiest author to find.
Most of his books are talked about like ghost stories, with people
reminiscing about disgusting tale they’ve heard about from a friend of
a friend.

With the way his books thrive on sexual violence, I
never figured there would be a good adaptation of his work. Shit, even
his short story Grub Girl was
made into a film, but it was pretty much just a hardcore porn movie
with some corpse makeup on Brittney Skye. Not that there’s anything
wrong with that.

But Header manages to change everything around. This is the way an Ed Lee adaptation should be done.

“An eye for an eye, and…”

Agent Stewart Cummings is a little sick of his job. He spends his days
trying to bust moonshine stills and stop drug traffickers traveling
around his West Virginian town
but this big city boy ain’t cut out for the south. Making matters worse
is the fact that his wife is very sick and bedridden, forcing Stewart
to pay exorbitant amounts of money for medicine to keep her going. It’s
at almost $350 a month, and rising. Guess Feds don’t get health
insurance in the south…

a convicted felon called Travis Clyde Tuckton is on his way home from
jail. Skipping out on parole he goes over to his “Grandpap” who lives
in a shack in the woods. Old Grandpap Jake lost his legs to diabetes in
the years that his grandson’s been gone, and spends his time as a
shoemaker, fixing the local’s boots and such.

tells him a few funny stories from jail (like when he stabbed that guy
in the eye who tried to cornhole him) and is soon back to old tricks.
But Travis, see, he’s pissed. He’s missed out on time with his
relatives who are mostly long gone, and wants vengeance on the other
families who did his wrong.

Jesus is back, and this time he’s not fucking around.

Grandpap tells him that there’s only one thing to do if he wants to get real vengeance. That’s a header.

not going to ruin what a header is for you, since I already knew going
into it and might have been more mortified if I didn’t. But let’s just
say that it’s beyond disgusting. It’s violent and sexual and probably
the worst thing you could ever think of doing to someone.

the way, we find out that Stewart is on the take, allowing moonshiners
to hide their stills in exchange for a kickback. That medicine don’t
pay for itself, after all. His superiors are upset with him when they
he starts meddling in a bunch of strange murders that start
happening… women found dead with pieces of their skulls missing…

of course all comes together in a climax (like how I did that) that’s
both disturbing and funny, in true Edward Lee fashion.

That’s the best thing about this film. I haven’t read Header
(which has been out of print practically since it was released in 1995)
but you can tell from the movie that this is straight Lee material.
It’s incredibly sick at parts, but at the same time there’s a line of
dark, dark humor that threads throughout the whole tale. Those of you
with a morbid sense of humor will be rolling throughout parts of this,
especially with Grandpap (Dick Mullaney) who is absolutely hysterical
and keeps throwing out classic lines (“You ain’t worth two squirts of
piss from a dead dogs dick!”)

“Hump it! Hump it! Hump it!”

gore is nicely done here and will have the more squeamish of you
squirming, or at least laughing and groaning at the same time. You
haven’t seen what goes on in this film yet, though.

There’s also a great cameo by Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum (The Girl Next Door),
who play a couple of cops who stumble upon one of the bodies. Lee
himself loves the film and calls it a “shockingly faithful adaptation”,
high praise from the original author. That’s just one example of the
many inside jokes in the film.

bad? Well, the lead is actually the weakest part. Stewart (Jake
Suffian) is just too whiny in the part and doesn’t come off as the
tortured soul he should. The man’s killing himself and his soul trying
to help the woman he loves, but unfortunately is played as an
unsympathetic character due to his performance. The “bad guys” (they’re
all pretty bad here) are much more engaging and fun to hang around
with, even as they do bad things to young women. So it’s good that the
film focuses much more on them.

All in all though, Header is
an excellent film that’s probably never going to get the distribution
it deserves due to its extreme subject matter. Let’s hope I’m wrong,
cause this one has cult written all over it.

8.5 out of 10

1 stabbed eye
2 amputated legs
4 exposed brains
2 fists to women’s grills
1 nicely sliced head meat
Sloppy seconds
Multiple gunshots
2 blown kneecaps

Make sure to check out their official site at http://www.whatsaheader.com or their myspace page over here
to keep up to date on this one, and hope it gets picked up soon. If you
want a copy of the book, try checking ebay and be prepared to spend
$100+. This really needs a re-release.

Grandpap just had the time of his life.