Headhunter – USA/South Africa, 1988

‘Keeping your head under stressful conditions can be difficult.’

Headhunter – aka Head Hunter – is a 1988 American/South African supernatural horror movie directed by Francis Schaeffer (Wired to Kill) from a screenplay by Len Spinelli. The movie stars Kay Lenz, Wayne Crawford, Steve Kanaly and June Chadwick.

A Miami cop is downbeat because his marriage has failed and his wife has a female lover. Meanwhile, a demon from Africa arrives among Miami’s Nigerian community and begins decapitating people and possessing others…

Reviews:

Headhunter has the foundation of a good horror movie, if only it didn’t take itself so seriously. It seems determined to be dark and atmospheric, like a low-rent Serpent and the Rainbow — an unrealistic goal when the bad guy’s wearing a hooded Halloween costume from Spencer Gifts.” Black Horror Movies

“Lenz and Crawford have decent chemistry with one another and make for likable, engaging leads. Good thing too because this is heavier on the talk than it is the action. Some scenes are tense and fairly well done (others not so much), the creature design (not seen until the last five minutes) is adequate and some of the spirit POV camerawork is pretty cool, too.” Justin McKinney, The Bloody Pit of Horror

“It’s different, it’s quite exciting and the central duo make likeable leads, even if there is a little too much of the soap opera stuff, especially at the start. It also scores kudos points for intercutting the final fight with the film that is showing, unwatched, on Hall’s TV:The Hideous Sun Demon. The plot is a tad fuzzy…” MJ Simpson, Cult films and the people who make them

“Made at the end of the Eighties, this is very much a product of its time, a wannabe video-nasty with a monster that looks like something out of Star Trek and plot holes you could drive a bus through. Probably the scariest thing about it is the acting. “I don’t know what to say,” mumbles its cop hero in one of many interminable filler scenes, which pretty much sums up the dialogue.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

” …it spends an inordinate amount of time on Pete’s domestic strife with his switch-hitting ex (Chadwick), who at least marginally fits into the story in the third act. Fortunately  it manages to rally up a memorable scene every now and then including the aforementioned “take me to the river” scene and a lively finale that really has to be seen to be believed.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

Choice dialogue:

“Life comes so damn cheap.”

Cast and characters:

  • Kay Lenz … Katherine Hall – Fear; Stripped to KillHouse
  • Wayne Crawford … Pete Giullani – Snake Island (director); The Evil BelowBarracuda (The Lucifer Project)Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things
  • Steve Kanaly … Captain Ted Calvin
  • June Chadwick … Denise Giullani
  • John Fatooh … Roger/Headhunter
  • Gordon Mulholland … Professor Robert Sinclair
  • Sam Williams … Samuel Juru
  • Helena Kriel … Murphy
  • Ted Le Plat … Detective Haynes – The Mangler
  • John Barrett … Detective #2
  • Frank Notaro … Store Clerk
  • Jim Neill … Bartender
  • Isaac Albert … Maniac
  • Robert La Thom … Houseboy
  • Al Roberts … Praying Man

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Categories: 1980s, monster movie, occult, religious horror, supernatural

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