A Remake Chronicles Extra by Adam-Troy Castro
I have encountered a strange movie, 1989’s Meet the Hollowheads, which is actually pretty goddamned bad but which for sheer weirdness of conception everybody seeing these words needs to investigate and watch, if only the first twenty minutes or so. I couldn’t turn the fuckin’ thing off, despite its awfulness; it’s one of those movies where the fascination is that got made at all.
Meet the Hollowheads is a strange parody of a 1950s sitcom, except that the family lives in a nightmare environment at the center of the Earth, and the family’s idea of comforting normalcy is downright grotesque to our eyes. For instance, the after-school snack Mom makes for her son and his best friend consists of a squirming kind of mutant cockroach that she cuts into fourths, wraps in a kind of bready substance that unspools from a toilet paper roll, and smears with a plegmy white paste. The kids are delighted to get it. The dinner she prepares is a kind of horrifically grasping tentacle that emerges from a tube on the wall and tries to grab her before she amputates it and cuts it into slices.
There’s more: telephones are corrugated tubing. The family “dog” is a hideous canine parody so infested with ticks that the kids delight in pulling them off and using them as slingshot ammunition. All food staples are pumped into the house through pipes from an industrial facility ruled by Throw Momma From The Train’s Anne Ramsey. Another family pet, unremarked-upon by anybody, is an eyeball that pops out of what looks like a mound of intestines and reacts to react to every momentary development. On an errand “outside,” we learn that the family dwells in absolute darkness and that much is made of the dangers of “falling over the edge.” Nor is the movie content to show us a few manifestations of the strangeness and then move on; no, a new incredibly bizarre wrinkle must occur every thirty seconds or so.
The plot has something to do with family Dad John Glover bringing his typically stern Mr. Slate-like boss home for dinner, and Mom struggling to get everything ready in time, while daughter Juliette Lewis prepares for a big date. The boss is a leering sexual predator in a purple suit, whose every movement is accompanied by a lion’s roar. In the end, they strap him in a chair in the basement, for the rest of his life, and feed him with green glop from a hypodermic.
I repeat, it ain’t a good movie. A sequence where the Lewis character primps for her date, trying on weirder and weirder outfits while the editing goes into montage mode, is particularly awful. But it is not a dull bad movie, either. Anything that makes my jaw drop that much in the first forty minutes (before the lateness of the hour intruded and I had to go to bed), just because I could not believe the small industrial enterprise that went into making it, cannot POSSIBLY be all bad.
Recommended? Well, not quite. But it is the kind of movie you need to watch with your strangest and wittiest friends.