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The Amazing Screw-On Head
Directed by Chris Prynoski
Written by Mike Mignola
Starring Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Patton Oswalt
Produced by Susan Norkin
History gets badly fractured in “The Amazing Screw-On Head,” from the same guy who brought you “Hellboy,” Mike Mignola.
Somehow, President Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln has a special agent he can call on when the Forces of Evil rear their collectively ugly head, Special Agent Screw-On Head. Who is, not surprisingly, a robot. With a screw-on head. And in this case, Screw-On Head has been dispatched to stop the fiendish Emperor Zombie and his cohorts—werewolves, tommy-gun-toting monkeys, the elderly, and the queen of the vampires. They’re out to conquer the world through the occultic powers of a melon-sized jewel.
Now, if you’re somewhat like me, and God help you if you are, you might have caught this exact same episode running back when the Sci-Fi Channel was running its first disastrous season of “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”; don’t even get me started on “Feedback.” But anyway, this little gem showed up a couple times, and I was starting to wonder—start of a new series? One shot deal? What?
Consulting the comic book that comes with the video reveals that this is in fact the pilot for a TV series, but if there will be future episodes of the Amazing Screw-On Head, that’s out of my bailiwick.
Though I really hope there are…this single pilot is roaringly comic and highly unique. Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’m glad to have seen it again. In a world where the Homestead Act is merely cover so that a robot with a detachable head and threaded bolt-like neck can investigate alien technologies without drawing the notice of the Confederacy, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to what will happen here long-term. And that would make for regular surprises and a constant flow of innovation.
The special features include storyboard comparisons, a featurette on converting the comic book to a cartoon, and trailers for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles volume 6,” “The Invincible Iron Man,” and “Happily N’Ever After.”
All in all, “The Amazing Screw-On Head” was a joy to behold, packing an alarming amount of surprises into a tiny twenty-two minute package.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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