Headhunter (1988) *1/2
D: Francis Schaeffer
C: Wayne Crawford, Kay Lenz, Steve Kanaly, June Chadwick, John Fatooh
P: Two police detectives in Miami are assigned to a series of bizarre murders involving Nigerian refugees who are being decapitated by what they claim to be a Headhunter, a shape shifting demon that kills those that have betrayed their Nigerian origins or anyone that stands in the demon's way.
With a story that involves lesbianism, possession, racism, voodoo, a demon that chops off people's heads and a police detective that goes mano a mano with said demon while wielding a chainsaw, you would think that Headhunter had all the ingredients to be an interesting film. Unfortunately, the film puts most of its emphasis on a police procedural story, involving Crawford and Lenz, that ends up being the film's least interesting aspect.
In one ingenious scene, one of the refugee's thinks that the key to their survival is converting to Christianity. While being Baptized, said refugee is decapitated. In another clever move, when Crawford finds out the key to killing off the demon is to chop it up limb for limb, instead of facing off against the demon with his trusty gun (as is the case with most horror films), he runs to the hardware store to buy a chainsaw, so he can cut up said demon limb for limb.
What I'm getting at, is that Headhunter has some interesting story elements and some clever ideas, but there all lost in translation as they take a backseat to a boring procedural. Headhunter has the type of villain that is franchise worthy and a story that lends itself to something that could have been a cult classic, but the overall script loses hindsight of what could have made this a unique film and in the process Headhunter became just another forgettable direct to video film that sat on store shelves. [R] 89 mins.
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