Shrunken Heads (1994)

Three kids, Tommy Larson, (Aeryk Egan) Bill Turner, (Bo Sharon) and Freddie Thompson (Darris Love) live in a rough area full of gangsters and bullies. The only person who is nice to them is Mr. Sumatra, (Julius Harris) who owns a comic book stand that the three frequent. The three are also the targets of Vinnie (A.J. Damato) and his gang. Vinnie’s girlfriend Sally (Rebecca Herbst) stands up to Vinnie about the three kids, and she ends up making him irate and befriends Tommy. Vinnie goes to local mobster Big Moe (Meg Foster) to put Tommy and his friends out of business. Taking up the offer, Big Moe sets up the hit. It goes through as planned, and the three are killed. Fortunately, Mr. Sumatra is an expert voodoo practitioner and is able to raise their heads as shrunken heads. Given special powers by the voodoo, they take to clean up the streets of Vinnie’s gang. Finally learning of his treachery that got them killed by a blabbering member of the gang, (Bodhi Elfman) the three shrunken heads go out to fulfill their revenge.

The Good News: This is one of the few Full Moons that manages to incorporate several different elements and come off very good. It starts out as an urban drama, then as a gangster film, then uses voodoo to become a slasher film, and finally ends as a zombie movie. The fact that it mixes so many different kinds of films together and accurately as well as this one did. Mixing the themes as well offered it to be the first Full Moon film to have a genuine scare. When the shrunken heads have the main bad guy surrounded, he becomes panicked and tries to run, but we hear a strange noise in front of him and he looks worried. He turns around behind him and finds nothing. Then he turns back to the front of where the sound came room and again finds nothing. He then turns back and one of the shrunken heads is point blank with a grin on his face. The look of the shrunken heads was also realistically designed. They did look like they were actual shrunken heads of the three actors. The violence involved in the attacks is also something that Full Moon has had missing from several of their films. Each one of the three heads is their own personality, giving each one a weapon to help out their vengeance crusade. The make-up for the zombies towards the ending is also really frightening. Even though they are only in it for several minutes, they do look pretty garish and bloody. They are easily the highlight of the film and also provide the film with a good laugh or two.

The Bad News: Because there are so many different kinds of sub-categories, it becomes very easy to become lost in all the different shifts. One minute you are watching a gangster movie, then you are seeing a horror film, then it switches to teen romance and then goes back to gangster. All the switches can leave some people confused as they do come very rapidly and you never know where they are going to, so it does require several views until you can fully understand what the film is about.

The Final Verdict: If you can forgive all the switches in the film styles, this is actually a pretty good film. It is one of the good opening films into Full Moon films, and all fans of their films with appreciate this film with the switches and the style.