Too weird for most tastes…but I loved it!

by Martin Hafer

The Amazing Screw-On Head is not a cartoon for everyone. It’s not intended for kids or normal folks. However, if you fit into that third category, weirdos (like me), then this is right up your alley and is a perfect addition to my “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” series!

The Amazing Screw-On Head is a cartoon that was based on a one-shot comic book from Dark Horse Comics–and the hope was that the Sci-Fi Channel would like this pilot and okay the production of an entire series. Well, not surprisingly, it was NOT picked up–mostly because at that time the strangest cartoon was probably “The Oblongs”— which seems downright normal by comparison!!  Had the show come out later on the FX Channel (home to uber-weird cartoons like Axe Cop, The Lucas Brothers and High School USA!), it might have found a home…though even there this would have been a super-bizarro cartoon!

The story is about a secret mission performed by Screw-On Head for President Lincoln. As for Screw-On Head, he is exactly that–a robotic head (voiced by Paul Giamatti) who can be screwed onto a variety of robotic bodies and goes on spy missions to save America. In this case, the President wants him to stop Emperor Zombie (David Hyde Pierce) from unleashing his latest evil plan–to release a demi-god from his hibernation inside a turnip. Why? Because the creature will conquer the world and Zombie is thrilled to become his new sycophant. Can Screw-On Head possibly stop an undead man-servant and his new demigod monster friend?!

As you can tell in my description, this is NOT for everyone’s taste–but at least it makes a lot more sense than the movie version of The Wild, Wild West! This is a very dark, gothy and funny film–particularly the wonderful dialog from Emperor Zombie!! Well worth seeing but, sadly, something I assume you’ll never see more of in the future.

If you get the DVD (available now through Netflix), be sure to watch the excellent and informative making of featurette included on the disc.  It really helps you to love and appreciate this pilot for a series that sadly was never meant to be.  But, because it was so strange, so groundbreaking and so funny, it’s still worth your time!  It also makes a wonderful cartoon to show your friends to shock them and give them a good laugh…and it’s full of wonderful, twisted humor.

Martin’s Grade: A

Director: Chris Prynoski

Stars: Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Patton Oswalt