Skulhedface (Melanie Mandl, 1994, USA)

Skulhedface, the band GWAR's second feature following Phallus in Wonderland, continues the spirit of that film albeit with a more polished edge. The film visibly has a higher budget than the former, which lends itself well to the numerous visual effects and creature makeup on display. The cinematography and visuals are also on a higher level. In contrast to the last film, Skulhedface mostly dispenses with footage of the band playing and instead focuses on them more as performers within the action of the film. That might disappoint some fans, but don't worry - the film does feature music from the band's album This Toilet Earth. It is essentially a rock opera based on this album.

The plot of the film involves a corporation (led by Jello Biafra in makeup) attempting to bribe GWAR's manager Sleazy P. Martini into selling the band out into a family-friendly group. The early 90s saw a proliferation of "gross" cartoon characters, not only the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but also animated versions of The Toxic Avenger and so on, and in fact, the film's plot was inspired by a real plan to make family-friendly versions of GWAR. Behind the scenes of the evil corporation is Skulhedface, an evil alien doctor who intends to homogenize all humanity.

The practical puppet and makeup effects of Skulhedface are the highlight of the film. The aesthetic is pure 90s MTV, so it will undoubtedly please fans of that era. There are several wild fake TV commercials interspersed throughout, all of them edgy and over-the-top. The film's finale truly has to be seen to be believed. This film captures GWAR at what was arguably the height of their popularity and aesthetic influence, and for a snapshot of a live-action gross-out comic book a la Troma look no further than Skulhedface.



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