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MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS (1989).

Barely remembered, this sci-fi/comedy attempts to cross FATHER KNOWS BEST with BRAZIL, and is one of the most bizarre pics of all time (not successful, mind you -- but certainly bizarre). Directed and co-written by special effects wiz Tom Burman, it offers up a futuristic vision that mixes unfathomable technology, slimy creatures and pitch black humor within the framework of your typical domestic sitcom. John Glover plays the unflappable father, Henry Hollowhead, who works at United Umbilical, while Mom (Nancy Mette) spends the day preparing a sumptuously disgusting dinner for hubbie's sadistic boss, Mr. Crabneck (Richard Portnow). Her "special" treat is a thick, raw slice of a toad-like creature, wrapped in pre-processed dough. Their youngest son, Billy, hangs out with a trouble-making friend (the ever-creepy Joshua Miller, best remembered from RIVER'S EDGE and NEAR DARK); older brother Bud plays an instrument that has a chicken-like creature strapped to it; and a pre-stardom Juliette Lewis is 14-year-old daughter Cindy, who sports a hot pink baby doll dress and misuses "softening jelly." On top of all that, everything in sight is made out of umbilical tubing, from phones to kitchen utensils. There's a tank in the living room, housing a pile of tentacles connected to an ever-watchful eyeball. And feeding grandpa involves a gigantic, hypodermic-like pump. Confused? You aren't the only one. This movie plunges the viewer into a totally alien household, and doesn't explain a damned thing. Of course, a few items are best left in the dark, like getting "hopped up on butt polish." In terms of gorgeously offbeat production design, this comes off like "Pee Wee Herman's BLADE RUNNER". Unfortunately, although it's unquestionable outrageous, little of it is funny. A weird and wonderful cinematic misfire, alternately repulsive and ridiculous, it features appearances by THE GOONIES' Anne Ramsey (in her final film), Donovan Scott, plus Bobcat Goldthwait as a cop -- and, you know, it's probably the only film in history that could make Bobcat look comparatively normal.

© 1995 by Steven Puchalski.