Wednesday, March 14, 2007


It’s 1862 and a mystical parchment is stolen from the Museum of Dangerous Books and Papers by two horrible old women and a monkey.
Looks like a job for the Amazing Screw-On Head.

If I enjoyed the Hellboy animated feature Sword of Storms, then I grooved on The Amazing Screw-On Head like nobody’s business. Based on characters of Mike Mignola, who also created Hellboy, The Amazing Screw-On Head is a thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek trip that looks like an animated Mignola comic, all these strangely drawn weirdoes nattering on about darkness and evil and all that neat stuff.
With a funny and fun-filled script by Bryan Fuller (writer of the excellent but short-lived Wonderfalls, and currently on the writing team of Heroes), Screw-On Head chronicles one of the many adventures of “Head,” who battles ghoulies and beasties, much as Hellboy does.
Taking orders from Abe Lincoln himself (Corey Burton), and ably assisted by his manservant, Mr. Groin (The King of Queens’ Patton Oswalt), Screw-On Head (American Splendor’s Paul Giamatti) must face his long-time nemesis, Emperor Zombie (Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce, who supplies the voice of Abe Sapien for the live-action Hellboy, as well as that of Drix in Osmosis Jones), who has sinister designs on the free world.

The already humorous script is made even funnier by the excellent vocal performances. Giamatti, Hyde Pierce, and guest star Molly Shannon (ex-SNL regular and Kate Beckinsale’s gal pal in Serendipity; she’s the vampiress Patience here)* go all-out and bring this often ludicrous tale to uproarious life with sharp quips and pithy one-liners. (Check out the Demigod, right before a commercial break.)

Directed by Emmy-nominated Chris Prynoski (in 2000, when the brilliant Downtown—on which Prynoski was a supervising director—was up for Outstanding Animated Program), The Amazing Screw-On Head is a hoot and a half and is the irreverent sort of animated high that we should see more of.
If Hellboy is your thing, chances are, you’ll get a kick outta this one too.

* Shannon also incidentally appeared in the live action portion of Osmosis Jones as Mrs. Boyd.

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