Crinoline Head

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You'll Laugh So Hard You'll Lose Your Head!


Back of Box:  A fresh bunch of college students head out to a secluded lake cabin for a fun weekend.  They were looking for a party, but what they find is horror!  When one of the students, Paul (Brian Kelly, Freakshow), informs everyone of a grisly occurrence that took place at the cabin years earlier, the fun weekend turns into a bloody nightmare!  Crinoline Head is the definitive Generation X horror film, complete with a liberal dose of both comedy and absurdity!
Plot:  A group of teenagers head out to the lake for a secluded, stress free weekend getaway before college finals take over their lives.  What they don't know is that the cabin they snagged for the weekend has a rather dark past.  Fifteen years earlier an eight year old boy became stranded at that very cabin when his mother died of a heart attack.  Cut off from the outside world the boy did what he had to to stay alive, including eating his own mother.  When someone finally found the boy, he had lost his mind.  The boy refused to let go of the crinoline doll skirt his mother had been working on when she died and he even tried to stab a police officer.  They locked him up in the state mental hospital, but not for long.  When the boy was eighteen he escaped taking only the crinoline doll skirt he held so dear...they never found him.  A back story like that gets a thumbs up in my book.  I'll admit the film itself drags a lot, but the characters manage to keep it interesting until someone finally dies.  I've definitely seen worse and this one gets bonus points for being so offbeat and odd.  In my book, odd is different and different is good. 
Acting:  Before I get into the actual acting I have to comment on the script.  It's a poor script, it's clunky and, at times, a little awkward.  There are a multitude of scenes that felt forced and unnecessary, but, that being said, I think the cast did a great job.  If the script did one thing right it was making the conversations wildly entertaining.  It's not just the dialog either, it's the Valley Girl gangster dialect too (I've never heard anything quite like it in a slasher film).  Jenny (Tracey Powlas) and Bodhi (Tommy Faircloth) are the pinnacle of annoying, but utterly captivating and enjoyable at the same time because they both embodied this pseudo-NorCal persona.  Trish (Cathy Slaminko) is a total bitch but a well played one that isn't totally overbearing (Although I don't know anyone that would be that mean to a group of people they just met and had to spend the weekend with).  Robyn (Liz Taheri) and Derrick (Richard Abbott) are just boring and Cathy (Billie Fontanez) and Mark (Steven Lee), although interesting character additions, seem a little out of place.  Greg (David Garone) is a whiny hypochondriac, but he gets my 'Favorite' vote because he's the only actor that seemed truly genuine.  I feel Paul (Brian Kelly) gets too much credit, Jack Nicholson and Christian Slater can make that face too, and Cootitisha (Wayne Deloria) gets a shout out for just being plain ridiculous.  At the end of the day, though, everyone obviously had fun making this film and not taking yourself so seriously is a must when you're making a slasher film like this.
GoreBody Count (6)  This film sports a respectable body count and what it lacks in on screen brutality it surely makes up for in originality.  Sure there are a couple of staples; knife down the throat, throat slit, even getting run over by a car, but this one also has a few zingers.  Ever see someone get a whole head of celery jammed down their esophagus?  How about strangulation by sweater?  Didn't think so.  Crinoline Head even drowns a girl in a toilet filled with shit (Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers comes to mind for that one, though).  The point is that there is a lot of fun to be had here.
Suspense:  There were some creepy locations here; the woods, the canyon, the dismembered doll shack, but sadly all of them are underused.  I, personally, think it was a lighting issue.  Natural lighting usually doesn't make it easy to film a chase scene through the woods at night.  I wish it had been different because the final chase needed the woods, without it things ended too quickly and anti-climactic.
Directing:  Tommy Faircloth definitely has an eye for filmmaking.  His set-ups are great.  The still shots have a certain magnetism that draws you in with interesting angles and movement within the frame.  The moving shots are all very subtle and smooth (For the most part).  If I was going to criticize anything it would be the few scenes I saw where the staging was a little off; characters might linger in a frame too long or the time frame certain things happen in might be longer that it should be.  Only a small gripe though (Overall my viewing experiences have been more than enjoyable).
Tech:  I explained the lighting issue previously, but not only does it make the nighttime shooting more difficult it makes the daytime over-exposed and washed out.  The audio levels vary depending on the distance of the camera from the actors.  There's a good punk/alternative rock soundtrack that kept things upbeat and moving and the mood music pushed the tempo right along with it.  In the end, the lack of budget really shows here, but it was still one hell of an effort.
Other:  The first fifteen minutes before the opening credits roll are completely unnecessary, all the character introductions and character development are more than done on the car ride and the first day at the cabin.  In a perfect world those minutes would've been a Dorchester (Crinoline Head's real name, LOL!), back story flashback or at the very least a murder of some kind (Something so we don't have to wait pert near an hour before a body graces the screen).  I get that Faircloth was going for different, but that is just how I feel.  There is no nudity in this film, which I applaud because not every film needs it and the creepy doll wins bonus points.
Final Word:  I honestly enjoyed it.  It truly is a testament to no budget filmmakers and how far one can go with a camera and a crazy idea.  It's a shame it has slipped into obscurity, but I would still recommend to everyone at least once.  Take it for what it is and it might just tickle your fancy.
(VHS copies are still available and, if you're interested, check out the Crinoline Head Secrets page)


Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!