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Head Trauma
Head Trauma
Actors: Vince Mola, Jamil A.C. Mangan, Mary Monahan, Meryl Lynn Brown, Brandee Sanders
Director: Lance Weiler
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     1hr 24min

After a 20 year absence, drifter George Walker, returns home to settle his grandmother's estate. As if awakening from a long dream, he finds his childhood home condemned and littered with the remnants of squatters. In the ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vince Mola, Jamil A.C. Mangan, Mary Monahan, Meryl Lynn Brown, Brandee Sanders
Director: Lance Weiler
Creators: Josh Cramer, Sam Levy, Lance Weiler, John Stefanic, Brian Majeska
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Heretic Films
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/26/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The New Carnival of Souls
Nick Tropiano | Havertown, PA United States | 10/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one terrific, well-crafted little horror entry. If you are a true fan of horror films definately check this one out. This is especially true if you're a fan of "old school" Mario Bava, have seen the original Haunting of Hill House, and couldn't resist picking up Carnival of Souls for $8.00 at the DVD bin at the supermarket. This film pays attention to atmosphere like no film since the days of Mario Bava. In no other film since Hill House has the house itself truly become a character, and in no film since Carnival of Souls has a horror film more effectively straddled the line between surrealism and realism or kept you guessing throughout without frustrating you. Head Trauma is a successful fusion of all these elements - Bavaesque atmosphere, Carnival of Souls real/surrealism, and with a "prop" that takes on a life of its own like Hill House. But it's no rehash, Head Trauma is truly an original in its own right.

I would liken Head Trauma most to Carnival of Souls, the surreal no-budget early-60's cult classic made with a local cast of unknowns Like Carnival of Souls, Head Trauma displays a quality that belies its budget, displays shoestring resoucefulness in spades, and is more original and imaginative than the last ten major horror releases combined. I like Carnival of Souls - a lot. And I like Head Trauma for the same reasons. Both Head Trauma and Carnival of Souls are centered around loner types tormented by a demon figure. Both films are simultaneously waking dreams and a mystery. Both somehow successfully fuse experimental technique with realism. And both films use the media on which they were shot - grainy high speed low-contrast black and white film for Carnival of Souls, and in the case of Head Trauma, digital video, to their advantage. Also, both films feature excellent performances by skilled but unknown actors. At no point is the illusion broken by thinking "poor Johnny Depp". We know these people and the neighborhood they reside. No beauty queens, no dashing hunky stars, no cliched heros or villiams - real people, in a real setting, placed in an entirely believable context result in an illustion that absorbs without distraction, never asks for excessive latitude, nor ever slips into camp or unbelievability. Set against a highly believable "everyday" backdrop, the horror has far more impact than the ineffective excesses of uncreative, unoriginal, unbelievable, slasher films like those featuring recognizable professional wrestlers as villians. The time of Halloween rip-offs and cannibal zombie films has long since ended. It's high-time that a filmmaker with vision ala George Romano, ala John Carpenter, came along and breathed some life into this genre. And usually these films that re-invigorate horror come out of nowhere, and are shot on a shoestring. The pattern is they don't "get their due" upon release, but like any monster worth its salt(?), they never seem to die. Word of mouth spreads, and the hype they receive isn't "hype", rather, it's sincere praise that "hype" tries to mimic with million dollar PR campaigns. What I'm saying is Head Trauma is "the real deal". It's a film you "tuck away" for repeat viewings. Lend it to close friends who you're sure will give it back. A film you think about long after you've seen it. A film you revisit by replaying scenes in your mind, or by simply watching it again, outright.

Don't expect over-the-top excessive blood-letting and a huge body count. If a big body count, excessive graphic gore, standard shock cuts, and over the top violence is your bag, look elsewhere. If you are interested in a literate script, a novel and believable concept, dream-like surrealism worthy of Carl Dreyer, unnerving and subtle sense of dread, a story that grabs you as well as any well-executed mystery, and a logical uncontrived truly suprising surprise ending that neatly and logically ties things up = resolves the mystery, but doesn't try to beat you over the head, then this is your film.

The only distraction is at times the media on which this was shot - digital video, betrays the excellent work of the cinematographer and director despite best efforts. Digital video just isn't "there" yet but it's improving, especially in skilled hands. That said, these few gaffes are more than compensated for by some rich, atmospheric, and truly brooding camera work and inspired "cinematic" direction. I've not seen a film shot on DV as cinematic as Head Trauma, much of the time its indistinguishable from film, and when it's not, it's usually not distracting. However there are gaffes at times that result in fleeting but jarring distractions that breaks the cinematic flow of the film. These few scenes stand out all the moreso due to the overall excellent production values and care put into this production.

As a horror fan who has endured his share of unwatchable dreck, it's nice to stumble upon a gem from time to time. This is one of those gems. And it's these unexpected gems that makes it worth the risk and the time.

Like Carnival of Souls, I expect this film will stand the test of time, develp its own cult following, and rise above the din to take its place among the more memorable entries in the genre.

Good show."
Spooky Movie!!
Weatherman | Northeast, Pennsylvania, USA | 10/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is your good ole' spooky house movie! The house in the movie is spooky, both inside the house and outside are eerie! No special effects or big name stars. This movie is a good old fashioned spook fest that takes you from the basement to the attic of a house.

The movie was shot in spooky Scranton, PA in the upper Hill Section!"
Anthony Richards | Wash DC | 11/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i saw this movie in best buy and was attracted to the reviews on the cover...and the design so i brought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!glad i did...this movie is very scarry...and should not be watched alone at night...very creepy movie"
As good as it gets
M. Randall | Allen Park, MI | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As good as indie horror gets at least. No special effects and no known actors... ah yes my favorite kind of horror movie. Odds are you'll enjoy this one more the 2nd viewing, as things will make more sense the second time around because you now know what to look for and whats actually happening. For being a massively low budget movie you'll find great acting and an actual creepy house and "monster" so to speak. Can't really compare this one to Last Broadcast because its a whole different type of movie... indie horror fans shouldn't be disappointed though."