In this hilarious send-up of Lovecraftian horror and steampunk adventure, President Abraham Lincoln's top spy is a bodyless head known only as Screw-On Head (Paul Giamatti). When arch-fiend Emperor Zombie (David Hyde Pierc... more »e) steals an artifact that will enable him to threaten all life on Earth, the task of stopping him is assigned to Screw-on Head. Fortunately, Screw-On Head is not alone on this perilous quest. He is aided by his multitalented manservant, Mr. Groin, and by his talking canine cohort, Mr. Dog. Can this unorthodox trio stop Emperor Zombie in time? Does Screw-On Head have a body awesome enough to stop the horrors that have been unleashed? Where can we get a talking dog? All these questions (O.K., maybe not that last one) are answered by the thrilling tale of The AMAZING SCREW ON HEAD! Based on the award-winning comic book by Mike Mignola, creator of HELLBOY.« less
So Preposterous, It's Genius--A Bizarre, Cutting Edge Animat
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 12/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This high concept, utterly bizarre, animated short is based on the comic book creation of Mike Mignola (best known for Hellboy). The pilot episode was produced by the Sci-Fi channel and fans were asked to vote on the fate of the show--whether or not it would be developed into a full blown series. I have never heard the results of the poll, but it's six months later and I haven't heard another peep about it. It is unfortunate, though, because the show contained much humor, intelligence, and originality. It's one of those programs that you're not likely to forget--it is so preposterous, it's practically genius.
David Hyde Pierce voices Emperor Zombie who masterminds a scheme to steal an ancient text from the Museum of Dangerous Books and Paper. Zombie employs a team that includes an artillery toting old lady, a monkey, and a werewolf (naturally) to abscond with the document that will help him destroy the world! This, of course, concerns President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln contacts his chief secret service agent--the Amazing Screw-On Head to handle the case. Screw-On, voiced by Paul Giamatti, is a brilliant robotic creation with a detachable head (in case his name didn't give it away) who is aided by his manservant Mr. Groin. Hot on Zombie's trail, Screw-On also encounters his ex-girlfriend--a vampire played by Molly Shannon.
I've said enough about the plot. By now, you either think this is the worst or the greatest idea ever. Let's just say that the show is very fun. Obviously with talented actors in the primary roles, the vocal performances are quite astute. The plot is trippy and inventive, the animation effective, and the writing is genuinely witty and irreverent. It is fine and noteworthy as a stand alone, but someday, somewhere--I hope to see more of the Amazing Screw-On Head. That just might be enough to force me to (in the words of Zombie) "make water in my pantaloons." KGHarris, 12/06."
"He was abducted by two horrible old women...and a monkey."
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 02/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now, an odd sentence like that would probably spark your interest, right? I should really be upset I spent $13 on this dvd. After all, its feature length is only 22 minutes long. But, actually, I'm pretty stoked that I now own this amazing bit of animation. THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD is the pilot that was made in hopes of a continuing television series (and I'm still hoping). THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD, based on Mike Mignola's one shot comic book effort of the same title, tells the exploits of Abraham Lincoln's robotic secret agent who unflaggingly combats the nation's occult evil. The titular character is pretty self-explanatory (but I'll explain anyway). Screw-On Head is basically a detached mechanical head with a threaded neck which can screw on any number of mechanical bodies.
The quick plot summary: The year is 1862 and Screw-On Head's undead nemesis and former manservant Emperor Zombie has ordered the Museum of Dangerous Books and Papers breached and its Expert on Ancient Evil Text kidnapped. Of course, the nasty plot involves an ancient manuscript, a vampire, a werewolf, and an entity of Lovecraftian proportions. It's up to the polybodied protagonist, his dog Mr. Dog, and his current manservant Mr. Groin to stop the fly-infested rotter and foil his scheme of world domination.
Apparently, Mike Mignola was fiddling around with a concept for a toy and arrived with Screw-On Head as the ideal action figure plaything, which then evolved into a comic book. He sure as shucks didn't expect to win the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication. But the one shot Dark Horse comic book proved to be so popular that it spawned this television pilot, drawing a top notch voice cast and a dedicated group of artists and animators who all admired Screw-On Head and made this a labor of love. Speaking of the voice cast, the textured tones of Paul Giamatti and David Hyde Pierce are simply perfect and hilarious as, respectively, the earnest Screw-On Head and the evil-for-evil's sake Emperor Zombie. Both actors, with their mellifluous tones, contribute a certain dash of cultured quality to their lines. But, hell, even the evil demi-god sounded good.
Just a bit about the special features. Not too surprisingly, they're scanty: a pretty dull audio commentary by the Director and the Writer/Executive Producer (who here used up their lifetime quotas of shout-outs), "From Comic to Cartoon": the 13-minute-long making-of featurette, and a storyboard comparison. The dvd package also comes with a handbook of design sketches. You know, come to think of it, for a 22 minute feature, the extras aren't too shabby...
The animators strove to cling to Mike Mignola's style and pulled it off marvelously, I thought. In fact, there are scenes in the show that were pulled straight out from the pages of the comic book. But Mignola's fascination with shadows and gloomily baroque renderings are captured to a T here (unlike in HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS), making for a truly atmospheric episode. These 22 minutes are jam-packed with devastating humor and off-the-wall conceits (a turnip which holds a demi-god, a victim imprisoned in a giant hookah who is then smoked, a heavy artillery-toting simian, etc.). In its bizarre sensibilities, the closest thing I can think of to match THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD is Nick Pollotta's zany yet serious book BUREAU 13: DAMNED NATION, another Civil War-era, horror/adventure product with prominent cameos by our sixteenth president. But, admittedly, for outrageous originality, it's hard to top THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD as it's truly one of the most unique things I've seen on screen. Fully recommended! "
Whacky and hilarious, just like the comic
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 02/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mike Mignola, best known for creating Hellboy, helps bring his whacky and hilarious disembodied hero to the animated screen. The Amazing Screw-On Head is not only faithful to Mignola's comic, it excells thanks to a stellar team behind it and a fantastic voice cast. Mignola served as art director, which explains why the short film looks almost exactly like the comic. The story revolves around our title hero (Paul Giamatti) called into action by President Lincoln (Corey Burton) to take on his arch nemesis Emperor Zombie (David Hyde Pierce) from unleashing an evil force upon the world. Featuring excellent animation that eminates Mignola's unique art style, quick witted dialogue, and dynamite action; Amazing Screw-On Head is a sheer, comic blast from beginning to end. Sadly though, it doesn't take long to get from beginning to end as the total time is only 22 minutes long. Yeah, it leaves you wanting more, but hopefully, more will be on the way. The excellent voice cast also features Patton Oswalt and SNL alum Molly Shannon."
The comic come to life
L. Rockhill | 02/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I usually hate comic book adaptations. The animation never lives up to the art on the page. This adaptation is truly different. It is indeed the comic book come to life. I've never seen Mignola's style (or any other artist's, for that matter) so faithfully represented on the screen. If you are a fan of the book, or a fan of Mignola's, this is a MUST HAVE for your collection. It is dynamic, moody, dark, scary and whimsical all at the same time. It expands upon the comic without changing its smart and ridiculous tone.
If you have never heard of the comic but are a fan of ridiculous, offbeat humor, this is also for you! If you like Monty Python, Chris Elliot, Mr. Show, Adult Swim or consider yourself a fan of "cult classics," you will really dig this. If you love the way anime looks, you'll love it. If your favorite sitcom is Friends, it might not be for you.
The performances are great. The art is great. The writing is smart and funny. I really can't say enough good things about it. I know I'm gushing, but something like this doesn't come around very often. Give it a chance and you'll understand what I mean."
Witness the All-Powerful...Radish?
TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 04/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Through-out the pages of picturesque fantasy, Mike Mignola has to be one of the most brilliant storytellers ever to put pen to paper. I say that because of his understanding of so many elements of what a story comprises; he has a handle on characterization, a mind that knows how to mingle mythos with a world people understand, and he has a style that people recognize and that has become a signature piece that people either love or dislike. People familiar with his work on Hellboy will immediately recognize this piece, and people familiar with Mignola's story The Screw-On Head will notice that this is simply it placed on a beautifully-conceived DVD. People who are not should know that Mignola likes to create something akin to a fairytale, add in dashes of Pulp icons and more pieces of this-and-that where to keep you on your toes and to make you laugh when you really don't expect it, and really earn the name he has been building for himself.
For anyone that has not heard of the concept on this short (notice the word short) piece, the character Screw-On Head is something of a National Security asset that keeps the States safe from things that would make a person go mad if they knew such things existed. Utilizing cutting edge technology in the time of Lincoln, Head does battle with monsters and former sidekicks and with beasts that want to enter the planes we know as sanity and introduce humanity to a world of... well, let's just say it isn't the world of plush puppies and Hello Kitty. The things encountered are rather odd, too...a black hole containing an ancient god contained within radish says a lot for what you encounter. The humor is absolutely brilliant there. The character is pretty funny, too, being a head that, well, screw on. You get the idea.
If you do not mind the length (you should know it is VERY short), see the art style and find it appealing, and just want something to entertain you because it is entertainment at its best then you should check it out. Fans of Hellboy (more the comic than the movie) should stop here for a taste and people who find articulate zombie butlers bent on killing every butler a person has afterwards as some kind of private payback joke funny should try it on as well. It really will surprise you if given a chance. "