Movie Magazine

Headbanger Special Report

By Mad Professor Mike

Pleasures of Cinematic Decapitation

Hello, America!! This is Mad Prof. Mike with the Headbanger Movie Pleasures Capsule! It's because of an unresolved crisis of the Cartesian Mind/Body Paradox that there are few things I enjoy more than a good cinematic decapitation. There's something sooooo satisfying about seeing a head go flying off a pair of shoulders. Decapitation was a common theme in Robert Bloch's stories, and he even wrote a cool story ("The Closer of the Way") about his own fascination with decapitation that ended with him--Robert Bloch written by Robert Bloch as a fictional character--decapitating his shrink. Neato!

In light of this, I'd like to list some of my favorite movie beheadings.

In John Frankenheimer's 1979 giant mutant bear movie, PROPHECY--not to be confused with the Christopher Walken flick--an injured guy is strapped in an overturned jeep as the big bad monster steps in front of the camera. We hear some really delightful sounds, sort of like those made by an impatient kid crunching his way into the center of a Tootsie Pop. The monster steps out of frame, and the guy is headless. Ahhhh! Sweet!

Lest we forget 1976's THE OMEN, where David Warner's noggin is shown tumbling along that sheet of glass from every possible angle in slow motion, then *again* at regular speed. Or how about Werner Herzog's AGUIRRE, where Klaus *Kinki* zings off that Conquistador's hat holder, helmet and all? No one does decapitations better than Dario Argento. Two of my favorites.... There's a scene in PHENOMENA where it looks like Jennifer Connelly is about to be saved by a nice man who runs toward her, arms lovingly extended, only to get his neck whacked by the psycho killer who's standing *just* out of frame. In TRAUMA, Piper Laurie gets decapitated with a look on her face not of fear, not of anger or surprise, but annoyance. As if it's just a big *PAIN IN THE NECK*. Get it?

And surely one of the best beheadings is not in a Horror movie at all, but in Russ Meyer's 1970 epic, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, when she-male Z-Man dresses up like SuperWoman, takes a sword and core's Michael Blodgett's Adam's Apple. GROOOOOOVY, MAAAAAN! The hippie aesthetic meets De Sade! I LOVE THE MOVIES! With the Headbanger Movie Pleasures Capsule, I'm Mad Prof. Mike for Movie Magazine.

© 1995 - Michael Marano - Air Date: 9/6/95

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