I have known of this film's existence for several years.  Because I'm me.  This is what I do.  1988's Headhunter has ducked my custody until just recently.  I expected it to be a supernatural slasher, the kind that the late 80's were so damn adept at cranking out with a heavy right foot.  And it was, but it surprised me with a stunted shot of suspense.  Miami detectives Pete and Kat are assigned to a bizarre homicide investigation that involves dead chickens, a missing severed head and black people.  That's right, kids.  I'm talkin' 'bout love.  I'm talkin' 'bout VOODOO!  If you think about it, "voodoo horror" is very rarely mediocre.  From Angel Heart to The Serpent and the Rainbow, this stuff is entertaining.  I even dug 2005's Venom in spite of its conspicuous lack of Oliver Reed.

Anyway, to make a long story short, our sleuths eventually come face to machete with the malefactor, an ancient...spirit thing.  That's him on the cover.  Yeah, we aren't propounded with much information, aside from a name that I couldn't begin to spell.  It's super-duper powerful, naturally.  The ambiguity is frustrating, but what really seared my septum was the fact that we don't get to see it until the last 15 minutes.  For the most part, the villain is a roving POV camera.  In one scene, he "attacks" from underwater.  We see the machete rising like a shark fin (deepest, bluest).  Admittedly, I'm cool with the killer's rubbery look.  I was reminded of The Creep from Creepshow 2, and that's never a trouble.

Those last 15 minutes I mentioned earlier?  Remember?  Back when we were happy?  They do kick ass.  The climax is actually worth the wait, which I hear is the point of a climax.  The rest of the third act is spent on building tension, and you won't believe this, but it works!  Okay, it worked on me.  I'm a little dumb.  I felt that I owed it to the movie to meet it halfway.  After all, it kept me supraliminal.  I linked you to a definition, but it doesn't even make sense.  It kept me awake!  There.  This is what I get for trying to be literate.  Um, the acting is good.  It's unbad.

No, they deserve a better analysis.  Wayne Crawford plays the world-weary cop well.  Extra kudos for nailing moments that required vulnerability.  The foxy Kay Lenz is fantastic as Kat.  These two performances must have been choppered in from an a-movie.  Production-wise, Headhunter wears the mark of an a-movie.  The cinematography is silken, the locations are eye-popping and Crawford's moustache is the real deal.  This is where I tell you that I'd recommend Headhunter on a late spring night.  In the olden days, I would say "check it out if you can find it," but in 2018, you are more than likely to find a video game commercial that isn't cinematic.  So watch it on YouTube.  If you can find it.

ADDENDUM: I fucking forgot a major selling point.  Headhunter references The Hideous Sun Demon on more than one occasion.  As a matter of palpable truth, the 1958 "creature suit" shindig plays on a television during the payoff.

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