Meet "Meet The Hollowheads"
May 1, 2011 11:45 AM   Subscribe

The Edgewise Guide To Filmmaking. Screenwriter Lisa Morton kept a diary while making the very, very strange 1989 movie Meet The Hollowheads (trailer). The low-budget sci-fi/horror/social comment/sitcom takes place in a dystopian underground suburb whose entire infrastructure, operated by monopolist corporation United Umblicial, consists of flexible tubes which carry waste, energy, and slimy and sometimes still living comestibles. The movie, the one and only directorial effort of horror FX and make-up man Tom Burman, inspires confusion and dismay in most viewers. Hollowheads stars John Glover and features a 14-year-old Juliette Lewis, her big brother Lightfield, a musical instrument made out of a live chicken, an eyeball attached to a large intestine that lives in a glass tank, and an uncredited Bobcat Goldthwait as a lascivious cop, whose few lines include "When will children learn to just say no to butt polish?"
posted by escabeche (52 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
Have got to see this movie.

P.S. The link was good too.
posted by Krazor at 12:05 PM on May 1, 2011


WTF

Also, this might have worked better as a cartoon.
posted by empath at 12:07 PM on May 1, 2011


Oh, here's a good synopsis with lots of screen captures that I missed when I made the FPP.
posted by escabeche at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just in case anyone was curious this is available on Netflix streaming.
posted by Phantomx at 12:19 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, I do not want to see that.
posted by oddman at 12:34 PM on May 1, 2011


... and I thought I was the only person to have ever seen this movie.
posted by porpoise at 12:35 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, I do want to see that.
posted by _Lasar at 12:38 PM on May 1, 2011


Juliette Lewis is basically ageless, then?
posted by adoarns at 12:41 PM on May 1, 2011


The trailer left me scared and sad.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:53 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay since this is on Netflix and i'm pretty sure none of us have seen this before, let's do a synchronized viewing/live blog tonight in this thread.

8 eastern good for everyone?
posted by empath at 12:53 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are only two movies that I've hated so much that I tried to drink myself unconscious rather than watch all the way through. This is one of them. It's nauseatingly gross, too self-consciously wacky to make fun of, and the jokes are awful. There's a 20 minute stretch in the middle where it's too dark to see what's happening. There's a creepy near-rape scene that comes out of nowhere. I've seen a lot of "worst movie ever" nominees, and I've found most of them enjoyable in some way or another, but watching Meet the Hollowheads is a truly unpleasant experience.
posted by theodolite at 1:06 PM on May 1, 2011


There are only two movies that I've hated so much that I tried to drink myself unconscious rather than watch all the way through.

What, pray tell, is the other one? I must know.

It took me two separate attempts to get through Gummo. The first time inoculated me, but I also needed some months to recover the IQ points it cost me.
posted by perspicio at 1:16 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


8 eastern good for everyone?

If you're serious, Lisa Morton has e-mail listed on her website and I'll try to nudge her into joining in. It would be like the DVD commentary track that never was!
posted by escabeche at 1:30 PM on May 1, 2011


How funny. I've always known Lisa as one of the proprietors of the Illiad Bookshop, one of Los Angeles' largest and finest used bookstores.
posted by timshel at 1:30 PM on May 1, 2011


The other one was Blue Velvet, although I like most of David Lynch's movies. As for Gummo (and its less charismatic cousin Trash Humpers, which I survived a few weeks ago), the fact that it's so in-your-face deliberately gross and awful gives me a sort of grim determination to finish, and at the end I can say "well, that was horrible, so I guess it did its job." Meet the Hollowheads is framed like an actual movie -- there's exposition and background and jokes and a story arc -- so the fact that it manages to impart the same kind of bleak nausea as Korine's video-art is sort of amazing.
posted by theodolite at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2011


The other one was Blue Velvet

Um, you realize that in the circles that go for movies like this, this is kind of like saying, "I hated that album soooooooo much, I can't think of an album I hated that much since Prince did that terrible Purple Rain," right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


She mentions in the final section that the original cut did well overseas and that the production company re-cut the film prior to US distribution. Does anyone know which version is available through Netflix? Is it even possible to find both versions and if so, has anyone had the guts/insanity/need to punish themselves enough to watch both versions?
posted by fiercekitten at 2:02 PM on May 1, 2011


If you're serious, Lisa Morton has e-mail listed on her website and I'll try to nudge her into joining in. It would be like the DVD commentary track that never was!

I'm totally serious.
posted by empath at 2:06 PM on May 1, 2011


Well kittens for breakfast, saying "I couldn't personally handle Blue Velvet, I hated it" is not the same thing as throwing down and saying it's a bad movie. I have never made it through Eraserhead all the way but I don't hate on David Lynch.
posted by Tesseractive at 2:07 PM on May 1, 2011


She mentions in the final section that the original cut did well overseas and that the production company re-cut the film prior to US distribution. Does anyone know which version is available through Netflix? Is it even possible to find both versions and if so, has anyone had the guts/insanity/need to punish themselves enough to watch both versions?

Netflix is streaming a version that their site claims is PG-13 (!), which strikes me as unlikely given the description of the film (I have not seen it), so this may be a butchered edition.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:12 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It took me two separate attempts to get through Gummo. The first time inoculated me, but I also needed some months to recover the IQ points it cost me.

Seriously though, fuck Gummo.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:39 PM on May 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holy fuck. Thanks, escabeche. This movie looks like *perfect* bad movie night awesome. Where has it been all my life?
posted by mediareport at 3:16 PM on May 1, 2011


ok, 5 pm western time, count me in for Nexflix.
posted by taxpayer at 3:39 PM on May 1, 2011


I'm with anyone in this thread who hates Gummo and/or Harmony Korine. What a waste.

This one looks on a slight notch below Gummitude, but definitely more dizzying and highly annoying than anything outside of Eraserhead.

Of course, I've also seen Trapped in the Closet, which had me deadpanning "No. No. No." at the screen like some kind of bludgeoned cinema viewer zombie.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:55 PM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, I wrote her.
posted by escabeche at 4:29 PM on May 1, 2011


I had never heard of this movie, thanks for the thread. I'm still uncertain whether I'll try to track it down and watch it.

As for Gummo, it's been a few years since I watched it but I don't remember it being that horrible or disturbing. I think I even enjoyed parts of it. Trash Humpers on the other hand, which I saw just a couple of months ago, was more or less unwatchable. At one point I wandered down to the store to pick up beer, came back and realized it was still going, but the exact same nothing was happening. Just repetitive shots of them, well, humping trash, plus that insanely annoying 'Make Make It, Don't Fake It' mantra.

Curious to now where you guys would rank movies like Holy Mountain and El Topo in this little subculture of bizarre cinema, cause I thought those were both fantastic films.
posted by mannequito at 4:39 PM on May 1, 2011


*know*
posted by mannequito at 4:39 PM on May 1, 2011


Lots of movies are bad because of poor execution, but some movies are just offensive on concept, and for that I always point to The Terror of Tiny Town. Yes, I know it isn't Gummo, or Human Centipede, or even Big Momma's House, but it still lists a major portion of the cast as "Jed Buell's Midgets," as if they were property instead of human beings. Lots of people think of it as "So bad it's funny," but I couldn't finish it. The first and only time I attended a viewing was at a friend's house and we all ended up in the kitchen while the movie played to an empty living room.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:49 PM on May 1, 2011


Okay, just started the movie.
posted by empath at 5:05 PM on May 1, 2011


That's a pretty on-the-nose rap theme song in the credits.
posted by empath at 5:09 PM on May 1, 2011


Okay, this movie is so full of WTF 10 minutes in that I don't even know where to start.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on May 1, 2011


Not a hint of a plot yet.
posted by empath at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2011


I think we just got to the part in the movie where they remembered they could just foley some of the sound... But just before some editor wished they hadn't. I mean, seriously...


By the by, there must be a few more watching it. I'm now on the second time Netflix is "optimizing" the playback. I bet Some poor 2nd shift Ops guy is looking at the server metrics and thinking... WTF
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:33 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Empath: Just so you don't think you're howling into a void here: I'm not watching the movie (no NetFlix here in Japan), but I am reading the thread, so I'm looking forward to your comments as they unfold in real-time.
posted by Bugbread at 5:36 PM on May 1, 2011


I wish I had more to say about it. It's just so random. Pulling gigantic bugs off of an animatronic dog, a Anne Ramsey mumbling so bad that they had to subtitle her (I think she was dying of throat cancer at the time). Random musical numbers from Juliette Lewis... a long mother-daughter discussion of 'softening jelly' where they never actually explain what it was.. a leering boss...

An eyeball on a stalk in the living room that they don't explain.

The main problem with the movie is that it's random and weird, but not compelling. It's just a bunch of puppet special effects and no reason to care about any of the characters.
posted by empath at 5:43 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"When the boys get a good look at you, they're going to trip over their own tubes!"
posted by empath at 5:55 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not watching in real time since I just watched it in pieces over the last few days.

I love the "softening jelly" business. The way the clothes look. The refusal to explain what everything is.
posted by escabeche at 6:03 PM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, i kind of think this really wants to be an adult swim cartoon.. it's not that much different from the Oblongs, really.
posted by empath at 6:08 PM on May 1, 2011


"If you're really good at your job, why would anyone promote you away from it?" I guess he discovered the dilbert effect before dilbert?
posted by empath at 6:09 PM on May 1, 2011


did he just get strangled by a giant penis?
posted by empath at 6:13 PM on May 1, 2011


So, nothing in the movie really led up to this. His boss just sat down to dinner, tried to rape his wife and then turned into Jason Vorhees.

This is awful.
posted by empath at 6:16 PM on May 1, 2011


Bobcat isn't doing the voice thing in this movie..
posted by empath at 6:20 PM on May 1, 2011


did he just get strangled by a giant penis?

For those not watching: yes, he did.
posted by escabeche at 6:23 PM on May 1, 2011


'hi marty!' was that implying what i thought it was?
posted by empath at 6:26 PM on May 1, 2011


What did you think it was?
posted by escabeche at 6:36 PM on May 1, 2011


I actually liked this film. But mostly because Glover is adorable in it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:54 PM on May 1, 2011


This sounds great. Too many films are wedded to normal reality.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:00 PM on May 1, 2011


For the Netflix-disabled: Anybody know of a way to obtain this? Amazon lists one VHS copy (ha).
posted by _Lasar at 3:45 AM on May 2, 2011


It's playing on the cable channel Starz, which is where I saw it.
posted by escabeche at 7:13 AM on May 2, 2011


Question... Does anyone remember "Meet the Applegates", and noticed a similarity?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:03 AM on May 3, 2011


I've stumbled into this thread a bit late but I'm gonna smack down Sex Lives Of The Potato Men... It's the Everest of bad movies. I can't really explain why because even just thinking about it again makes me feel physically sick.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 PM on May 3, 2011


... although admittedly it's not bizarro bad.... For that I'd go for Pervirella... holy shit that was bad.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:04 PM on May 3, 2011


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