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December 07, 2006

Headless Hero 2

headless1.jpg

Phii hua khaat 2
Komsan Treepong - 2004
Pranakorn Films Region 0 DVD

Going to a DVD/VCD rental store is something of an adventure. As I can't read Thai, I need to pick up every cover to see if there is an available title in English or a title transliterated into Western characters, plus see if the film has English subtitles. Even when I get a film that is of generally unknown quality, it is not that big a gamble when you consider that my rental cost is about half a U.S. dollar.

My sense of adventure led me to renting the DVD for a film titled Headless Hero 2. My research has not uncovered a first Headless Hero film making me wonder if somebody had the idea of selling a sequel that lacked the prequel. In any event, this is one strange, and sometimes hilarious film that merges the Thai tradition of ghost stories, with the film tradition of lesser Abbott and Costello vehicles that combined horror with slapstick.

The film begins with a couple of incompetent would be grave robbers who uncover the tomb of the Headless Corpse. Awaken from his sleep, Headless does something to one of the robbers that is best left to proctologists. The film is full of sight gags such as this with amateur rectal exams accounting for much of the humor. Headless is frequently seen with his head and body in two separate places, and one shot shown during the credit sequence at the end involves oral sex, the head giving head as it were. By some standards, this may all sound pretty tasteless, but Headless Hero 2 can inspire belly laughs when it is not simply being dumb.

The biggest problem with the film is that after a very promising beginning, the film jumps to the present-day story which turns out to be an elaborate set-up for the return of Headless. Most of the time we are watching a couple of guys who are trying to get the attention of a couple of rich girls. One of the guys is the grandson of the man who defeated Headless twenty-five years ago. The grandson invokes a magic spell that brings about a prank loving ghost. A good part of the film is devoted to the ghost creating embarrassing situations, pulling chairs from under people, causing food to fly, kind of like many of the sight gags we've all seen in other comedies involving ghosts. One of the staples of Thai humor involves a short, chubby transvestite who wants to be known as "Marilyn". She is kind of funny to see in a blonde wig with the white dress. The filmmakers also deemed her disposable as she dies in a way both gory and unnecessary to the narrative.

What works in this film is the sight of Headless, played by Toe Rae Chermyim when he bears his fangs, cackles with insane laughter, fights off guys with Thai boxing moves, or surfs through the woods on a flying log. For all of its deficiencies, there are things in Headless Horseman 2 I have never seen on film, and in some cases hope to never see again.

Posted by peter at December 7, 2006 01:54 AM

Comments

Hilarious. Some people contend that the perfect way to see a movie is knowing nothing about it but the title. You have gone that one better by barely knowing the title.

Posted by: Campaspe at December 15, 2006 07:17 PM