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The Amazing Screw-On Head

The Amazing Screw-On Head (2006)

August. 20,2006
| Adventure Animation Action Comedy

Based on the award-winning comic book by Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), The Amazing Screw-On Head chronicles the adventures of a Civil War-era secret agent with an extraordinary special power who serves under president Abraham Lincoln.


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I don't have all the words right now but this film is a work of art.


Excellent, Without a doubt!!


It's fun, it's light, [but] it has a hard time when its tries to get heavy.

Kaydan Christian

A terrific literary drama and character piece that shows how the process of creating art can be seen differently by those doing it and those looking at it from the outside.


"The Amazing Screw-On Head" is NOT a cartoon for everyone. It's not intended for kids or normal folks. However, if you fit into that third category, weirdos that like weird stuff (like me), then this is right up your alley! This is a cartoon that was based on a one-shot comic book from Dark Horse Comics--and the hope was that the Sci-Fi Channel would like this pilot and okay the production of an entire series. Well, not surprisingly, it was NOT picked up--mostly because it made shows like "The Oblongs" and "Archer" seem downright normal!!The film is a mission performed by Screw-On Head for President Lincoln. As for Screw-On Head, he is exactly that--a robotic head (voiced by Paul Giamatti) who can be screwed onto a variety of robotic bodies and goes on spy missions to save America. In this case, the President wants him to stop Emperor Zombie (David Hyde Pierce) from unleashing his latest evil plan--to release a demi-god from his hibernation inside a turnip. Why? Because the creature will conquer the world and Zombie is thrilled to follow up as his new sycophant. Can Screw-On Head possibly stop an undead man-servant and his new demi-god monster friend?!As you can tell in my description, this is NOT for everyone's taste! This is a very dark, gothy and funny film--particularly the wonderful dialog from Emperor Zombie!! Well worth seeing but, sadly, something I assume you'll never see more of in the future. By the way, if you get the DVD (available through Netflix), be sure to watch the excellent and informative making of featurette included on the disc.


The Amazing Screw on Head is maybe the greatest thing of all time.No, really. It might be the best thing I have ever encountered. It's got zombies and robots and vampires and werewolves and mummies and demigods and Abraham Lincoln and a freaking monkey firing a machine gun. And all of this over the course of only 22 minutes. Also, there is one scene where a villain smokes another character through a giant hookah.'Screw on Head' tells the tale of an alternate history for America. Abraham Lincoln uses the titular character to deal with secret government matters, like attacks by the evil Emperor Zombie, who coincidentally used to work as Screw on Head's first butler. After a brief set up, the series goes for total, gee whiz, super colossal, brilliant dada absurdism.I have never read anything mike Mignola before. I didn't terribly like the Hellboy film and I never saw Atlantis. However, if The Amazing Screw on Head is so good that I think I'm going to go buy the guy's back catalogue sight unseen. The animation is perfect, the line readings all inspired. Everything about this project is flawless. Unfortunately, this appears to be all she wrote. 'Screw on Head' was produced as a pilot for Sci-Fi channel, and to my knowledge, it was not picked up for series. If there is one flaw, it is that it leaves you wanting more. Also, the mouth movements don't often match the voice recordings. But, that's a minor problem that is only noticeable on the many repeat viewings that this warrants.DVD: I don't know what the MSRP is for this product, but the extras are very slim. The show is only 21 minutes and change and there is less than 20 minutes of additional features (discounting the commentary track). The cartoon is presented in both normal television and widescreen format, but occasionally the animation feels pixely in its transfer in both versions. The commentary track is amusing and an easy listen with a good balance of technical jargon and good old fashioned anecdotes. The same cannot be said for the storyboard to screen comparison which lasts for under 4 minutes. The featurette is also fairly standard with talking heads praising the cartoon.The other major extra is the alleged comic book which is not a comic book at all. Instead, it is just a collection of a few pages of character designs, a 2 page essay by Mignola on where 'Screw on Head' came from and 2 original character designs for unproduced episodes of the series.It is frustrating that some really interesting features are mentioned in the commentary track, but never materialize on the disc. Why they didn't I don't know because, as it stands, paying even 15 dollars for this DVD seems extraneous. The show is brilliant and has great rewatch value, but if you're going to be shelling out hard earned cash, you should be getting more.The Movie: 9.9/10 The DVD: 5/10for more reviews please visit www.collider.com


I was not so excited to watch The Amazing Screw-On Head because I was visiting a friend from out of town and he insisted that I sit at the computer and watch this online rather than other things we were planning to do. But I was fascinated by it. The animation, firstly, seemed like it would not draw me in, however it is perfect for the noncomformist comic tone of the cartoon. There are so many pitch-black shades of definition in the images and at times, it's as if over two thirds of the screen consists of shadows. The creatures are watered- down Gothic with a coating of the physical presence of sci-fi and anime-loving, computer- savvy quasi-Goth-dressing teenagers. The colors are never bright or positive, always swampy, antiquated, and moody. Mike Mignola's visual style is carried through motion by director Chris Prynoski, who creates a grungy little onslaught.It begins as if it were a serious cartoon, violence preparing to break out, but then there is a hilarious German accent, played very incidentally. The show progresses into a very offbeat farce with a witty, creative sense of humor that grows elementally out of the material.The material is founded by terrific comic book concept, a robotic head that screws onto compatible bodies who works as a secret agent serving under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and fighting battles that lead to points in history in completely different ways than how the nation believes. America having two histories is not something so far-fetched, and it latently satirizes the self-secrecy of this country's history.It's very troubling to think that network heads (no pun intended) didn't find this pilot worthy of a series, because there are many less intelligent and imaginative cartoon shows that have been turned into successful series, and that actually may be the reason why this show was turned down. However, in a sense, it may not be so bad that The Amazing Screw-On Head never grew beyond this twenty-two-minute passage. Perhaps the impact of such ideas that seem so fresh coming straight out of left field is greater and will stay as great rather than becoming old hat after awhile as the creators scramble to concoct more premises and build on the show's substance. The animation, like with many cartoon shows, might have scaled up the ladder to smooth, state-of-the-art, computer-assisted animation, and with a style like Mike Mignola's, it must be preserved in the grungy sketchiness that is present forever in this maintained little cartoon.


SPOILERS: Err.. OK well, it's all really made up, but a metal head that hops around and interfaces to different robot bodies, that helps Abraham Lincoln battle ancient alien technologies during the Civil War era? His arch-enemy is a zombie king whose fetish is to murder ASOH's man-servants? Just the simple fact that a metal head has a man-servant? And top voice talent to execute it all? Pure genius. Mike Mignola was an unknown to me up until this time, but not anymore, I am a follower and put him in league with Joss Whedon and Peter Jackson in talent and imagination.I accidentally stumbled across the first viewing of this on Sci-Fi when I was skimming another channel in the guide to record for the upcoming week, and the title alone made me go "hmm... sounds interesting enough to DVR", so I did. I eventually got around to watching it a few weeks later and I thought WOW! I have to DVR the series! Sadly, it was shown one more time and then nothing. I'm glad they made a DVD of it, this way I can have a copy forever.If they don't make this a full blown series then i'll have to say poppycock!