The Amazing Screw-On Head
Few comic-book artists have as distinctive a style as Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, whose art often seems to come from an alternative universe where modern printing techniques never supplanted woodblocks, and the threat of monstrous extra-dimensional creatures makes H.P. Lovecraft stories read like reportage. In Hellboy and other projects, Mignola balances grim horror with a healthy sense of humor and a surprising amount of heart. Based on a one-off story, the 2006 pilot The Amazing Screw-On Head leans heavily on the humor, bringing in Paul Giamatti to voice the title character, an apparently ancient disembodied head who attaches himself to robotic bodies in order to fight supernatural threats for President Abraham Lincoln.
Produced for the SCI FI Channel, the series will apparently remain, like its inspiration, a memorable one-off. And that may be okay. Giamatti and David Hyde Pierce—as Screw-On Head's old friend-turned-archenemy Emperor Zombie—bring the right amount of dry wit to their roles, but some pretty obvious budget constraints squelch the fun. Pause the DVD, and any frame looks as gorgeous as a page from a Mignola book, but the herky-jerky movement never lets it build up the steam that the adventures of a zombie-fighting patriotic head really need.
Key features: An audio commentary and a standard making-of documentary pad out the 22-minute running time.