This animated short is
based on a comic book of the same name by Mike Mignola (best known for his
The plot involves a robot
with a detachable head known as the Amazing Screw-On Head who is in the
employ of Abraham Lincoln (yes, that Abraham Lincoln) in pre-Civil War
America. When one of Screw-On Head's previous man servants, who calls
himself Emperor Zombie, goes bad and tries to find an ancient artifact that
threatens the entire planet's existence, Screw-On Head has to stop him.
Filmed as a pilot episode
of sorts, the single episode was commissioned by the Sci-Fi Channel and
apparently viewers could vote on whether they wanted to see more of
Amazing Screw-On Head. The voting seemingly didn't go well: in the six
months or so since the show's original broadcast there has been no word on
whether the Sci-Fi Channel would commission an entire series.
So don't be misled by the
full price you pay for this DVD: all you get on your disc is that one 22
minutes long episode plus a 14 minutes making-of short. On the one hand it
is understandable that viewers didn't take to Amazing Screw-On Head:
it is unrepentantly off-beat and odd and probably not to all tastes.
On the other hand it is
a pity that we will probably never see an entire series of Amazing
Screw-On Head episodes.
The show is clever and
witty; always willing to send up the genre conventions of which its own plot
is made up with. The artists do a fantastic job at simulating Mignola's
distinctive art work in a live action format even though the animation
itself seems a bit static at times. The dialogue sparks and crackles with
invention and the voice talents (including the likes of
Lady in the Water's Paul Giamatti) are
spot on. This would definitely have been a show I would have set the VCR
THE DISCS: Since you
only get one episode, the DVD producers bravely tries to make the best of
the situation and you can choose whether to watch the episode in cropped pan
'n' scan format or its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image is better
framed in its original aspect ratio, but the cropped format allows you to
luxuriate in the close-up details of the animation. There's a standard
making of featurette included and an audio track. Unfortunately no-one seems
willing to discuss the show's fate, which remains unclear throughout.
WORTH IT? I'm a
quantity over quality guy and while it is a fun episode, it rather galls one
to pay full price for such a short DVD.
Amazing Screw-On Head is a fun off-beat steampunk adventure that ought
to appeal to adult comics fans. But it's still a bit on the short side,