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Film / Headless

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Headless is a 2015 American Slasher Movie.note  It revolves around a troubled skull-masked killer hacking up women that he comes across, eventually taking interest in a young woman and those close to her.

Based on a fictional movie of the same name from the Todd Rigney novel, found. which was adapted into a movie that featured snippets of what would become this feature-length version.


Headless provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: More like "abusive mother and sister". The killer's mother locked him in a cage for most of his early life, berating and dehumanizing him, and his sister would often join in on the fun.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It’s never made obvious what kind of mental diagnosis the killer has, but he spends most of the film mute, even in his childhood. And his mother and sister appear to think there’s something wrong with him mentally. He does display a clear psychosis, as evidenced by his hallucinations of the Skull Boy. He also shows traits of sadistic personality disorder, seeing how he laughs as he mercilessly hacks his victims to pieces while they're alive.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Slick Vic, Jess and Betsy’s slimebag boss who sexually harasses his employees. He gets hacked up offscreen.
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    • The killer's mother and sister were horribly abusive to him. Nobody's gonna shed tears at their deaths, grisly as they might have been.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Once he captures them, the killer tries to force Jess to kill Pete, who she’s been constantly at odds with throughout the film. But the two finally and sincerely profess their love for each other. It doesn’t make any difference, however, as Pete is killed with Jess to follow shortly after.
  • Ax-Crazy: The killer, and you’d better believe it! He hallucinates a young boy with a skull mask that points him to his targets; dismembers and mutilates his victims while they’re still alive; and clearly doesn’t have a good grasp on reality in general.
  • Barbarian Longhair: As an adult, the savage killer has grown his hair out, and has a thick Beard of Evil to complement it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A minor example. Betsy outwardly cares about Jess, and assures her that she would never have sex with Vic. Just minutes later, she does.
  • Black Comedy: Some of the killer's interactions with the Skull Boy are mildly amusing in a disturbing way, such as when the boy points to the car and the killer just shrugs.
  • The Blank: The woman that the killer hallucinates is shown to only have a mouth, but no eyes or any other discernible facial features.
  • Bloodbath Villain Origin: One day, the killer was let out of his cage by his sister, presumably for some less than wholesome purposes. He then brutally murders her, and when his mother finds him with her body and scolds him, he kills her, too.
  • Creepy Child: The Skull Boy, who is just a figment of the killer’s imagination, urging him on to kill.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Where should we start?
  • Daylight Horror: A good number of the murders are committed while the sun's still out, and in the open field, no less.
  • Dehumanization: A rare example where the villain is the one being dehumanized, being frequently referred to as a "freak" and a "monster".
  • Disappeared Dad: The killer's father apparently just ran off one day, which prompted a lot of the abuse their son suffered.
  • Downer Ending: Betsy, Pete, and Jess have all been slain, and the killer continues to evade any sort of comeuppance for his crimes. And it’s very likely that he’s only going to keep killing.
  • Enfant Terrible: Skull Boy, again. He's the pint-sized guiding force behind the murders.
  • Excuse Plot: Minimal effort is put into a decent storyline. This flick's all about the gore.
  • Exploitation Film: Given its lurid focus on gore and sex (including necrophilia), it definitely qualifies. It also utilizes retraux 70s grindhouse aesthetics, such as film grain and trailers for movies just as absurd and violent as this one (i.e. Wolf-Baby).
  • Eye Scream: The killer likes to scoop his victims’ eyes out with a spoon, and to make it worse, he eats them.
  • Fan Disservice: Attractive women baring their breasts? Sexy. Attractive women getting their shirts ripped off by a homicidal, woman-hating maniac and then hacked to pieces whilst topless and dumped in a ditch with dozens of other corpses? NOPE.
  • Final Girl: Subverted with Jess. She’s assertive and intelligent, but nonetheless, gets her head chopped off at the end.
  • Freudian Excuse: From his flashbacks, it’s pretty clear that the killer didn’t just become a violent misogynist overnight. It took years of neglect and abuse from his mother and sister, who kept him in a cage like an animal, only being allowed to eat the severed heads of animals and being sexually harassed by his sister.
  • Genre Throwback: Marketed as "the lost slasher of 1978," it utilizes a 70s horror aesthetic. Although gore-wise, it’s got more in common with 80s slashers.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the killer's many unfortunate victims stumbles across a pit where he keeps a pile of dismembered corpses, and she takes the opportunity to try and smack him around with a severed leg.
  • Groin Attack: Two. First one was on the punk girl, when the killer rapes her with his machete, and the second one was Pete, whose penis he cuts off.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: As should be obvious after looking at most of these tropes, the killer clearly doesn't have much love for women. But how much of this hatred is of his own volition and how much of it is the Skull Boy urging him on is debatable.
  • I Lied: Just when it looks like the killer is gonna let Jess walk after she's forced to murder her own boyfriend, he snags her and ties her down to the chair, and treats her to the same fate as every other woman he's killed.
  • I Love the Dead: Or at least their severed heads. Which he penetrates at the stumps of their necks.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Although he only eats eyeballs. Apparently.
  • Incest Subtext: It's heavily implied that the killer's sister had incestuous lusts for her brother, letting him out of his cage (presumably) with the intention of molesting him.
  • Jerkass:
    • Slick Vick. He's a disgusting, sexist, beer-bellied scumbag who belittles and yells at his employees, especially the women.
    • The killer's mom and sister. It's really no wonder he grew up to be a murdering monster.
    • Pete, a lazy stoner who vehemently ignores Jess' advice to get a job to help support their relationship. He's revealed to be more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold later, as he actually values his girlfriend's life over his own.
  • Kick the Dog: While his mother was certainly cruel and would berate him anytime she took notice of him, his sister was especially nasty, taking every opportunity that she could find to torment her brother, even deliberately getting him in trouble apparently just so he could suffer, and offering him a drink, only to piss on him.
  • Machete Mayhem: The killer’s weapon of choice.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The killer wears a skull mask, but takes it off frequently.
  • Mommy Issues: Doesn’t even begin to describe the killer’s childhood.
  • Monster Misogyny: Anyone who's not a man in this movie should expect to die an agonizing, gruesome death. Several of them die topless or naked, too.
  • Off with His Head!: In case the title wasn’t any indication, the killer likes to behead his (female) victims.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Seeing how the killer is driven to murder by hallucinations of a skull-headed child and is prone to waking up crying whenever he has dreams of his abusive childhood, and continues to sleep in the cage that his mother kept him locked in, it’s pretty safe to assume that he hasn’t completely moved on from his childlike state of mind.
  • Rape as Backstory: It's implied that the killer's sister took him out of his cage to sexually molest him.
  • Refuge in Audacity: What more would you expect from a gore-soaked retraux slasher? It makes up for its lack of plot by breaking many, many taboos.
  • Reluctant Psycho: According to Shane Beasley, the killer has a warped idea of love, and is deep down, aware of what he does, but wants to stop. Not that it really shows.
  • Sadist: The killer laughs as he tortures and maims his victims, and appears to receive sexual arousal from this.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Pete allows Jess to kill him so that the killer will let her go free. Unfortunately, he has other plans for her.
  • Serial Killer: Our Villain Protagonist has a body count that looks like it's in the dozens, and he collects his victims' severed heads as trophies.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silent Antagonist: As per usual for masked slasher villains. However, he does laugh as he’s chasing and cutting up his victims. The Skull Boy is this, as well, although the chattering of his teeth is used in place of actual speech.
  • Skull for a Head: The Skull Boy has one.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: At the end of the found. version, the killer is shot by a cop while attempting to claim his last victim. He survives this one, though he rips his own face off.
  • Stylistic Suck: The acting is intentionally bad, in order to make the movie look like it actually came out in 1978.
  • Tear Off Your Face: After killing Jess, the killer does this to himself, literally Becoming the Mask.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Much of the film is seen from the focus of the deranged, skull-masked butcher, who frequently hallucinates a skull-headed child that drives him to slaughter women in the most vicious ways (un)imaginable, as well as a faceless woman that he fantasizes himself copulating with, presumably when he masturbates with the severed heads of his victims. There's also a scene where he has a dream of tree with branches full of eyeballs.
  • Villain Protagonist: The killer alternates between this and the Big Bad, at least when the focus is on Jess and her life.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Downplayed. While the killer certainly had a miserable and traumatic childhood that transformed him into a psychotic beast, it’s really difficult to sympathize with him when he goes out of his way to kill innocent women horribly and enjoy it.
  • You Monster!: Seems to be everyone’s favorite insult for the killer. From his mother up until Jess.