Road Head, a Terror Films release now available via VOD and on DVD (for the Neanderthals among us), is one of those rare films with a title that’s both literal and figurative.
But it’s the literal interpretation that sets the stage for what is — alliteration alert! — the most quintessentially quirky queer quest for horror infamy I’ve ever seen. And it succeeds, at least in part.
Before we go totally LBGTQ, we’re witness to a heterosexual couple driving along in the middle of who knows where when girl gets amorous with boy. As girl does the dirty — road head, get it? — a rather medieval-looking large fellow, standing in the middle of the road, causes boy to slam on the brakes, turning pleasure to pain. Uh, penis pain that is, brakes not being the only thing clamping down.
But that isn’t the worst of it. Our large lug brandishes a sword and uses it to decapitate both girl and boy, leaving their noggins in the middle of the thoroughfare. Road head, get it?
Enter our stars: Gay lovers Bryan (Clayton Farris) and Alex (Damian Joseph Quinn), along with Bryan’s best friend, straight Stephanie (Elizabeth Grullon). The trio is enroute by van to Isola Lake for a mini vaca. As Stephanie gets high in the back seat, Bryan and Alex quibble, humorously banter back and forth, and generally make cute as a couple.
To their dismay, they discover the lake has dried up, leaving a desert-like surface (think Bonneville Salt Flats) still suitable for both pavement and exploration. So, on they go. And as they go, our cute couple decides to do the road head thing with Bryan at the wheel and Alex at the lap. Unfortunately, Bryan spies the aforementioned two decapitated noggins in the middle of the road, slams on the brakes and … well, history repeats itself.
Only this time, back in the realm of who knows where, our large lug (Adam Nemet) has his work cut out for him. When he makes his expected entrance, wounded Bryan is the easy prey. As the lug severs his noggin, Alex and Stephanie go a-joggin’. So, we all know a reckoning of sorts is yet to play out.
Turns out Stephanie’s escape, at least, is short lived. For one thing, she and Alex are no longer in possession of the van. For another, they’re fighting like cats and dogs while trying to navigate their desert-like surroundings on foot. Before long, the lug captures Stephanie and transports her to a wasteland of vehicles where his cult friends reside.
The cult, a group of literally queer faux-medieval madmen, is headed by Carl (Paul T. Taylor) and includes comic crazies Jared (Kevin Mouren-Laurens), Larry (Schoen Hodges), and Felicity Fellatio Bones (David McKee). Oh, and we learn the lug is more appropriately known as The Executioner.
As for Stephanie, she’s eyed as the prize who can spawn more members of the cult, though her first so-called sexual encounter with Carl makes our road head episodes look benign by comparison. Poor Carl might have been better off meeting The Executioner’s sword than Steph’s teeth.
In order to dodge the dreaded spoiler alert, we’ll leave it right there save for a little flattery and some nitpicking of flaws.
Road Head writer Justin Xavier gets a pat on the back for some truly inspired dialogue that is delightfully snarky and witty. One of the best and simplest lines comes in a fight-back pep talk from Stephanie when she tells a petrified Alex to “woman up!” While much of the banter is a curse circus, it doesn’t feel out of place given the characters and the circumstances.
And speaking of characters, director David Del Rio gets credit for assembling a cast that has an on-screen chemistry rarely seen in low-budget fright films. Gullen, especially, and Quinn shine as Stephanie and Alex. And while this is more camp than horror, he threads the line between the two with finesse.
As for flaws … well, you can literally smell the cheese, whether it be the gore or the bore, the latter being the totally unnecessary imagined appearance of Stephanie’s ex, David (a wooden Clay Acker). Those scenes did little but slow down an otherwise fast-paced story.
And the ending. Oh, that ending. Damn the ending.
Not. Going. There.
All things considered. Road Head was fun. Imperfect, but fun. Worth a heads-up (groan) for genre junkies.