• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

Directed by Tom Schulman. Starring Joe Pesci, Andy Comeau, Kristy Swanson, Todd Louiso, George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon, David Spade, Anthony Magano, Joe Basile. (1997, R, 93 min.)

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 18, 1997

Screenwriter Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) takes the directorial reins this time out, working from a script of his own. Unfortunately, after you get past that wonderfully morbid title, Schulman's film is stock necrophiliac yuks, with nary an original thought in any of the eight heads involved. It's difficult to imagine dozing off at a film with such a great title going for it, but 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag is prime fodder for the snooze factory, neither as broadly hilarious as you might be led to believe, nor as godawfully gruesome as, well, as you might be led to believe. Honestly? It packs all the spine-tingling punch of a soggy bag of mulch. Pesci plays Tommy Spinelli, a (what else?) bumbling mobster assigned by his cronies to deliver the freshly decapitated noggins of a rival gang to the capo. While at the airport, Tommy mistakenly grabs the wrong duffel bag, and instead winds up with the bag belonging to med student Charlie (Comeau), who's off to Mexico to meet his girlfriend's parents (Hamilton and Cannon). Realizing he's dead without the heads, Tommy embarks on a Wild & Zany� search for Charlie while studiously avoiding his suspicious mafia pals. This may have been a swell premise for a two-part Married With Children episode, or even the as-yet-unknown Weekend at Bernie's III (Bernie's head is cryogenically frozen, but Andrew McCarthy must steal it in order to make it up the corporate ladder… see? It all fits!), but as a feature-length film, it's deadly boring. Even the occasionally reliable Spade, as Charlie's college roommate, is little more than annoying. Crammed with bad reaction shots of various flustered people discovering the gory goods, 8 Heads is a veritable tête-à-tête between sleep and ennui. Granted, Greg Cannom's special makeup effects' work on the guillotined mafiosi skulls is impressively done, but that's hardly enough to merit viewing this ghoulishly unfunny time-waster. And these days, Sominex is so much cheaper, anyway.

READ MORE
More Joe Pesci Films
The Good Shepherd
Matt Damon abandons the cat-and-mouse theatrics of his Bourne identity to play the reserved fictional functionary whose life serves as the prism through which this film examines the early years of the CIA.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Dec. 22, 2006

Home Alone
Home Alone is the apex, the pinnacle, the culmination of every bad bit Hughes has ever written or directed. It overflows with primitive, disastrously unfunny sight gags and neo-hateful familial humor.

Marc Savlov, Jan. 11, 1991

More by Marc Savlov
Shut In
Naomi Watts stars in ho-hum thriller

Nov. 18, 2016

Nocturnal Animals
A dark meditation on regret and revenge

Nov. 18, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Tom Schulman, Joe Pesci, Andy Comeau, Kristy Swanson, Todd Louiso, George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon, David Spade, Anthony Magano, Joe Basile

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)