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By Mike Watt | June 7, 2006

Noble doesn’t have much of a life to speak of. In fact, he’s not sure what he used to do before he moved into the motel with the flowered wallpaper. He doesn’t know who’s slipping the mysterious notes under his door, who what is living under his bed – that disappears when he looks beneath. One day, a pair of cops come to his door to ask him about the young woman who lived there before him. She came to Fifth City with big dreams, but fell into the wrong crowd, showing up in porno films with titles like “Vinyl Vixen”. Noble doesn’t know anything about her, but is instantly intrigued. The minute the cops leave, his interest piqued, a strange man with a grotesque grin comes to him with a stack of money. He’s looking for the very same girl. Now Noble has a purpose, and his search for this girl leads him to an outlandish group of sword-wielding pornographers and a man in a mask that perhaps only he can see.
“Shockheaded” is a bizarre, mind-bending film noir from writer, director and co-star Eric Thornett (“23 Hours”) which plays like a collaboration between Raymond Chandler and David Lynch. The world in which the movie takes place has its own rules, all the characters play by these rules – but even by the end, the audience may not be sure what these rules might be. Is it an intellectual martial-arts film, or a piece of violent mental masturbation? To be honest, I’m not sure. I can say that, regardless of its deliberate pace, “Shockheaded” is a compulsorily-watchable movie.
Thornett and company should be commended for their work. As with most independent movies, the acting is hit-or-miss, but for the most part the performances are top-notch, particularly Demetrius Parker as the first cop, Thornett himself as the flamboyant villain (named, oddly, “Normal”) and the cloyingly-credited “?” as the immensely creepy “Empty Man”. It should come as no surprise that Rochon gives the best performance in what amount to little more than a cameo. Her character’s realization of what she has become is nothing short of heartbreaking by the end. The film also boasts an outstanding score by Jason Russler that completes the movie’s bleak mood.

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