HEAD TRAUMA reviews

The Philadelphia Inquirer gives HEAD TRAUMA 3 out of 4 stars!

Scares, simple and spot-on

By Steven Rea – Philadelphia Inquirer Movie Critic

Any number of big-deal filmmakers – M. Night Shyamalan, for one – would be well-served by a viewing of the low-budget Head Trauma. Shot on digital video by Philadelphia-area writer-director Lance Weiler, this simple and effective psycho-thriller creates a mood of dread and dissociation, and sustains it, without resorting to elaborate special effects, or a colorful crowd of actors, or otherworldly mystical hooey.

Weiler, along with Stefan Avalos, delivered the creepy-crawly 1998 faux-doc The Last Broadcast, a DIY cult hit that predated, and presaged, the indie horror phenom The Blair Witch Project. Head Trauma, which begins with a car crash and flashes forward, and back, and inside its protagonist’s battered skull, aims for a different kind of realism: that is, the point of view of someone who has lost his hold on the real world.

George Walker (Vince Mola) is a bearded, scruffy jobless guy who returns to his hometown after many years to fix up his deceased grandmother’s abandoned, dilapidated house. At least that’s the plan, but George, crawling into his makeshift tent in the middle of a ratty room, falls asleep and descends into a nightmare realm. Or maybe he’s not asleep at all, and those aren’t nightmares, but some kind of fractured memory?

Whatever they are, menacing scenes of a lifeless body being dragged through the woods, of a hunched-over, hooded figure haunting a run-down motel, of a cardboard box and an eerie little pamphlet, keep recurring in George’s head – and in Weiler’s movie.

Mola, with his glasses, beard and bug-eyed, intelligent air, projects a Paul Giamatti-ish Everyloser vibe, and Jamil Mangan and Mary Monahan, as a comic-drawing neighbor and an old flame, respectively, bring easy authenticity to their roles.

Head Trauma is a razor-sharp, bare-bones genre film, and doesn’t pretend to be anything more.

Head Trauma *** (out of four stars)

Written by Lance Weiler and Brian Majeska, directed by Weiler. With Vince Mola, Jamil Mangan and Mary Monahan.

Running time: 1 hour, 24 mins.

Parent’s guide: No MPAA rating (violence, scares, adult themes)

Playing at: The Roxy Theater

UPCOMING THEATRICAL SCREENINGS

Here is a current list of upcoming theatrical screenings of HEAD TRAUMA.

ENDLESS MOUNTAINS THEATRE, Scranton, PA — run ends 9.21
GRAND ILLUSION CINEMA, Seattle, WA — 9.22 & 9.23 at 11pm
COUNTY THEATER Doylestown, PA — 9.19 @ 7pm — filmmaker in attendence
BRYN MAWR THEATER Bryn Mawr, PA — 9.20 @ 7pm — co-screenwriter in attendence
ANGELKIA THEATER NY, NY — 9.20 @ 7pm — filmmaker and select cast members in attendence
AMBLER THEATER Ambler, PA — 9.21 @ 7pm — filmmaker in attendence
ROXY THEATER Philadelphia,PA — Opens September 22nd — 2023 Sansom St., Philadelphia (215) 923-6699

Special screening 10.7 – HT soundtrack release party @ Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia
Special screening TBD – Montreal
Special screening TBD – Minneapolis

HEAD TRAUMA IS COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU!

Opens August 18th – Portland
Opens August 25th – Tucson
Opens August 25th – Albuquerque
Opens September 8th – Scranton
Opens September 8th – East Stroudsburg
Opens September 8th – Brattleboro
Opens September 14th – White River Junction
Opens September 15th – San Francisco
Opens September 15th – Seattle
Opens September 15th – Doylestown
Opens September 15th – Ambler
Opens September 15th – Bryn Mawr
Special screening 9/20 – NYC
Opens September 22nd – Roxy Theater 2023 Sansom St., Philadelphia (215) 923-6699
Special screening 10/7 – HT soundtrack release party @ Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia
Special screening TBD – Montreal
Special screening TBD – Minneapolis

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT HEAD TRAUMA

“Works its way under the skin, raising neck hairs while teasing us to pry open its psychological puzzle box.”
– LA WEEKLY

“Horror outing that revives the under appreciated monster of the id to great effect.”
– MOVIE CITY NEWS

“Elicits effective creeps… A well executed haunted house exercise that treads the psychological vs. supernatural line.”
– AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

HT Buzz

Microfilmmaker Magazine – A Conversation with Head Trauma’s Lance Weiller, Pg. 1 of 5
Lance Weiller made waves when he and Stefan Avalos created, The Last Broadcast–the first film to be distributed to theaters digitally. Now, seven years later, he steps up self-distribution through theaters with his new feature, Head Trauma, which he sho

Feb 25, 2007
Evil Dread – Head Trauma 2006 movie review
Weiler’s Head Trauma is without a doubt one of the best indie films to come out in 2006, and dealing with psychological horror…

Feb 23, 2007
DVD Review: Head Trauma @ Blogcritics.org
While Hollywood plays it safe with a diet of remakes, re-imaginings and rehashes of classic horror movies it’s down to independent filmmakers to give horror fans what they really want – original, thought-provoking films that stay with you long after t

Feb 18, 2007
Killer B’s on DVD: Head Trauma – Cinematical
Weiler has made the transition from faux documentary to a more traditional narrative quite smoothly, and the result is a solid little B-flick with interesting characters, strong production values, and some decent scares.

Feb 13, 2007
HT screens in Berlin
On Monday, I’m off to the Berlin International Film Festival. I’ve been invited to speak as part of the Talent Campus. The Talent Campus is a gathering of 500 filmmakers from all over the world.

Feb 11, 2007
HEAD TRAUMA makes a number of top 10 lists for 2006
I’m happy to report that HEAD TRAUMA made a number of top 10 lists for 2006

Jan 29, 2007
Creature Corner – HEAD TRAUMA ranked #1 indie horror film of the 2006
This movie lived up my expectations and passed them. Probably the creepiest film to come out all year.

Jan 24, 2007
Filmmaker Magazine | Winter 2007: LESSONS IN DIY
Article about the internet promotional campaign for HEAD TRAUMA – ““Do it yourself” is a simple phrase. Filmmakers have been “doing it themselves” for years, especially when it comes to production. However, the concept of DIY distribution, often c

Jan 21, 2007
Cinema Nocturna HEAD TRAUMA review 4 out 5
Drenched in complete darkness, the atmosphere generated by HEAD TRAUMA and all it’s aspects are just the beginning of a traumatic torrent ride through a masterful vision directed by Lance Weiler (THE LAST BROADCAST). Vince Mola walking in George Walker

Jan 19, 2007
I Spit On Your Movie – Head Trauma review
Vince Mola’s portrayal of the tormented alcoholic George is spot on and totally believable the fact that he let himself go (and drink) in order get into character is remarkable and rarely does such dedication show up in films let alone independent featu

Jan 17, 2007
Rue Morgue magazine names HEAD TRAUMA the best indie feature of 2006
HEAD TRAUMA, one of this year’s most ambitious indpendent films draws upon both real-life tragedy and familiar horror archetypes to fashion a unique psychological thriller.

Jan 9, 2007
Zombos Closet of Horror Blog: Interview with Director Lance Weiler

Jan 9, 2007
Fatally Yours » Best of 2006
#2 behind the Descent! A mind-bending film that keeps you guessing to the end, Head Trauma is filled with dream-like and creepy imagery.

Jan 6, 2007
Twitch – Best of 2006: Top 10 Experiences
Head Trauma makes a top10 list at twitch.net – ” number 9. Head Trauma (Review) Creepy, man, creepy. Kudos to Lance Weiler.”

Dec 31, 2006
HEAD TRAUMA review 4 out 5
There’s nothing quite like the MindF*ck movie. Its a movie that takes you through the demented psyche of a character and if done right it can leave you shaken and provoke some good discussion following the viewing. I’m happy to say the Head Trauma is such

Dec 19, 2006
Zombos Closet of Horror Blog: Head Trauma 2006
The acting is very well done, also. Vince Mola plays George with all the right angst, and Jamil A.C. Mangan does a solid performance as the comic-drawing Julian, reluctantly helping George, and dealing with that creepy abandoned house.

Dec 7, 2006
Head Trauma – review
This film really took me by surprise. For a low to no budget film, it does a remarkable job. Everything looks like it was shot entirely on location and the actors are complete average Joe’s we all see in our everyday lives. Vince Mola plays George

Dec 6, 2006
Cinescare – HEAD TRAUMA – review
Director Lance Weiler’s “Head Trauma” may not have a big budget, but it has a potent story, a talented director, and cinematography that belies its finances, all of which results in an underpublicized gem that deserves a wider audience.

Dec 6, 2006
Head Trauma DVD Review
With Head Trauma, Weiler has invited us into the surreal world of George Walker, who’s disturbing visions and actions may or may not be real. Weiler lets the story do the entertaining, rather than blood and breasts, and, sometimes, that’s a refreshin

Nov 28, 2006
Fatally Yours » Head Trauma
One of the creepiest films I’ve seen in a long time, independent or otherwise. It truly keeps you guessing with its surreal, dreamlike atmosphere and haunting images.

Nov 26, 2006
Black Friday – HEAD TRAUMA hits newsstands
HEAD TRAUMA is currently featured in four magazines for November / Decemeber

Nov 24, 2006
HEAD TRAUMA – brief review (3rd in list of week’s DVD picks)
“Head Trauma, a moody, atmospheric sojourn into the horrors of the mind bleeding into our reality… a spooky gem worth a late-night viewing.”

Nov 18, 2006
Screen Magazine – Feature – Scary Advice: Horror Featured At IFP MN Screenwriting Conference
Featured presenter Lance Weiler, whose film “Head Trauma” will unofficially kick off the conference with a screening on Friday, November 3

Nov 12, 2006
Head Trauma – review 3 1/2 stars out of 4
For all the horrible horror films that come out every year (that would be the majority of them), there are few titles that really stand out and become something worth showing others.

Nov 9, 2006
Creature Corner – support indie Horror!

Nov 8, 2006
Save $5 on 2 Indie DVDs
Best Buy runs a national in-store promotion for HT

Nov 7, 2006
Head Trauma | Mr. Jingles DVD review- Acid Logic ezine
All in all, Weiler’s “Head Trauma” will leave you scratching yours in the midst of a fantastic, scary ride that leaves no unanswered questions and does its job with the utmost competence and sheer unalloyed glee.

Nov 7, 2006
Movie review: ‘Head Trauma’
This effective, atmospheric chiller seeps into your fear center like damp rot.

Nov 2, 2006
City Pages – Movies – Head Trauma
Like Neil Marshall (The Descent), Weiler is both an impeccable craftsperson and a reverent genre fan

Nov 1, 2006
When a blow to the head is a really good thing

Oct 31, 2006
Traumatic – purchase HEAD TRAUMA hits Best Buy

HEAD TRAUMA is finished

After mixing at Skywalker Ranch, the movie is prepped and ready to hit the festival circuit.

HEAD TRAUMA tells the story of George Walker, a drifter, who after a 20 year absence, has returned home to settle his grandmother?s estate. As if awakening from a long dream, he finds his childhood home condemned and littered with the remnants of squatters. In the midst of trying to save his past, George falls and strikes his head, triggering an onslaught of vivid nightmares and waking visions. As the horror intrudes on George?s reality, his conviction grows that someone or something is trying to kill him.