Machine Head (2001)

Written, Directed & Edited by: Michael Murphy


Josh Walitt .... Max Kelp
Richard Cowden .... Machine Head
Jeff Stroud .... Herman Kelp
Sondraya Rowe .... Sally Kates
Jason Rhein .... Jock #1
Luke Richards .... Jock #2
Dannon Nicks .... Jock #3

Release Date: Direct-to-DVD: 2001



A computer nerd named Max Kelp (Josh Walitt) works on his computer to find a way to resurrect the dead with a machine he made that he attaches to the computer as his family works at a funeral home for his science project at school.
He doesn't get along with his father Herman (Jeff Stroud) as he wants his son to quit making these creations plus he is bullied by jocks at school.
Well Max finally found a way to resurrect a corpse at the funeral home as he puts his machine he created and stored it to the corpses head then he activates his computer and his creation comes to life.
He invites the girl of his dreams named Sally Kates (Sondraya Rowe) to his home but she freaks out after he sees his creation.
Then something goes wrong as Sally accidentally presses her hands on the keyboard of Max's computer and his creation kills her.
Max suddenly goes mad and this gives him an idea to seek revenge on the people who tormented him including his father but he goes too far as his creation goes out of control.


Things look terribly trashy when we see the nerd Max Kelp in class as well as his moments with his school teacher which looked too set out and not natural. Also we see him being tormented by school bullies at his locker in which things also looked too set out and stiff like these people were forced to be this way but at the same time makes you want to hit these jerks for taunting him.
We spot a moment with Max walking home from school and see his neighbors grieving and burying their dead cat as this also looked too planned out and taking a long time as well. Phony stuff but was supposed to be a key effect to what happens later on in the story.
However there is a scene that looked fairly natural with Max working on his computer and his father Herman comes barging in and gets aggressive with him as well as shutting down his computer when he is almost complete doing a task and things get wrecked as it gives a sinking feeling on working so hard to complete something that it took so long and things were ruined. Good intense arguments from the two of them.
We have a hilarious moment when Max plans to resurrect that dead cat with his computer as you could tell was a stuffed toy and then this animal going haywire as I was laughing by seeing this all happening. Sound familiar to a cult classic we all have seen in the mid 80's based on one of H.P. Lovecraft's novels??
Nice setting at a funeral with people griveing as well as Herman making a speech and in the background Max planning to use the dead body along with him accidenly kicking some buckets on something gruesome with these objects rolling in to the funeral and everyone freaking out which looked fairly well done.
Nicely focused settings on Max using the dead body and using his experiments to resurrect him. When this being wakes up it looked half amusing and half cheesy.
More cheesy moments when Max tells his school bullies off and one of them tries to punch him and dodges as well as them chasing after him but this looked well energised at the same time.
However there's a trashy moment when Max shows the girl of his dreams Sally Kates his project which is Machine Head as although there's a good shot on her screaming there's a scene when he kills her which looked terribly phony. Also there's a moment when Max grieves as this didn't make you feel sad like it was supposed to have been. Yet a nice cheesy special effect on flames when he places her in a crematory oven.
Nicely shot moment at night when Max is being pitted against his bullies at a bridge as well as Machine Head coming in to do them all in as some of this looked lacking and moments looked a bit intense. This should entertain all you trashy b horror film fans.
Fair situation when Max ties up his dad and seeks revenge for abusing him on what he's about show him Machine Head but things look phony when we see his father dying from shock or a heart attack which I couldn't figure out what he died from as it never explains the situation.
Interesting moment whyen Machine Head is at a local carnival and fits right in when the crowd sees him as well as a phony moment on what he does to someone but yet the results looked good and shocking for anyone who likes horror violence.
Some effective moments when Machine Head is out on the streets and sees a reflection in the mirror of himself and being upset.
Also what works in is when the police are looking for this being and tracks someone down running and then crawling to the ground which can trick you wondering if they tracked down the wrong person.
Nice surroundings when Machine Head is in a bar with the people watching him as well as a deadly moment and everyone freaks out.
Plus a fair powerful moment when Machine Head tries to save Max from his busted up vehicle with the police circling around him and sad moments surrounding the two of them as I have to admit that this time things looked effective.
Bottom line is that at first the film looks interesting when you asee it shot on a DV budget as you would think to yourself you can do the same making a horror feature. But the story and everything else involved is a Frankenstein meets Re-Animator ripoff and it's extremely zany too when it tries to be scary since everything about the performances are amateurish.

The acting is awful as even Josh Walitt (Max Kelp) looks way too old to play a teenager and he could've been more convincing too. He's over the top playing a hyperactive nerd although he tries his best to be energised with all of what he does. However he seemed fairly okay later on when he acts like a mad scientist obsessed with his creation. Also does well telling some people off afterwards from being tormented and being full of life like this.
Richard Cowden (Machine Head) isnt convincingly scary at all as the zombie machine monster. A circus clown can do a scarier performance than this. He shows goofy expressions that wasn't scary at all and his blocking was very off when he kills someone. Yet does fairly well getting emotionally upset later on in his role.
Jeff Stroud (Herman Kelp) seemed to be one of the best performers out of the whole cast in which he shows a nice dysfunctional attitude as well as coming off as obnoxious and bringing his intensity to a hype. Does an average job striking his onscreen son which didn't look too sloppy at all. He was only average though when tied up and trying to act reasonable when he gets scared.
Sondraya Rowe (Sally Kates) seemed to breeze through not too shabby in her role as well. Shows off a nice popular girl type of attitude as well as doing an okay job with her screaming when she spots something terrifying as well as showing okay energy when freaking out.
Jason Rhein (Jock #1) seemed to be a little over the top as the head bully but at the same time he tried his best as you could tell by how he performed in his role. However he makes you want to hit him for being nasty. Shows good energy when he tries to punch someone but hits a locker. Also had the right brawny looks too to portray his role.

There's a naked corpse of a woman, breasts exposed.

A head of both an animal and a human corpse is cut open to have a machine stored
There's a cut off foot of a dead jock.
A fake looking decapitated head.
An arm is ripped off

Jason McKean composes the music with his keyboard playing and doesn't do too bad of a job for what this no budgeter required. Alot of it sounds comedic with what sounds like clarniet playing like in a circus as the timing is right for the slapstick moments. Some of it sounds a little bland like for the sad moments as it needed to be whipped up in shape.