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  • Rev Horror

Odder Noggins

Dir. Joe Sherlock (2023)

A stranger sequel to Sherlock's original bouquet of weirdness finds the alien Mr. Birch again conducting experiments on Earth.

Odd Noggins was one of my first introductions to Joe Sherlock and his bizarre and endearing brand of indie weirdness. It's the perfect film to be introduced to the way that he thinks, and it's such a strange film. It's wildly entertaining, it's completely crass, and it's the Seinfeld of horror/science fiction: it is, ultimately, a film about nothing. Odder Noggins takes the same tactic, throwing together a bunch of random oddities in an enjoyable romp through a city of strange people. You might even say they're... odder...

A love letter to general horror and science fiction, Odder Noggins continues with the exploits of Mr. Birch (Dale Wilson) and his attempts to subjugate the people of Earth for his weird experiments. A collection of shorts combined to make an anthology of sorts, the film focuses on characters like Nadine (Amy Christine Melin), who is going out on a date with a new dude, and Agent 73 (Cassidy David), who is a secret agent with a camera imbedded in her breast so that she can take Top Secret photographs and also is a nudist. These are the types of kooky roles that make Odder Noggins even stranger than the previous film, and it's also what makes it such a blast to watch.

The score for the film retains Sherlock's synth-filled groove, sort of an 80's, Goblin-inspired soundtrack to all of the oddities on display. Wilson's Mr. Birch is still a mayonnaise-guzzling, Camaro-driving weirdo, a super odd and creepy character that he portrays with a maniacal gusto. It's funny, a charming sort of self-aware humor that has no problem poking as much fun at itself as it does with the rest of the genres it parodies. It's a completely un-serious film, and it's always a joy to watch a film where the cast and crew had as much as the audience.

One of the interesting things about Odder Noggins and its prequel is that all of the shorts are jumbled within rather than being played in a linear fashion. It can be hard to keep track of each storyline because of the impressive mix-and-match storytelling apparatus that Sherlock employs. It surprisingly doesn't hurt the film one bit, keeping the audience on its toes and providing a frenetic and disorienting pacing throughout. It's a weird enough film that it won't hit home with a lot of folks, but if you enjoyed Odd Noggins, chances are you're going to fucking love this one.

As with the rest of Sherlock's filmography, Odder Noggins is an acquired taste. This one borrows heavily from Doris Wishman, taking its segments from Double Agent 73, Nude on the Moon, and Deadly Weapons with zero apologies for its inspiration. And that really speaks to a lot of what makes Sherlock such a fascinating filmmaker to watch: he's not as inspired by films like Poltergeist or Phantasm as he is by those weird, off-the-wall cult films that are so far underneath most people's radars that they don't even get the references. It's like if Tarantino did low-budget indie horror. You're seeing a true student of each genre of films that he copies, and he does a phenomenal job alluding to these classics of yesteryear. While Odder Noggins is a bit more on-the-nose than most of his other work, it's a fascinating flick that is a great sum of all of Sherlock's many varied parts.

Who this movie is for: Bizarre science fiction lovers, Indie anthology horror fans, Everyone who hates Cynthia

Bottom line: Odder Noggins borrows (read: steals) heavily from the films of Doris Wishman and the type of bizarre science fiction that a lot of us grew up with. It's just done with a dirt-cheap indie sensibility rather than an arthouse flair. Director Joe Sherlock once again delivers a film that is a helluva lot of fun to watch, and if you're a fan of Odd Noggins, chances are you'll enjoy this one as well. You can grab a physical copy of the film at Skullface Astronaut's website or stream it on their Vimeo channel.

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