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December 31, 2009

Princess Powerful Attacks: The Amazing Screw-On Head (pilot)

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In 2002, Dark Horse Comics published The Amazing Screw-On Head.  It was an one-shot comic book drawn and written by Mike Mignola.  The comic was inspired by figurines which are basically the same, but with different paint jobs.

Screw–On Head is an agent for Abraham Lincoln.  In this adventure,   he’s summoned by the President to find Emperor Zombie, who is a master of languages.  Screw-On Head must track down the villain and stop him from obtaining a supernatural power that enables its owner to conquer the world.

In 2006, the Syfy/Sci Fi Channel made The Amazing Screw-On Head into an animated pilot.

Title: The Amazing Screw-On Head
Writer: Bryan Fuller & Mike Mignola
Director: Chris Prynoski
Company: Sci Fi Channel, Kick Start Productions, in association with Living Dead Guy Productions
Release Date: July 13, 2006 (online) July 27, 2006 (TV)
Length: 22 minutes

The Amazing Screw-On Head premiered on the SyFy/Sci Fi Channel and on their website.  Syfy/Sci-Fi Channel posted an online survey, asking viewers whether or not they should make it into a television series.  It wasn’t picked up by the channel, but was later released on DVD.  The pilot starred Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Patton Oswalt, and Molly Shannon.

The Amazing Screw-On Head followed its predecessor’s premise, but some characters were added or replaced, and their back stories were fleshed out.

For example, instead of Emperor Zombie being an evil master of languages, he was one of Screw-On Head’s manservants who turned villain.  He developed a vengeance to ruin Screw-On Head’s life, because his first act of evil was thwarted by the agent.

The President's Communicator

The animation felt like Mike Mignola’s art came to life.  The downside was that after a while, the color palette became slightly harsh and distant in some scenes.  After watching it multiple times, I became accustomed to the animated style.

The voice acting worked brilliantly with the characters.  My favorite voice acting was of Emperor Zombie, who was voiced by David Hyde Pierce.  David’s timing of jokes was great, and as a result, I developed a fondness for his character.

There were some elements translated from the comic book set to animation that I felt was very inventive.  In one of the scenes, President Lincoln communicated with Screw-On Head through a portrait of himself.  In the comic, President Lincoln’s portrait didn’t move and had word bubbles surrounding it.  In the pilot, President Lincoln’s eyes and mouth flipped like a zoetrope as he talked to Screw-On Head.

Emperor Zombie's Henchmen

Emperor Zombie's Henchmen

Some of the characters that were in the pilot appeared in the comic book.  It felt like a nod to The Amazing Screw-On Head when characters, with brief appearances in the book, took on a larger role in the pilot.  I was impressed with the werewolf’s transformation; it felt logical that her clothes would be ripped completely off her body as opposed to having bits of cloth still clinging to her.

“I’m so excited I just made water in my pantaloons!”

Although The Amazing Screw-On Head wasn’t successful in becoming a series on SyFy/Sci Fi Channel, it fared well on DVD.

The pilot was a very interesting and inventive piece, based off of The Amazing Screw-On Head comic book.  It’s a worthy show to watch, especially if you’re familiar with Mike Mignola’s work, like Hellboy.

Princess Powerful



  1. Oh, that silly Mike Mignola. What will he think of next?

  2. Billy

    That’s got to be one of the wackiest ideas I’ve ever heard of.

  3. Sounds pretty silly!

  4. infinite speech

    I remember trying to watch this but I was too tired from work and slept through it. Didn’t know it was on DVD might have to check it out now

  5. This comic is freaking brilliant and the show is a total riot. I found it online before the DVD came out, still have to grab that one of these days.

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