Blu-ray Review: 8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG

8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG was written and directed by Tom Schulman and stars Joe Pesci, Andy Comeau, Kristy Swanson, Todd Louiso, George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon, Todd Louiso and David Spade. The score is by Andrew Gross.

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997) is a dark comedy from writer-director Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society), starring the singular Joe Pesci as a gangster hired to deliver a bag crammed with severed heads to a crime boss who wants proof of their former owners’ demise. On a commercial flight, the head-stuffed bag gets switched with one belonging to a young man (Andy Comeau) on his way to visit his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) and her parents (George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon); hijinks ensue.

The movie follows Tommy (Joe Pesci), a mafia bagman who’s transporting eight severed heads of recently executed rival mobsters to San Diego. He meets Charlie (Andy Comeau) on the flight and the two accidentally get their bags mixed up so now Tommy has to go on an unexpected detour so he can retrieve this bag of decapitated heads. Charlie is in Mexico with his his fiancée Laurie (Kristy Swanson) and her parents and it doesn’t take long for Laurie and her mother to discover what has happened. In the meantime, Tommy kidnaps Charlie’s two friends Ernie (David Spade) and Steve (Todd Louiso) and forces them to help him track down him down in Mexico as well as helping him do a little dirty work along the way. Tommy and Charlie (and the others) finally reunite but they quickly find out that the switch isn’t as easy as they’re hoping it was going to be because of other obstacles have been introduced. Ultimately, Tommy finally gets his bag of heads back and Charlie and Laurie find a new spark in their relationship they needed.

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag is an acquired taste of dark comedy and maybe that’s why some people don’t like it as well as others. I thought the story was smart even though most of the humor was way over-the-top, but it’s really meant to be so unbelievable and Tom Schulman accomplished this with flying colors. Joe Pesci was born to play tough guy roles like this mafia hitman because we’ve actually met this same kind of character in some of Pesci’s other movies like Goodfellas and My Cousin Vinny. The other standout characters are played by Dyan Cannon whose character freaks out when she discovers the heads but ulitmately ends up enjoying this insane adventure that she’s been forced into. There’s also a young David Spade who delivers his smart-ass style of comedy that only he can do. There’s one more standout performance that’s delivered by the decapitated heads in a dream sequence where they crank out a nightmarish rendition of Mr. Sandman to Tommy.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, it had been a long time (probably twenty years) since I had watched 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag and really enjoyed revisiting this dark comedy. This is one of those hilarious comedies that features an ensemble cast of familiar faces who are all fun to watch but make no mistake about it, this is Joe Pesci’s show and it fits him like a glove. Capeesh! Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society) did a great job bringing his quirky story to life on screen and it’s full of silly dialogue and side-splitting situations. The movie is as fast-paced as it is funny and at the center of it all are these 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag that accidentally cause all the trouble. This 1997 Orion Pictures release may have tanked at the box office but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good watch because it really is, plus it’s one of those movies that also gets better as it ages. 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag is now available on Blu-ray and is a Limited Edition of 3,000 Units so go ahead and add this one to your collection. Twilight Time once again hits it out of the park with this high-def upgrade even though I do wish it had more extras.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Rated: R

Run Time: 95 Minutes

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The only extras are TT’s trademark isolated music track and the theatrical trailer. I would have loved some interviews with the director and cast. Maybe some TV spots and an image gallery? A nice release like this deserves a bigger list of extras!

  • Isolated Music Track (with some effects)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:00)


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