Comedy and horror are like two sides of the same coin. Both illicit a particular reaction. When you pair the two together in a fresh and cohesive way that maintains both horror elements and comedic value, you have winning formula that is almost never imitated. Such is the case with Hulu’s horror satire, Bad Hair.
The film is written, directed, and produced by Justin Simien. The film stars Elle Lorraine, Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, Kelly Rowland, Laverne Cox, Chanté Adams, James Van Der Beek, Usher Raymond IV, Blair Underwood, and Vanessa Williams.
During the rise of New Jack Swing in 1989, an ambitious young woman from Compton, L.A. aspires to become a VJ but is told she doesn’t have the right hair, the right face, or the right skin color to succeed in the image obsessed world of music television. She strikes a Faustian bargain with the new head of a music network who tells her to get a weave, but this new hairstyle turns out to be anything but easy to maintain.
Simien’s plot borrows from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Idle Hand but the film is able to spin it for a more modern, urban way of storytelling that knows when to be funny and when to turn up the scares.
The origin of the hair folkloric stretches back to slave days, when a “house slave” became enchanted with the filigreed greenery from Spanish moss trees, using it to make a wig. The supernatural elements of that story do feed the main narrative, however, and as Anna’s hair starts exerting its own supernatural power, she becomes increasingly torn over whether to capitalize on her new self-assurance or break free from its disturbing spell.
The film dips its toes a few times into social commentary about race, conformity, and sex but never plunges in like Antebellum did, much to that film’s dismay. No, just when Bad Hair goes for social commentary it pulls a 180 and goes balls out looney with inventive kills and hair raising (pun fully intended) scares. The idea that the hair not only becomes alive but then starts to completely assimilate its host is a pretty interesting concept.
The originality of the film sets it apart from a lot of the many horror film selections you might be looking through this Halloween season. In conclusion, The HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience highly recommends Bad Hair and demands that you DEVOUR IT NOW! It is currently streaming on Hulu.