Most women and some men can attest to having days when their hair seems to have a mind of its own. But in a horror movie spoof upcoming on Hulu, that’s literally the case for one unwitting young lady.
In “Bad Hair,” a satirical psychological thriller that begins streaming Friday, Elle Lorraine (“Insecure,” “Boomerang”) stars as Anna, an ambitious young woman working in the world of music television in 1989 Los Angeles. Seeking to rise in the image-obsessed industry, she gets a hair weave, which helps give her career the desired boost but at a price. The hair comes to life and has its own agenda, which doesn’t necessarily mesh with Anna’s.
The film was written and directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) and boasts a solid cast that also includes Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Jay Pharoah, Kelly Rowland, James Van Der Beek, Blair Underwood and Usher Raymond.
“Anna is an aspiring VJ and aspiring host and she works in this radio/TV world,” Lorraine said. “And she’s really great, she has all the qualities that one would need to make it to the top except she doesn’t look the way everyone else looks or the way people feel like she should look. She doesn’t have that model thing going. She’s not coiffed perfectly.
“And we see her struggling back and forth with her roots and who she is naturally and who she wants to be and how she desires to walk through the world versus who everyone else says she has to be. And we see her start to make these small compromises physically and they change her internally.”
And that is where the demon weave comes in. Initially, all is well — the weave does its job and Anna advances in her career. But soon it begins doing its job a little too well.
“I think that there were times in which Anna’s voice was trapped and this hair gave her the strength and became her protector and defender to a certain degree,” Lorraine said. “But I think as she wanted her own identity back, it didn’t want to go that route, so it kind of started to have a mind of its own and become her antagonist.
“I can tell you that it definitely takes over,” she continued, “and it seeks its own sort of revenge out in the world … and has its own agenda. And once it decides to do something she has no control at that point.”
Ultimately, Lorraine says, this is a funny film with a serious message — about subjugating one’s own identity to pursue a goal, be it career or otherwise.
“I hope it starts conversations about standards,” she said, “and also it just reminds us that small compromises are fine. We all can grow and evolve but when we change ourselves based on other people’s perceptions or a singular identity, we lose so much more than we have to gain. So I hope for that.
“But most importantly, it’s a fun movie and it’s funny, so I hope people can go on that journey and experience the joy and realize that the depth is just one of the layers that they get to unpeel.”