Friday, 25 April 2014

Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings (1993)

Before we get down to the serious business of talking about PUMPKINHEAD II, I’d just like you to take a moment to read the tag line on the film’s cover displayed, for your convenience, just to the left of this bit. Then I’d like you to consider whether it makes sense, or if it is, in fact, just a random jumble of words thrown together in the hope that the average horror fan will be able to make some sense of it although God knows exactly what. The wily amongst you will already have guessed why I’ve suggested you do this, because PUMPKINHEAD II’s tagline is nothing if not an honest representation of the film that you are about to watch. 
Random, silly, daft and dopey, PUMPKINHEAD II is the kind of film you'll get the most out of if you watch it with friends, and only once enough alcohol has been consumed and a sufficient air of jollity has been achieved so you can appreciate itsumnuances.

We begin with a black and white flashback sequence that looks suspiciously like the start of a Monty Python sketch, as a rumpled old woman wanders about outside her shack waving about a plate of meaty chunks. The food is for her son, and if he doesn’t have enough problems having to put up with this less than balanced diet, he also has to suffer the indignity of being the Deformed Freak the Smooth Kids Are Going to Kill. In this case the smooth kids are six chaps whose moniker, The Red Wings, sounds more like a tactless name for a feminine hygiene product than the Tough & Cool Gang image it's presumably intended to create.
          Junior dies horribly, and we flash forward to 1993, where Andrew Robinson has escaped the clutches of Clare Higgins and the rest of the cenobites in HELLRAISER, and got himself a job in a quiet little country town where Bill Clinton’s brother is the mayor, complete with a really awful mullet (is there any other kind?) and a guitar. Andrew’s teenaged daughter Jenny (Ami Dolenz) falls in with ‘the wrong crowd’. They’re certainly not right, because their idea of fun involves the girl who used to play someone called Punky Brewster in a US TV series in the 1980s (Soleil Moon Frye) reading a spell torn from a Book of Shadows (how does she know this?) while the Blood of Someone Damned (yet another little factoid she’s just "able to sense", presumably because of her long stint in network television) is sprinkled on the deformed corpse buried at the centre of a mystic circle that they’ve decided to dig up. Oh, and the old lady whose house they pinched the spell and the blood from has just been smacked over the head and left to burn to death by their leader Danny (J Trevor Edmond).

Surely nothing can go wrong?
Somehow all this amateurishness results in the monster Pumpkinhead (see the other pictures on this page - he’s really rather a good monster, isn’t he?) being brought back to life and then going on the rampage. The witch has cursed the kids with her not-quite-dying-because-we-need-her-a-bit-later-to-explain-what’s-going-on-breath, but before he can get to them he has to kill off the members of the Red Wings. With such a shopping list of murders to be getting on with it’s surprising the film isn’t longer, but it’s all over in 84 minutes, for which I think we can all be grateful. Before the credits finally roll we’ve been treated to the sight of Kane Hodder’s chicken fighting farm and the deaf and dumb sister his character is sleeping with, as well as poor old Steve Kanaly, who survived nearly 300 episodes of DALLAS only to end up meeting a sticky end in this.
If you think this means I didn’t enjoy PUMPKINHEAD II, nothing could be further from the truth. The dialogue is terrible, the acting is awful (except for Andrew Robinson) and if any single movie could be considered the inspiration for comedy spoofs like GARTH MARENGHI’S DARKPLACE this is it. As if that isn't enough to have you reaching for the 'buy' button on Amazon right now it just happens to have a great monster that pops up every now and then and kills someone.
101 Films presents PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS in its original shot-for-home-video aspect ratio of 1.33:1. There are no extras which didn’t surprise me at all. Who needs them when you have entertainment like this?

101 Films are releasing PUMPKINHEAD 2: BLOOD WINGS on DVD on 21st April 2014. I salute the taste of anyone who buys it on the basis of this review.

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