November 19, 2013

Movie Review: Pumpkinhead II - Blood Wings

Way back in 1988 legendary make up and special effects guru Stan Winston decided to try his hand at directing. The result was a horror movie that has become something of an underrated classic. Seriously, it is a movie that I frequently forget about and forget about how awesome it is, or at least parts of it. The movie is Pumpkinhead and it features a great creature and a great lead performance from Lance Henriksen. It was perfectly set up for a sequel and seemed like the perfect choice for a franchise. Unfortunately, it took six years for one to materialize and it went straight to video! On top of that, it appears they chose not to pay attention to what came before.

In 1994 the sequel arrived in the form of Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. It made its debut on the shelves of your local mom and pop rental chain where it seemed destined to die. You see, this is not a proper sequel. This is not a movie made by people involved with the first one. This is not a movie where those involved paid attention to the original. This is a name only sequel that was made in order to make money rather than for any artistic merit.

Now, to be completely honest, this is not a terrible movie. It is merely an unnecessary one. It is a shame, the original set up the world and the creature so well just to be retold in this forgettable fashion. Where the first one was a nightmare brought to life and the terrible consequences that can bring, this one just feels like a typical slasher at best.

Blood Wings is the sequel to tries to nail down the origin of the monster. It begins in a black and white past where a group of six guys spy the deformed Tommy, they chase him down, beat him, stab him, and ultimately dump his body down an old mine shaft. The scene then shifts to the present, Sean Braddock (Andrew Robinson) has taken the sheriff job in a small town, moving his daughter, Jenny (Ami Dolenz), there with him.

Jenny falls in with the wrong crowd of thrill seeking country kids. One night, they accidentally hit an old
woman with their car (she is said to be a witch and was guardian to Tommy). They go to find her, discover her home, and ultimately steal some cursed blood. They go to a cemetery that looks a lot like the one from Pet Semetary and resurrect Pumpkinhead. The creature then goes on a rampage through the kids that woke him and killed the old woman, as well as the six who killed Tommy so many years before.

The movie has mediocre effects, a creature design that pales to the original, weak acting, and a dull script. Still, it manages to be a moderate diversion. It has some blood, some screaming, some death, and some vengeance. I only wish it came close to the original.

One thing this movie does have is an interesting cast. The cast has the daughter of Micky Dolenz, Andrew Robinson from Hellraiser, Punky Brewster hereself, Soleil Moon Frye, blaxploitation star Gloria Hendry (Black Caesar, Black Belt Jones), Roger Clinton (brother to Bill), Leatherface's RA Mihailoff, scream queen Linnea Quigley (Night of the Demons, Return of the Living Dead, Creepozoids), and Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7-10, Hatchet 1-3). An interesting collection to say the least. On top of that, it was directed by Jeff Burr. He is not a great director, but he had Leatherface and The Offspring under his belt.

I am not sure why it took so long for a Pumpkinhead sequel to appear, we are just left to lament the fact it does not take advantage of the better parts of the original. I will say I will try to remember not to underestimate the first, it really is quite good. I will also never forger just how this wastes all the potential for something very typical.

Not Recommended.

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