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Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings – 5

Director – Jeff Burr

Cast – Andrew Robinson, Ami Dolenz, Soleil Moon Frye, J. Trevor Edmond, Hill Harper, Alexander Polinsky, Mark McCracken, Steve Kanaly, Gloria Hendry, Lilyan Chauvin

Release Year – 1994

Reviewed by John of the Dead

FX guru Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead is one of my all-time favorite creature films thanks to its awesome horror/creature and its strong revenge theme. Despite this love I had never given any of its sequels a chance and decided to embark on that journey in chronological order, starting with this film. Coming to us 6 years after its predecessor, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings is quite deserving of its poor ratings and bashing reviews thanks to its poor acting performances and bleak storyline, but that is not to say it does not come with some enjoyable elements. The cheese may be high, but so is the creature action and once again Pumpkinhead delivers solid horror but in a lesser package.

After a group of teenagers skip school and cause an old witch to be burned alive, the witch revives Pumpkinhead to exact revenge on the teenagers as well as the adults who had a hand in his death 30 years prior.

I don’t know about you but I have a feeling I will never tire of revenge films that involve creatures. Writers Constantine and Ivan Chachornia pen this screenplay and give us the same important elements used in the first film and somewhat make up for their faults by letting Pumpkinhead steal the show. The film begins with some backstory behind what happened to the soul that is Pumpkinhead and then fast forwards to modern day, where newly elected sheriff Sean Braddock returns to his childhood town as the new law of the county after spending time with the NYPD. His daughter, Jenny, was a troubled teen corrupted by the big city and Sean hopes that the small town country life will treat her better. Naturally she becomes involved with the wrong people – those responsible for resurrecting a killer the town refuses to speak of, and that creates extra conflict for Sean as he tries not only to save the town he swore an oath to but to also save his daughter as well. Aside from that we really do have a simple film that lets Pumpkinhead take care of what is really important and I was glad that the Chachornia brothers included lots of action and kills.

The first creature action hits the screen about 34 minutes into the film, and from then on out we watch as he first goes after those responsible for his sickening death 30 years prior and then sets his sights on those who set his mother on fire. Because the creature is going after two groups of people we are exposed to plenty of kills (10) to keep viewers entertained, and that played a big role in my enjoyment of this film. Sadly, this story does come with some major faults regarding dialogue and character-play, but if you can look past that and focus on the horror then there is a good possibility you will enjoy this story – the only one under the Chachornia brothers’ belts.

Director Jeff Burr does a fair job executing this piece, failing when it comes to little things and excelling when it comes to the horror. As mentioned earlier, the acting performances are pretty bad, and by bad I mean they are worse than what I usually see in the majority of 90s horror films. They are bad to the point that some viewers may not take the film as seriously as they should, but if you can look past or deal with the acting then the rest of Burr’s direction is good to go. I enjoyed his sets and the atmosphere provided by the country setting, but nothing tops his awesome usa of Pumpkinhead. We see the creature tear his victims limb from limb and then throw them out of windows and through walls, providing the utmost in awesome cheese. The look of the creature is the same as the first, except we see a lot more full-frontal action that left me surprised that such a low budget film would give the viewer so much live-action effects to enjoy. The incredible KNB effects company is responsible for the awesome scenes involving Pumpkinhead, and given they also worked on the Evil Dead series you may notice the Book of the Dead prop from Army of Darkness inside the witch’s home.

Overall, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings is a fun sequel to the 1988 classic. It does come with its faults and is by no means a “good” film, but if you enjoyed the first and can forgive a little then I am sure you will appreciate what this flick has to offer.

Rating: 5/10

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