Lacking so much of what made the original such a great film, Pumpkinhead II is a disappointment covered with that 90’s horror stink. What happened in the early 90’s? Everyone had run out of ideas & sequel after sequel was being released with ever diminishing results. Sure, the 80’s has its fair share of sequels too but amongst all of that was so many exciting & original ideas.
One such sequel that the 90s spat out was Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (what the hell are Blood Wings!?). A sequel that has a poor story, worse actors & even worse effects.
Check out our review of the 1988 cult classic horror, Pumpkinhead here.
The movie opens in 1958 where we meet Tommy (Jean-Paul Manoux), a deformed orphan who is tormented by a group of bullies from the local town. They beat him, cut him with knives, hang him before dropping him down a mine shaft. It’s absolutely brutal to watch. We know nothing about Tommy at this point aside from his clear deformities & him being looked after by the local witch.
The bullies…good gods are they an absolute bunch of bastards. Their reasons for attacking Tommy are based around his deformities but the level of brutality they inflict on him is really disturbing. Their glee & enjoyment of it makes it so much worse. The way in which Tommy screams as he is hung up, slashed & then dropped down the deep mine shaft is haunting.
It’s an incredibly dark opening & the only good part of the movie.
We then jump 35 years later & meet Sheriff Sean Braddock (Andrew Robinson) who has just returned to the town with his wife & teenage daughter, Jenny (Ami Dolenz). At school, Jenny meets a group of wild kids led by Danny (J. Trevor Edmond) who she falls for.
The Sheriff warns Danny away from his daughter but the kid is the son of the local judge so gets away with quite a bit. One night, after a bit of car-pilfering the group accidently hits the local witch. Worried they may have hurt her badly they go to her house to check on her & find that she was going to bring Tommy back to life.
They steal her spells & try it out for themselves but presume it didn’t work. Not content with being just a bunch of horrible people they also have set fire to the witches’ house! So, what do they do? Run! Fortunately for them she survives but ends up in hospital. Unfortunately for them, the resurrection spell worked & Tommy is back…as Pumpkinhead. He’s got revenge in mind starting with the people who killed him 35 years before.
It’s up to Sheriff Braddock to find out what is going on, stop the creature & save his daughter!
Where do I start with this mess? After such a strong start, it quickly loses all momentum. The cast are introduced bit by bit & each is blander then the last. Even good actors & actresses suffer under the weight of a poor story. A cast made up of Andrew Robinson, Linnea Quigley & Steve Kanaly shouldn’t be this boring!
It’s disappointing to see good actors having to ask question after question because, for reasons I don’t understand, this Pumpkinhead monster gets a more detailed story & is made into a sympathetic character. What made the first movie such a great watch was the combination of a classic story, great acting & a monster that had no remorse & wouldn’t stop until it completed its task.
Here we get Tommy as Pumpkinhead acting for himself seemingly. Just so we can up the body count with two different groups being attacked. That is at least a positive but then again, the effects look worse & the film’s gore has a more cartoony feel.
Still pretty fun though.
That it all culminates in the Sherriff talking to Pumpkinhead/Tommy & sad music playing as it is gunned down by a posse is hilariously misjudged. Regardless of what happened at the start of the movie this isn’t called Tommy, it’s called Pumpkinhead! That is the monster, that is the killer & there is no chance of sympathy for it just because most of the cast are a bunch of cretins.
A very disappointing watch. It’s not a complete disaster but it is so poor in comparison to the first. Also, what the hell are ‘Blood Wings’?
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Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings