Saturday, October 17, 2009

14 Days: Pumpkinhead 2 - Blood Wings (1994)

Pumpkinhead does not need an origin story. The original is scary, in large part, because we don't know exactly where the thing comes from (we assume hell, but it's never made clear). It just is. It's summoned, it kills those who have been chosen for extermination, it goes back to wherever the hell it came from when it's finished. It's simple. It's perfect.

Not only does Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings give it an origin story, they also humanize the fucker. Now the thing's a god damned "he". See, turns out Pumpkinhead is actually the deformed son of that witch that lives in the mountains (I guess). Years ago, some kids got together, sliced him up, and dropped him down a well. So, his mother casts a few incantations and he's reborn as pumpkinhead. Of course, he can only be summoned by his mother...and, in that case, only rest after he's killed his marks. Other than the addition of an origin story, this is the same god damned movie as the first one (minus the Lance Henriksen).

Some rowdy kids (including the Sheriff's daughter of course) accidentaly burn down the witch's home (with her inside). So, I guess she summons Pumpkinhead while she's burning...or maybe from the burn ward in the hospital. Whatever, man. Then the kids spend the picture running, hiding, futilely fighting off Pumpkinhead. There's a neat twist involving Pumpkinhead receiving 2 sets of marks; we got the kids that burned his momma and also the kids (now adults) that killed him in the first place. Or, maybe Pumpkinhead just decided to kill the 2nd set on his own...sort of a twofer deal. So, I guess a little different from the first one.

Somehow, amidst all this dreck, we got a good performance or two. Notably Andrew Robinson (the dad in Hellraiser) as the sheriff. His daughter is ably played by Ami Dolenz (any relation to Micky?). Also, Roger Clinton (yes, Bill's half brother) appears as the mayor, Bubba. Amusingly, when he thinks of Pumpkinhead, he thinks dollar signs and compares it to Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, etc. Something to "put our little town on the map". Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) shows up and gets skewered.

So, it's not a very good picture but I laughed a few times. I can't imagine those laughs were unintentional. Most of these laughs center around the medical examiner who shows up at the Sheriff's home, during breakfast with his family, to give the results of the autopsy; "His limbs were severed..." Uh huh. She immediately makes the following observation after finding a body; "If an animal got old Ernst, it wasn't of this world." Her best line involves a character being "one step away from scared to death." She's a great character.

Pumpkinhead looks the same as he always does. He appears, against shots backlit with lightning, looks menacing, kills a few people and disappears. I didn't notice any wings or anything though. Or, being more specific, "blood wings". Not sure what the subtitle is about. Maybe they were in the original script, but they didn't have the budget for them or something. We also only got one stylistic flourish in the entire picture. I don't always call for this shit, I'm fine when the style is a lack of style, as long as the story is compelling me. Here though, they got a scene where a hole is dug from the perspective of a shovel. It's a jarring moment, especially when you consider how flat the rest of the picture is. Jeff Burr (the director of this and Leatherface), embrace the style! This isn't a very good one. We got a couple boobies, a severed head, maybe a brief shot of a disembowelment. I watched it with some pumpkinhead beer so it was pretty tolerable. Went down smooth. The beer I mean.


d said...

I just might have to see this one.
Also, I remember Ami Dolenz! She is Micky's daughter. My sister and I used to watch this movie ( all the time when we were younger, though I'm not entire sure why.

brian said...

Wow, Tony Danza AND Wallace Shawn? I think I remember watching this on HBO.