In the last year I’ve watched the original Pumpkinhead twice; once on the big screen under a slightly different name on 35mm and the other time on Scream Factory Blu-ray. Before that it honestly had been awhile since I had had the chance to enjoy it, maybe even since I was a kid. Having kids now, the original is heartbreaking but still maintains the pure 80’s teenagers vs. the demon style that was a rather successful formula during that period. What makes it stands out is the heart and the Lance Henriksen performance. The makeup is iconic and perfect. The kills and attitude are in your face despite having a fairly low Pumpkinhead to film ratio (that’s how the monster movies work the best). You now have the chance to own Pumpkinhead II from Scream Factory. This may be one of the occasions where I say that this is clearly a purchase driven by personal taste.
I admit that this may be the first time I’ve watched Pumphead II in totality. I’ve seen selected scenes on cable. Reason? Because it frankly isn’t very good. The heart isn’t here. No Lance. The cast of teen characters aren’t nearly as strong and you just don’t carry about anyone long enough to see them live past the third act much less the second or first (and yet they do survive). Why watch Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings? For completeness. To understand how the story evolved and to better understand why this series didn’t progress even with a truly fantastic vengeance demon. As I always say, if you don’t love the characters and want them to live in an 80’s movie, then you better get to see the villain destroy them in either a profound or unique way. That’s not exactly what we get in Pumpkinhead II. The original seems to have the better kills and the characters about which you can care.
If you want something more positive to take away from this release, it’s that it is lovingly cared for in Scream Factory’s own way. They gave this one the same treatment they might pay a more prominent movie, a better movie, and that is admirable. Pumpkinhead II does have it’s fans, and I would say the reason is due to an increased amount of screen time for the big bad guy. That doesn’t mean that our monster looks better because he doesn’t. With Pumpkinhead, less is more. You also get a more in depth look at the origin story behind the monster. It doesn’t save the end of the movie, but it does add to the canon.
The transfer is good, and this one actually got some extras. The original cover art is perserved.
· Audio Commentary with director Jeff Burr
· RE-CREATING THE BEAST – featuring new interviews with special effects artists Greg Nicotero, Gino Crognale and actor Mark McCraken
· MAKING MOVIES – an interview with director Jeff Burr
· Behind-the-scenes footage
Growing up with a pack of Fright Flicks cards in my hands I was always excited to rent the original Pumpkinhead but never to watch the sequel despite having a cover that seemed to give me everything I wanted. Call it horror instinct or maybe it was the subtitle, Blood Wings. I kept thinking “red wings” which is a badge of honor in the teenage boys circle (Google it but not at work). I do not believe in shelving any horror movie (except Creepshow 3), and I’m glad to see Scream Factory gave both movies in the “franchise” a home together. If you’re going to pick up part II make sure you also buy the original with the updated cover art and powerful extra package. This also a great way to catch up with Linnea Quigley and Kane Hodder (though neither actor offers my favorite performance).
You can buy Pumpkinhead II now:
Synopsis From Scream Factory:
When five teenagers unwittingly resurrect a demon, nobody is safe from the creature’s bloody rampage. But this monster is different – inside its demonic form dwells the soul of a boy murdered years ago. Can the evil creature be killed without destroying the innocent boy trapped within?
Starring Amy Dolenz (Witchboard 2, Ticks), Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser), Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster), Hill Harper (CSI: NY), J. Trevor Edmond (Lord of Illusions), Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead) and Kane Hodder (Hatchet), Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings unleashes a non-stop barrage of gruesome gore from one of horror’s most iconic monsters.