Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sequels I've Never Seen Week - Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings


I've always been a big fan of the original Pumpkinhead.  At the same time though, my love for it is kind of strange.  It rarely comes to mind whenever I'm rattling off titles of my favorite horror films, and it's generally only when I go back and revisit it that I remember just how much I dig it.  Not sure what that means, if anything, but yea.  I love the character of Pumpkinhead and the whole atmosphere of the movie, and it's just all around smart and different from the typical slasher fare that the 80's were known for.  It's a special film, for sure.

Six years after Stan Winston directed the film came the sequel, Pumpkinhead 2 : Blood Wings, which went straight to video.  Directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3's Jeff Burr, Blood Wings tells very much the same tale that the first one did, only this time with the spirit of a Victor Crowley looking young boy who was killed decades prior coming back in the body of Pumpkinhead to seek vengeance on those who killed him.  Story goes that after the deformed feral boy was murdered by a group of dickhead 'cool guys', his body was claimed and buried by an old witch woman named Miss Osie, who is essentially Pumpkinhead 2's answer to Pumpkinhead's Haggis.  In fact, they're pretty much the same woman, though the different names suggest they're not.  OK then.

In the present day, another group of dickhead cool kids are driving around wildly one night with their headlights off, and they run head on into Miss Osie.  When they go to check on her, they find she's nowhere to be found.  So they go to her cabin in the woods, where they fuck around with her voodoo magic, put her into a coma and unwittingly resurrect the feral boy (who's buried in her yard), in the body of something a little more formidable than a weak child who can't fend for himself; Pumpkinhead.

The rest, well, you've already seen it all before.

Blood Wings is a strange sequel because it's both very similar to and yet very different from its predecessor.  On the one hand it totally deviates from the storyline/mythos of the first but on the other, it's staged and plays out very much the same way as that first outing.  But yea, it's more a recreation of the original Pumpkinhead than anything else, only far less interesting or entertaining.  The poorly written script pretty much just goes through the motions laid out in Pumpkinhead, resulting in an hour and a half filled with the relaying of information that we already know.  It's one of those movies where we know exactly what's going on going into it and though things should be pretty clear to all characters involved, they never seem to believe that the giant claw marks or torn apart bodies are the work of the giant clawed mythical demon that lives on that land, and is known for ... tearing apart bodies.  Stupid characters who can't seem to grasp what's going on, despite how obvious it should be to them; one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to horror flicks.  It's just so frustrating and boring to watch characters for nearly the entire movie try to piece together what we already know.  This is Pumpkinhead 2 for crying out loud, can't we bypass all the getting to know you business and just get to the good stuff?

Unfortunately, there's not much good stuff here, at all.  Blood Wings is an exercise in generic horror cliches from start to finish, an incredibly boring exercise at that.  The layout of the film is so monotonous, with awkward poorly written character interactions followed by quick and lame kills of characters we never meet until right before they're killed followed by more poorly written awkward character interactions.  That's basically the entire movie in a nutshell, and the badness of it all boils down to the fact that the script is just fucking terrible.  It feels like a script written for the Syfy network, which I guess is kind of fitting given that Pumpkinhead 3 & 4 were Syfy Originals.  This one quite frankly belongs right alongside them on the network.

Another big time factor working against the movie being any good whatsoever is the acting.  Maybe it's the poor writing that is to blame in that department too, but the acting is pretty awful all around, with cringe worthy line after cringe worthy line being uttered in an awkward manner almost nonstop throughout the movie.  Again though, the writing is largely to blame for that too.

It's such a shame because Pumpkinhead is such a cool monster and the whole idea of that creature is so interesting, seemingly fertile ground for some really cool shit.  Blood Wings just feels like such a waste of that creature and that universe.  It's a totally lifeless sequel that saves any semblance of excitement, gore or coolness for the final 10 minutes, and by that time it's just a tad bit too late.  Those final minutes do sort of give you a glimpse at the fun movie it could've been though, had the original script been tossed in the trash and written by somebody a little more qualified.  For the record, the people that wrote it never wrote another movie afterwards ... gee, I wonder why?!


If there's anything good I can say about the movie it's that Pumpkinhead looks badass.  He was created this time around by KNB EFX and I was glad to see that they didn't take any liberties with changing anything from Winston's design.  A lot of times monsters look a bit different in sequels, and it was nice to see ole P-Head looking as cool as ever.  So ya, at least there's some of that cool Pumpkinhead imagery in there, including him bursting through doorways and giving dude's epic backbreakers.  Counts for something, I guess.

Aside from that, the only thing that makes the movie even remotely worth watching is the cast, which is comprised of many recognizable horror veterans.  Hellraiser's Andrew Robinson is one of the leads, as are Silent Night, Deadly Night's Mother Superior, Lilyan Chauvin, who plays Miss Osie, and Return of the Living Dead 3's J. Trevor Edmond.  Nightmare On Elm Street/Chainsaw 3's Joe Unger is also in there and a topless Linnea Quigley (that's redundant, eh?!), Kane Hodder & R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface from Chainsaw 3) all appear in very small roles.  Also keep an eye out for a cameo appearance from Evil Dead's Book of the Dead, which KNB threw in as a set decoration in Miss Osie's cabin!

This one was a total letdown for me, given how much I dig Pumpkinhead as well as the fact that I'm a big fan of Jeff Burr's TCM 3, which he directed just a few years prior.  If things go so far downhill in only the second installment, I honestly can't even imagine how bad the following two sequels must be.  Though I've heard Pumpkinhead is CG'ed in one of them, so I think I have a pretty good idea.  Then again I also hear that those films both ignore the events of Blood Wings and instead follow the events of the first one, which I actually like the sound of.  I'm sure I'll watch them both at some point and I'm sure I'll report my findings once I do!

The immature child inside of me must point out before I end this post how unfortunate the sub-title of this film is, being that the term 'Blood Wings' has in recent years become known as something you earn when you go down on a girl while she's on her period.  Pumpkinhead, you's a pervy ass mawfucka!!


Frank Browning said...

I always liked part II, but its been years since I've seen it... Maybe it was my adolescent ignorance that lead to believe it was good, LOL.

BTW, nice banner on your article ;)

Johnny said...

Haha ya, having seen movies as a kid always adds a few points to your enjoyment of them!

Thanks again for the banners, gonna do a little post at the end of the week thanking those who submitted them. So if you've got anything you want me to plug for ya, let me know!

Frank Browning said...

I know exactly what you mean. I'm gonna have to give it a re-watch now though, considering all the cameos you mentioned. Andy Robinson was the only one I remembered, LOL...

MJ said...

I always meant to see this. But now, not so much!