Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993)

Pumpkinhead-II

With the original’s star Lance Henrisksen gone, and his purpose fulfilled, there’s really nowhere to go with the pumpkinhead mythology, so the sequel just strings together a humdrum revenge tale. Or “Pumpkinhead Knows What You Did Last Summer.” The original “Pumpkinhead” may not have been a masterpiece by any definition, but it was assuredly a solid revenge film with a unique monster. Director Jeff Burr’s follow up is a sub-par mess that has no real grasp on what kind of tale it wants to tell, its main downfall being the abysmal performances by the entire cast.

There isn’t a single convincing turn here, nor is there a single likable character in the bunch. Even our sheriff protagonist aiming to stop pumpkinhead comes off as inept and simple minded, even when investigating ahead of the actual police in Kansas. After an awfully boring and sadistic prologue involving a local deformed boy who suffers a horrific murder by bullies from the town in 1958, we set down in Kansas in the present. Now we center on Sheriff Braddock who is now running the town, and is on constant watch for his daughter Jenny. She, of course, has a rebellious streak which attracts her to the local delinquents. Despite his protests, she sneaks for a night of murder and man slaughter, all in a string of events more laughable than creepy.

These villains have absolutely no shades of grey to them, as opposed to the original film where the revenge plot was based around a terrible accident and intense vindication. After a night out drinking and driving, Jenny and her group of friends hit the local shut in, they help her by dragging her back to her house, stealing her potion to revive the dead (in the grave from Pet Sematary, no less?), and leaving her to burn alive in her house. Ah, teenagers. For reasons never explained, the teens dig up the corpse of her long dead son and revive him from the dead, unknowingly reviving pumpkinhead in all his clunky, slow glory. Granted, the pumpkin head is a creepy monster, but the way he walks and at the speeds he approaches his victims, you could drive away, and ready an army before it came anywhere near your throat.

It’s never indicated if the beast is capable of teleportation, but surely enough it’s always in the right places, and catches its victims to dole out horrific revenge every time. Is that where its “blood wings” enter the scene? Why didn’t we ever see them? In either case, you can’t find too much room to complain since we see the monster in full body shots, and he looks vicious, despite the effects being less stellar than Stan Winston’s original model. As stated in the aforementioned paragraph, you’d be hard pressed to find any remotely lifelike performances in the entire cast. The teen thugs are for the most part your standard stock villains, while Gloria Hendry seems to enjoy chewing the scenery. “Blood Wings” is a very low rent follow up to what should have been a quality horror series. It’s a shame the monster and concept itself was bogged down by low budgets and no vision.