If the 1980s was famous for its slasher output then the 90s must be famous for its output of some fairly questionable sequels. It seemed that with the prolific output of source material within the 80s that given time the release and re-releases of films saw even the most obscure sleeper hits gaining notoriety. Whilst I could list so many franchises which spawned upto five sequels, I would argue that the Pumpkinhead movie was actually one of the more valid.
With an eerie back story, some amazing creature design, and a thoroughly dark (rather than camp) tone to the movie, it seemed logical not to let the vengeful Pumpkinhead rot for long.
Recently released with a decent picture quality by 101 films ‘Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings’ is about everything you would expect it to be. Not quite as good as the first, but arguably better than its sequels it is well worth a watch. Whilst the story is far from thought provoking, it stays within the boundaries of the original concept – well just about. In the sequel an old hermit witch curses a range of youths who mock and ultimately play their part in her demise. If that wasn’t enough, they also manage to get pissed and partake in their own black magic ritual and try to resurrect the body of the local village retard who was killed years ago but none other than their own fathers. Anyhow, several scenes later the old lady enacts her death rite, seeking revenge for all her wrongdoings and before long then Pumpkinhead demon is back and doing what he does best - murdering anyone involved, both present and past.
As with the rules of all sequels the storyline may suffer, but the body count increases, and this is certainly true of this movie. Whilst the original was far from massively violent, it played the tension well. For such a big monster the creature was cunningly masked from view in a lot of scenes, and you only get to see the whole beast in a few choice shots. In this movie he’s out and about a lot, and whilst creature prosthetics may have moved on in Hollywood, here it doesn’t do the monster much justice, with the exception that he ends up killing a lot more people. The gore is reasonably bloody, and the effects are cheap, but all said and done it does the job. The 15 certificate should probably tell you all you need to know about how hardcore this movie isn’t, but still there are plentiful deaths scattered throughout, including one less than realistic dismemberment.
Whilst the movie does maintain some of that 80s charm, it also suffers from the straight to VHS pitfalls that so many 1990s movies do; predominantly that it was made for next to nothing. Whilst its true special effects were becoming slightly more advanced, the best effects were still reserved for the big budget, and the effects in this movie are somewhat dated. The acting too seems less nostalgic and more TV series, and the characters, well gone is the sleaze and type casting, now all the teens are replaced by their luke-warm PC counterparts.
Overall as you might expect ‘Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings’ is an adequate, and enjoyable sequel, but certainly not perfect. Rest assured the DVD release will definitely please fans, and for others who just want to see one of the more obscure 90s franchises it a great package to pick up. There are some really amusing scenes and some nice flourishes throughout but for the most part its recommended for some light and relativity inoffensive viewing.