Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees beware…PUMPKINHEAD IS BACK! In the sequel to the smash hit, Pumpkinhead returns to the screen to wreak vengeance on the living. Out for a thrill one night, Jenny Braddock and her teenage friends stumble upon Witch Osie’s cabin and unintentionally resurrect a demon from rural myth – the vengeful creature known as Pumpkinhead. When a series of brutal murders begins to overtake the small town, Sheriff Braddock’s only clue is a chilling blood splash in the shape of wings. His investigation leads him to a final terrifying confrontation between the monster and the teens that brought him back to life.
The original Pumpkinhead film that was directed by the legend that was Stan Winston was a pretty impressive horror film that ticked all the right boxes and made the title character popular with horror fans worldwide so a sequel wasn’t far off. Released direct to video in 1994 and directed by Jeff Burr (Leatherface : Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3) and starring Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser) with creature and gore effects done by KNB FX, this pretty much had sure fire hit all over it for me. Unfortunately Blood Wings is just a carbon copy of the first film and pretty poor at that. Woeful acting, cliché ridden script and rubbery looking FX (but the outrageous early 90’s fashion and hair styles can be quite entertaining though), Perhaps I was expecting something that built upon the first film. Featuring cameos from Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), Leanne Quigly (Return of the Living Dead) and a completely pointless but humorous appearance from Roger Clinton (brother of former US president Bill) as Guitar twanging Mayor Bubba. It’s a pretty poor movie at the end of the day but there is a bit of entertainment value within this film that giving the right situation, can provide an evenings entertainment with friends.
Pumpkinhead II : Blood Wings arrives on a single layer DVD with a pillarboxed 1.33:1 full screen transfer. The transfer for this release seems to be sourced from an ancient master. One that I presume was prepared for Laserdisc as this is a bit far from what I expect from a recent DVD release regarding quality. Generally very soft looking with lack of detail with Digital Noise Reduction present as there wasn’t any grain visible throughout. Colours seems to be spot on though and there was no (colour) bleeding observed. Since I have my TV set to overscan (to ensure I getting as much image as possible), it’s pretty evident that there is a small vertical black bar running down the right side of the screen. because the film is pillarboxed anyway, it won’t effect the picture and will blend in. Upon looking at the various releases of this film, it’s pretty much the same worldwide so given what masters are available, It’s watchable.
Pumpkinhead II : Blood Wings comes with a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio mix. Recorded originally in Ultra Stereo, the sound mix on this DVD never really has any impact with the exception of a few low ends contained in the film’s music score. Dialogue is muffled and was a strain to hear throughout the film. It never really comes to life and whilst the atmospheric settings with trees creaking, wind howling and thunder roaring through the sky pretty much throughout, whilst serviceable, it doesn’t have enough impact.
Unfortunately none of the bonus features from the US DVD have been ported over (a commentary and a brief behind the scenes featurette).
Pumpkinhead II : Blood Wings was always on that to watch list for me. Part of me feels that it should of stayed on that to watch list for a while longer. The film is a poor sequel and really doesn’t tie in with anything that made the original such a good film. There is some entertainment value in it so horror fans maybe tempted to give it a watch but don’t expect much unless you get a kick for early 90’s stuff (which I do funny enough). It was only hearing about this UK DVD release that I heard that there were another two instalments in the franchise (both featuring Lance Henrikson) which are now on the to watch list. Looking at the technical aspects of this release, it doesn’t fare to well in all honesty but for a film like this, I wasn’t expecting much. It will be interesting to see how the upcoming US Blu-ray release compares.
Special thanks to 101 Films for supplying the retail disc for this review