But there aren’t any wings made of blood… Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings

The titles of these films confuse me, frankly. I’m still at a loss as to why it’s called Pumpkinhead, but this time out they went one step further and picked something “cool sounding” for the title of the sequel. Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings features neither a demon with a head shaped like a vegetable, nor does it have anything at all to do with wings of blood. I get the feeling that this was very apparent to writers Constantine and Ivan Chachornia (and somebody called Will Hutton who is “uncredited”) given that they literally have the main character stumble on one of Pumpkinhead’s victims, look around and exclaim “Blood Wings”. Righto, that wasn’t forced or anything, honestly, it sounded completely natural to me.

That, sadly, is the level of quality we’re talking about in this less than stellar sequel.

It was always going to be extremely difficult to follow Stan Winston’s original, given that absolutely everybody from the first film that may be able to continue the story (including Lance Henriksen himself) croaked. So, the decision was made to completely ignore the first film. I can see the logic behind this, actually, as the first film finished with plenty of scope for vengeance related sequels, but there’s really no excuse for the ridiculously pathetic story that they did settle on.

This time out, the film opens in black and white with the savage murder of local freak and retard “Tommy” by a pathetic gang of rejects from West Side Story called “The Red Wings”. I think the writers are the only 2 people in the world that know quite why they felt it incumbent to murder the poor mong, but nevertheless, they string him up, creatively cut him and then drop him to his doom.This will, apparently, be important later on, so I hope you were paying attention at the back.

Fast forward to the present day, and we’re introduced to horror legend Andrew Robinson’s (don’t believe me? The dude was in a lot of horror, including the seminal Hellraiser, and the dismal Child’s Play 3)annoying douchebag Sheriff Braddock. This is, while I’m thinking about it a staggeringly wretched and disinterested performance. He looks like he’d rather be anywhere than in this film. Braddock couldn’t hack it in New York, so upped sticks and moved to the ass-end of nowhere bringing along his annoying wife and even more annoying daughter (Ami Dolenz, daughter of Mickey). Apparently Jessica took more pricks than a dartboard in the big apple, and no sooner has she arrived than she’s already hooking up with a group of cretins that are just begging to be assaulted by an angry vengeance demon. Through events to tedious and annoying to go into, the douchebags manage to beat up an old witch and raise Pumpkinhead from the grave.

Bad mistake, that.

Pumpkinhead, once up and about, doesn’t even pause for a morning dump, instead setting about all the “Red Wings” that killed him to begin with, and the kids that raised him (ungrateful twat), while Braddock using truly Closeau-esque powers of detection solves the whole thing in the background. The film culminates with the Pumpkinhead being talked round by Braddock as a gang of local inbreds blow him back to hell. Which completely ignores the fact that he was completely invulnerable for the previous 90 minutes or so.

Pretty shitty stuff, to tell the truth.

Nevertheless, it seems like I’ve just described a wretched film, and I have. The acting in this pos is universally dismal- you know a film is bad when Linnea Quigley puts in the best performance. Dolenz is almost passable, but struggles with the ridiculous demands the script puts on her- there’s absolutely no reason why she would take up with Paul in the first place, he’s a giant phallus of a human being. It looks like she’s understandably struggling for motivation, as she can see that he’s clearly a total bell-end.

However, the acting, while crap, isn’t the worst thing about this. For some reason, and fuck knows why, the writers decided to throw the mythology of the first film out and reinvent it for this one. Pumpkinhead, this time, is the son of a human woman and the original Pumpkinhead. Following me so far? When he was born, he was dismal ugly retard Tommy, and once dead, he can call on his full demonic powers, or some such shit. Braddock is able to talk Tommy down by duty of appealing to his inner retard- that’s the climax of the film. Pathetic.

Then there are the Pumpkinhead effects themselves. I don’t know how they managed this, given that the first film was there to copy, but Pumpkinhead is shorter, stockier, more stupid looking and, weirdly given the passage of time, more plastic looking. This leads to several moments of unintentional hilarity, but none more so than the head-tearing scene, and as for the attempt to emote, well, the less said about that the better.

I’ve given this a good pasting so far, but there are redeeming features to it. The kills are fun, and there’s some boob to keep the kids interested, but if I’m absolutely honest, this is almost a textbook example of how not to do a sequel.

Overall, I don’t really recommend this film, in fact, I do have to say that it’s kind of shit. It isn’t Orangutan of Doom material, given that there are laughs to be had from it, but it’s a confused and confusing mess that squanders a great premise. If anything, the film reeks of “trying too hard”- everything about it feels forced and unnatural. So, to be absolutely fair, I give it one Chang out of four.

Next up is the first of the back-to-back Pumpkinheads and Lance returns. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. And it’s got an even more inexplicable title.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

31 responses to “But there aren’t any wings made of blood… Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings”

  1. Jarv says :

    The only interesting thing about this film is that Bill Clinton’s brother is in it.

    Apparently, but I’m unconvinced

  2. ThereWolf says :

    As with Candyman, I ignored the Pumpkinhead sequels. I recall seeing the ‘Blood Wings’ trailer and it just looked like so much pap.

    I also ignored the Hellraiser sequels. Are you doing the Hellraiser series, Jarv? How did they manage to fuck up that concept…

  3. Jarv says :

    I’m thinking about it, but from 3 onwards they’re shit

  4. Continentalop says :

    I remember see part of this years ago. Even the presence of Ami Dolenz couldn’t get me through this (and I watched a lot of shit with her in it).

    And the gangs called the Red Wings? Do you have to go down on a menstruating woman to join? Maybe that’s why it is called Blood Wings?

    • kloipy says :

      LOL Conti- I always wondered why they went with ‘blood wings’ just sounded too much like an unwanted badge of honor. It’s the 12th already, baby???

    • xiphos0311 says :

      When you graduate from Army Airborne School they attached the metal jump wings to your utilities via the time honored method of punching them into your chest so the metal pins draw blood. They call that getting your “Blood Wings”. It’s been done that way since the ’40.

  5. kloipy says :

    great review Jarv- I think i actually saw this before i saw the first one way long ago. it sucked then, I’m sure it sucks worse now

  6. Franklin Thomas Marmoset says :

    The original Pumpkinhead didn’t do much for me. Very cool looking monster, but the film itself was disappointing.

    Wasn’t it called Pumpkinhead because the witch made it out of a pumpkin or something?

    Anyway, never seen any of the sequels. From the sound of it, that’s probably the sensible choice.

    Hooray! I’m sensible!

  7. Spud McSpud says :

    Seriously missed opportunity, that. PUMPKINHEAD: NIGHTMARE should be a stop-motion slasher flick of how Jack Skellington finally goes insane, finds a way into our reality and begins killing EVERYONE.

    At least it bears more relation to the title PUMPKINHEAD than these movies. Another great review, Jarv – and it’s great that you’re doing this to yourself so the rest of us don’t have to, but I’m fearing for your mental health, wading through dreck of this decrepitude…

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Spud,

      We all seem to be terminally attracted to crap, and so it is my duty to wade through them.

      I may go for Hellraiser next, then I’m considering Children of the Corn, but I remember it being gash.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey, I think you should the HELLRAISERS. If only for the review of BLOODLINES (HR4), which would unleash vitriol so foul it’ll melt the internet with its bile.

        But seriously – I’d watch 5 onwards if I could find the damned things. Even Play.com and Amazon don’t seem to carry them these days…

      • Jarv says :

        *cough*

        Internets

        *cough*

  8. Spud McSpud says :

    Therewolf – I think the HELLRAISER movies might just finish Jarv off. We;d find him sitting in Camden one dark November night, gibbering to himself about watermelons that sprout tentacles and the terrible beauty of Lucinda dickey, and we’ll know – finally, Jarv has lost his mind…

    • Droid says :

      For Jarv, that’s called “tuesday”.

    • kloipy says :

      I’ve actually seen all of the Hellraiser movies and they are so hit and miss. Mostly miss, espcially the last one about the hellraiser video game

      • Jarv says :

        Aren’t there about 13 of them now, Kloipy?

        I’ve seen up to 4, which I hated so much that I stopped there.

        I read somewhere that the later ones were actually for other franchises that they just shoe-horn Pinhead into.

        Oh, and Doug Bradley plays the lead in Pumpkinhead 3, and is really quite good.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        A Hellraiser VIDEO GAME??

        The mind boggles…

  9. Bartleby says :

    wait, Pumpkinhead 3 is good?

    Are you having me on? I stopped after this one. It was awful.

    Shame Ami Dolenz. How do you followup a powerhouse like Ticks with this?

    Yesterday I saw this in a five dollar bin as part of a quadruple feature with three other movies: Wishmaster 1 and 2 and Leprechaun 1. I quickly ran away when I saw my wife observing me looking at them.

    • Jarv says :

      Really, surprisingly good.

      Bradley is very good, but otherwise (and also excepting Lance) the acting is shite. The kills are entertaining, the end is very good, and it’s actually quite exciting. Comfortably the best of the sequels.

      I may postpone AHOV to write it up.

      • Jarv says :

        Best thing about it, though- the transformation of the Corpse of Lance into Pumpkinhead, AND the return of Haggis the Woods Witch.

        I was stunned as to how acceptable it was.

        They managed to keep the streak going through the first 1/3 of Blood Fued, but fucked it compeltely and it grew a bit dull. Still, the opening bought enough good will to get me to the end.

      • Jarv says :

        Oh and this being against all odds as a Sci-Fi production.

      • koutchboom says :

        Its pronounced SyFy.

  10. Lb says :

    Ha this review made me think of the Viking ritual blood eagle. Spud, I’ve been trying to get these dolts to review hellraiser series for ages but they are too squemish. Bloody nancyboys. That said, good idea. Cheers.

  11. Droid says :

    This sounds horrible. Which makes me happy because I suggested this series to you. Huzzah!

    I did laugh at the “doesn’t even pause for a morning dump” line. Funny stuff.

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