Let’s face it, Pumpkinhead movies are, by and large, total bores. They are usually gothic messes that focus on revenge—oh god, I want to yawn just writing that sentence. By the time the series got to Ashes to Ashes, the title character was almost entirely CGI, which even under the best circumstances and a huge budget still makes monsters that can’t interact very well with actors and look like characters in a video game. I mean, everyone knows that Lou Ferrigno in body paint is a hell of a lot more effective than whatever the hell Ang Lee was trying to do in 2003.
However, in 1994, in an effort to cash in on the inexplicable popularity of the first entry, Blood Wings was released straight to video. To call this entry the best in the series is a bit of an understatement. This movie is the Wrath of Khan of this series.
It opens with not one, but two pseudo-bluesy guitar songs. These are the types of songs not normally associated with a horror movie, but are more familiar to Patrick Swayze action movies and Whitesnake B-sides. Seriously, the first song finishes and the second one begins before one line of dialog is uttered. This is what I call top rate time padding.
Just as Kevin Tenney had discovered the year before in Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway, casting Ami Dolenz in a movie will automatically garner it critical acclaim (as long as I am the critic). Here, she is put to maximal use as Jenny Braddock, the new girl in town. She is streetwise and we learn quickly that she has moved to finish high school in the county because she got in trouble in the city.
Obviously, the idea of any Ami Dolenz character being a troublemaker is silly. Ami Dolenz looks and acts like she is an understudy for the role of Kelly Taylor on 90210. And I am supposed to believe her parents were forced to relocate because she got into so much trouble at school in the big city? What could she have done? Held a pack of cigarettes for a friend?
Jenny quickly hooks up with a group of misfit teens (that also happen to look like the gang from 90210).
These punks are:
Danny Dixon. He is the good-looking son of the local judge. He also appears to be a good five years older than the high schoolers he is hanging out with. Usually a guy this age hanging around high schoolers is called a “predator”.
Peter. Well, let's just be honest here. He is body count.
Speaking of talented kid actors, Soleil Moon Frye plays Marcie (I really think the writers missed an opportunity here. I mean, they already had a Peter and a Paul in the group…). Although Soleil Moon Frye continues to have a successful entertainment career, she will always be remembered by those of us who were kids through the 1980s as Punky Brewster.
These trouble makers decide to go drinking in the woods. Better watch out! They aren’t there very long before the sheriff arrives. The new sheriff. Yep, Jenny’s dad.
The sheriff is played by Andrew Robinson, who is best known (by me) as the dad (and later demonic uncle) in Hellraiser. His character comes off as much stranger than I think was intended.
Early on, his daughter says that she “understands a lot of things” and he gets upset. Later in the movie, he is at home going over books for the case, when his wife enters the room. She is holding the shirt Jenny was wearing the other night. The shirt smells like smoke which indicates that she may have been present at the scene of a crime. I only mention this because just as he starts to raise his voice and get upset, Sheriff Braddock is interrupted by Delilah Pettibone, the medical examiner, who enters the frame with some news.
That’s right. She is just suddenly in his house with relevant news. Now, where did she come from? Is she living with Sheriff Braddock, his wife, and daughter? What exactly is their relationship?
Even later on, the sheriff and the medical examiner are at a hospital together and she touches and holds him like they are lovers. Huh. I guess they’re adults and are free to do what they want. I mean, it could just be that this guy is a devout Mormon. But, let’s not act surprised, then, that Jenny Braddock acts out. It must be a pretty confusing situation for her.
I have jumped ahead though. Let me sum it up. An old woman, who is clearly a young woman in bad makeup, is hospitalized. This pisses off Pumpkinhead who exacts revenge. It is a little confusing though, because his revenge starts with the adults who as teenagers killed a deformed boy named Tommy. It is later revealed that Tommy is the son of Pumpkinhead and some woman (maybe the old lady?). Later, though, we find out that Pumpkinhead is Tommy. I guess it is kind of like Jesus being the son of God and being God. I guess. You may think I am off base here. But, they even give Pumpkinhead a Christ pose moment at the end of the movie. So, I think it is safe to assume that Pumpkinhead is Jesus.
It is hard to fault a movie, though, that has a topless Linnea Quigley (is there any other kind) and features a Kane Hodder death scene. Those are the sorts of things that inspire Billy and me to keep watching. Hell, one guy even gets his head popped off like a cork from a bottle.
Here is a little nursery rhyme from the movie:
Bolted doors and windows barred/ Guard dogs prowling in the yard/ Won’t protect you in your bed/ Nothing will from Pumpkinhead.
Well, I can rhyme, too.
Even though the smell of this movie lingers, I’ll still give it