Inferior to its predecessor, PUMPKINHEAD 2: BLOOD WINGS muddies a valid horror-of-retribution schema with the addition of tiresome teen troublemakers, presumably intended as identification figures for adolescent video viewers.
With his semi-delinquent daughter Jenny (Ami Dolenz) and wife Beth (Caren Kaye) in tow, Sheriff Sean Braddock (Andrew Robinson) moves back to his sleepy hometown. Jenny falls in with a fast crowd led by Judge Dixon's son Danny (J. Trevor Edmond) and goes joyriding, with disastrous results. With
Paulie (Alexander Polinsky), Marcie (Soleil Moon Frye), and Peter (Hill Harper) also on board, Danny drives his car into a blind mountain witch named Osie (Lilyan Chauvin). Jenny, guilt-stricken, insists they check on her injuries, but an unscathed Osie warns the interlopers away. Danny insists on
trashing Osie's voodoo cabin, knocking out the old crone and accidentally starting a fire. Near a backyard grave, the teens try out a spell for summoning the dead, apparently to no effect. Only after their departure does the fearsome Pumpkinhead rise from the grave. Thirsting for his killers'
blood, he's also none too pleased to discover that his guardian Osie lies roasted in a hospital bed.
Flashbacks reveal that the monster was once Tommy (Jean-Paul Manoux), a deformed boy who was taunted, hanged, and drowned in a well by five teens. Having waited a few decades, Pumpkinhead busily seeks revenge by (1) dismembering Ernst (Joe Unger) in his barn-slaughterhouse, (2) pulling apart Red
Byers (R.A. Mihailoff), and (3) ripping to shreds three brothers who participated in his slaying. Meanwhile, pathologist Delilah Pettibone (Gloria Hendry) discovers non-human DNA at the crime scenes, and the dying Osie reveals that Pumpkinhead may have a few contemporary scores to settle as well.
The revenge-driven fiend literally chews out Judge Dixon (Steven Kanally) for masterminding his brutal murder, then skewers Marcie and Peter, and rends Paulie and Danny to pieces. But Pumpkinhead balks at slaughtering Jenny after Sheriff Braddock reminds him that he saved his life when they were
boys. Satisfied, Pumpkinhead allows enraged townspeople to send him back to Hell.
It's no mean achievement to create a contemporary monster, and the mythologizing of Pumpkinhead is handled with powerful impact in the flashbacks. But while the monster is compelling as it wreaks revenge on its tormentors, the teen quintet is a liability; they're stick figures manufactured as
easy pickings for the monster. Far more interesting are the now middle-aged villains whose savagery gave birth to the creature. Too little effort is expended in fleshing out these characters and setting them up suspensefully for the creature's inevitable trackdown. Sporadically blood-curdling,
PUMPKINHEAD 2: BLOOD WINGS doesn't strive hard enough to deepen its standardized slaughterhouse narrative with the psychological underpinnings that the best shudder movies can claim. Look for President Bill Clinton's brother, Roger, in the tiny role of Mayor Bubba. (Graphic violence, extensivenudity, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Inferior to its predecessor, PUMPKINHEAD 2: BLOOD WINGS muddies a valid horror-of-retribution schema with the addition of tiresome teen troublemakers, presumably intended as identification figures for adolescent video viewers. With his semi-delinquent d… (more)