Scream Factory follows up its release of the original horror classic with the sequel “Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.” While not quite as satisfying as its predecessor, you can’t help but have a level of respect for screenwriters Ivan and Constantine Chachornia for trying to change things up a bit when it comes to the storyline of the film. We get the same premise, but with a little detective work and two intertwining motivations for the title creature to go on its killing spree to mix it up. The acting is a bit cheesy, but what can be expected from a movie made in the mid-1990s that obviously would feel more at home in the 1980s.
A group of teen troublemakers resurrect the spirit of vengeance known as Pumpkinhead (Mark McCracken). Trapped inside the monster is the tormented soul of a young boy named Tommy (J.P. Manoux). First, pieces of the bodies of the gang who murdered him begin to pile up. After that, the creature’s focus changes to the high schoolers who mortally wounded his caretaker. Pumpkinhead will stop at nothing until those who have wronged him are served bloody justice.
“Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings” is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1). Its video upgrade provides a clearer picture while not sacrificing its original film flavor. Made up of all practical special effects, the clarity doesn’t showcase CGI limitations the way it does with newer movies. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as looking at the TV and knowing what you’re seeing is actually tangible and not an X that an actor is staring at on a green screen. However, the creature’s point-of-view vision is rather dated and comes across as a bit hokey.
Given a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo upgrade, “Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings” isn’t quite as fulfilling in the sound department as a 5.1 surround mix would be. It still gets the job done, blending together the musical score, sound effects, dialogue, and ear-piercing screams of the fiend’s many victims. The shrills of the tormented and growl of Pumpkinhead will still leave you looking over your shoulders and nervously twitching.
“Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings” is rated R for horror violence, sexuality, nudity, and language. It’s unfortunate that the filmmakers felt it necessary to sink into typical slasher territory with one avoidable topless sex scene and another dream sequence that feels forced by producers to be included. These two sequences are part of the reason this sequel doesn’t measure up to the superior original when it comes to rising above average teen fare.
Scream Factory includes some entertaining special features. There are interviews with Director Jeff Burr, Special Effects Artists Greg Nicotero and Gino Crognale, and Actor Mark McCracken. We also get a featurette entitled “Re-creating the Monster.”
“Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings’” debut on Blu-ray will please fans of the franchise and horror movie buffs. Special appearances by genre regulars like Linnea Quigley and Kane Hodder add to the fun. Although originally a straight-to-video offering when released in 1993, it still fares well in its HD format thanks to good video and audio transfers and a suitable dose of bonus material.
“Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings” is available now on Blu-ray.
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