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Dustin Putman

Dustin's Blu-ray Review
Pumpkinhead II:
Blood Wings
Reviewed by Dustin Putman

The Film
2 Stars
(Release Date: November 18, 2014) – Like a grisly storybook come to fruition, 1988's "Pumpkinhead," directed by Stan Winston, stands up as well in the twenty-first century as it did back in the '80s. Dripping with atmosphere breeding horror and fairy-tale whimsy, it was a creature feature with style and ambition, looking far more expensive than it actually was. Though not a huge box-office hit, it did well enough on home video for a sequel to be greenlit five years later.

Directed by Jeff Burr (1990's "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III"), "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings" lacks the dark fantasy inspirations of the first film's script, art direction and cinematography. The plot, which finds the titular demon returning to life to seek revenge on the bullies who murdered him when he was in human form and the group of teenagers (played by Ami Dolenz, J. Trevor Edmond, a post-"Punky Brewster" Soleil Moon Frye, and Hill Harper) responsible for his witchy mother's death, foregoes the rules set by "Pumpkinhead." His actions and creative design, however, remain the same, as fittingly daunting and monstrous as ever. Horror stars Linnea Quigley and Kane Hodder pop up for fun cameos, while Roger Clinton (President Bill's brother) has a good-sized supporting part as the town mayor. In one delicious moment, a man is stalked by the creature to the strains of an up-tempo country song, the tonal divide proving all the more creepy. The problem with "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings" is that there are so few likable characters; the group of teens who pass as the central characters do so many dumb things (not the least being digging up Pumpkinhead in the first place) that they practically beg to not live long enough to see their high school graduation. On the whole, this isn't a bad sequel, but it is a lesser one that lacks the heart and unlikely charm of Winston's picture.

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

For a low-budget, direct-to-video horror sequel, "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings" looks great on Blu-ray. This 1080p transfer is strikingly clean and clear, and the only visual limitations are due to the source material. Colors are solid and blacks are deep, image detail is undoubtedly a step up from the musty standard-def DVD, and print damage is minimal. The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio will not blow anyone away, but it achieves what it sets out to do and delivers a pleasing aural balance. Dialogue is consistently on point.

Blu-ray Features
  • Audio Commentary with director Jeff Burr
  • "Making Movies with Jeff Burr" Featurette (1:02:01, HD) - an interview with director Jeff Burr
  • "Re-creating the Monster" Featurette (32:39, HD) - an interview with special effects artists Greg Nicotero & Gino Crognale and actor Mark McCracken
  • Behind the Scenes Footage (17:24, HD)
Bottom Line
Scream Factory's Blu-ray release of "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings" goes above and beyond what most could have ever expected from this particular title, and makes a welcome companion piece with the company's previous Collector's Edition release of the superior original. The movie itself does not live up to its predecessor, but it has its moments. The film looks really good here, and comes with a plethora of top-notch special features. For fans, the Blu-ray of "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings" comes recommended.

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© 2014 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman