Pumpkinhead (1988)

Director: Stan Winston

Writer: Mark Patrick Carducci, Gary Gerani (Screenplay) Mark Patrick Carducci, Stan Winston, Richard Weinman (Story)

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D’Aquino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen, Florence Schauffler

 

Plot: After a tragic accident, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers.


Tagline – The Demon of Revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun 80’s Slasher

 

Story: Pumpkinhead starts when small town shopkeeper Ed Harley’s (Henriksen) young son is killed in an accident involving reckless motor cross riders, Joel (D’Aquino), Chris (East), Kim (Ross), Steve (Hoffman), Tracy (Bain) and Maggie (Remsen), with the one that caused the accident Joel running from the scene.

Desiring vengeance for his son’s death, Ed turns to the known witch Haggis (Schauffler) who offers him a chance to bring a demon called Pumpkinhead to life and destroy the teenagers that killed his son.

 

Thoughts on Pumpkinhead

 

Characters – Ed Harley is a hardworking shop keeper and single father, he gets on well with the community and enjoys the quiet life. His life is turned upside down when his son is killed in an accident, which pushes him to turn to the dark arts to avenge his son’s death, only he didn’t plan for what would be expected from him. Chris is one of the teenagers that wants to do the right thing after the accident, much like the rest of the teenagers they all blend into one, except for the one that caused the accident, who only wants to look after himself.

PerformancesLance Henriksen is the star of the film, he is easily the best performer as his character goes through the biggest trauma and shows the desperation for revenge and regret for his decision. When it comes to the rest of the cast, they are performed to the level most slasher films reached.

StoryThe story here follows a man that will do anything to get vengeance for his son’s death, which sees him summon the evil Pumpkinhead to kill the people that took his son, he soon learns the errors of his choice and must figure out how to stop the killing machine. For a monster creature feature slasher this is a simple story, we don’t get twists, we don’t need much character development as we are more interested in seeing the effects being used. It is nice have a story that remains simple in the horror genre at times too.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy elements of this film comes from the figure of Pumpkinhead that gets summoned to do revenge for people that believe they have been wronged, which plays hand in hand with the horror side of the film which is slasher elements which show just how deadly this figure will be.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town where we don’t have many people with the ones living their knowing each other and anyone coming from the outside being frowned upon.

Special EffectsThe effects are the highlight of the film, Stan Winston was known for his ability to create some of the most memorable creatures in film history and with him directing he brings us another terrifying creation.


Scene of the Movie –
The first imagine of Pumpkinhead.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The teenagers are stupid for how they acted for the accident to happen in the first place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slasher that can be enjoyed by the horror community, it offers everything needed to just let us enjoy ourselves without challenging us like other horrors.

 

Overall: Simple, effective and fun horror.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – P – Perfect Creature (2006)

Director: Glenn Standring

Writer: Glenn Standring (Screenplay)

Starring: Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Leo Gregory, Scott Wills, Stuart Wilson, Craig Hall

 

Plot: The vampire myth is given a stylish 1960s treatment, where a human cop partners with a vampire cop to stop a vamp bent on creating a war between the two “separate but equal” races.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underworld Rip Off

 

Story: Perfect Creature starts in a world where vampires are known as the Brotherhood, an elite society that doesn’t feed on humans instead lives above them, for 300 hundred years this has been the way but now things are about to change. Edgar (Gregory) one of the brotherhood has gone rogue and started feeding on humans, Silus (Scott) his brother must team up with a human cop Lilly (Burrows) to stop him.

Once they capture Edgar, Silus learns more about the bigger plan in the brotherhood and the work Edgar had been working on. When Edgar escapes we get to see Silus team up with Lilly once again to save the outbreak of a virus that could wipe out both races.

 

Thoughts on Perfect Creature

 

Characters – Silus is the vampire from the brotherhood, he has a connection with his brother Edgar and will not let him take over once he becomes the blood thirty infected version of himself. Lilly is the nonsense cop that has suffered her own share of heartache with the viruses in the world, she doesn’t take any shit from anyone she believes to be guilty. Edgar is the brother of Silus that has become infected while trying to find the next cure for the human and Brotherhood medical problems which makes him the first member of the brotherhood to kill a human.

PerformanceDougray Scott is fine without being that impactful in the leading role and the same could be said for Saffron Burrows, the highlight of the film would be Leo Gregory as the Edgar the bloody thirsty crazy vampire.

StoryThe story does feel like it could be another chapter of the Underworld saga, it has the vampires of the world living in peace with the humans but when one goes rogue it becomes personal. This isn’t the most original and strays too far into the middle of the fantasy world we are trying so desperately to head towards. We don’t find enough time to create the fantasy world that could become a franchise let alone a new story because in the end this could have just been a crime thriller.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action is fine, it mostly contains fights that try to offer an extra punch where needed but isn’t the most original, while the fantasy world doesn’t click for the story we are experiencing, the horror is tame too with it only being a couple of vampire like moments.

SettingsWe have murky settings which is designed to show us the different in class between the two races.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine and at least the film doesn’t turn into a bad CGI moment film.

Scene of the Movie – The special gun that instant sleeps and enemy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just doesn’t seem to feel fresh in any way.

Final ThoughtsDisappointing movie that doesn’t connect with the audience on the levels it could have because it wants to be a fantasy film but plays out only like a dark crime thriller.

 

Overall: Disappointing film.

Rating

 

 

Hugh Jackman Weekend – Pan (2015)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Jason Fuchs (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Characters)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Nonso Anozie, Amanda Seyfried

 

Plot: Twelve-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be for ever known as Peter Pan.


Tagline – Every legend has a beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That True Spark

 

Story: Pan starts when young Peter (Miller) is in an orphanage in London during World War II, he notices that the other orphans have been disappearing, when he final abduction occurs Peter is taken by Blackbeard’s (Jackman) men and taken to Neverland. Blackbeard is mining for fairy dust and using the orphans to make this happen.

When Peter breaks the rules he is sentenced to death which only unlocks his own powers to fly, where a fellow prisoner James Hook (Hedlund) helps him escape and search the land for answers about his mother with the help of the tribal people led by Tiger Lily (Mara) who have been at war with the pirates, Peter must unlock his own destiny to save the land.

 

Thoughts on Pan

 

Characters – Peter is an orphan during World War II, stuck in a boys home, he believes something is happening and wants to be reunited with his mother, taken to Neverland, he learns that he has an ability unlike anyone else, he just needs to learn to believe in himself. Blackbeard has been taking orphans to help him mine for fairy dust in Neverland, he runs a strict ship which Peter upsets, however this will put Blackbeard closer than ever to getting what he wants. Hook is one of the miners that helps Peter escape, he wants to be free with his own tragic backstory. Tiger Lily has been leading the war against Blackbeard for years now, she knows the secrets to the fairies and now must protect them at all costs.

PerformancesLevi Miller as the young Peter is good because he shows us the innocence needed for this film while dealing with the emotional impact his life is having. Hugh Jackman does seem to be having a lot of fun in this role even if he is overacting at times. Garrett Hedlund just can’t catch a break, his performance is solid enough, though it does feel like he just wanted to be the next Han Solo. Rooney Mara again is solid, it looks like a role which meant something to her and will help her take on the bigger roles.

StoryThe story is an origin story for Peter Pan and Hook, well it seems to be, Peter is in the human world where he is an orphan taken to Neverland to help fight in a war between the two sides who want control of the fairy dust, he works with Hook which is strange because he is a good guy. The film shows us why Peter never wanted to leave Neverland and just what is meant to him once he learns about his parent’s identity. When we look deeper at the story it does feel like a pretty safe story and by having Peter needing to learn his own identity before going on to be the character we know now. The problem comes from any moment of peril he is in or Hook we know they will make it out of there because we know their story is only just beginning. The additional problem comes from just how Hook is a good guy and doesn’t get given any moments to tease his villainous ways.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film is good because it shows a new life Peter could have away from the war his own reality is involved in, this does take us to the fantasy world of Neverland which only seems to have one unique animal in, but it has magic.

SettingsThe film uses the colour tones well, we see the darkness which shows us how bleak Peter’s real-life is, while giving us the bright open world of Neverland to show the hope of a future.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid enough without looking as flawless as they should, though the overly ambitious nature to it all doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Hook’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not filling enough of the blanks between the time period.

Final ThoughtsThis is another cash-in on a franchise which feels overly done, it doesn’t capture the rue magic and only ends up confusing the time between the movies.

 

Overall: Magicless fantasy film.

Rating

 

 

Hugh Jackman Weekend – Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Director: Peter Ramsey

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) William Joyce (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin

 

Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


Tagline – The Sandman Is More Than A Dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Animation

 

Story: Rise of the Guardians starts when Pitch or the boogeyman decides he wants to take back his role as the one children feared, the guardians of childhood memories, North (Santa), Tooth (tooth fairy), Bunny (Easter Bunny) and Sandy (Sandman) must bring in the newest guardians Jack Frost, the one that is being ignored as never believed in by children.

When Pitch starts to gain more power, the guardians must use all their abilities to fight back to keep the childhood hopes and happiness alive as Jack will find his place along side the guardians.

 

Thoughts on Rise of the Guardians

 

Characters – Jack Frost is the spiritual figure that nobody believes in, he keeps children happy everyday, but no one will remember him for his work, now he gets given a chance to become a guardian giving him the chance to be the hero the world needs. North is the leader of the guardians the first selected to help to replace Pitch giving the children of the world hope, even if he does feel like colossus from Deadpool. Pitch was once the one that struck fear into children, he wants his crown back and will look to take the belief out of any children in the world. Tooth, Bunny and Sandy make up the rest of the guardians that have mixed feelings towards Jack being chosen as their newest member. Using the iconic fantasy characters does make us understand what they thieve for, but is often used for a pun throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a reckless potential new guardian that must prove his place in the guardians with the much more experienced and famous icons of fantasy. While this does follow a generic idea, it is fun throughout and does play into the idea of childhood innocence keeping legends alive. The idea of Jack Frost needing to find his place in the battle is the strongest part of the film and is easily the one part of the film you want to see most of.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure that Jack Frost must go on brings him to the next moment of his stage of immortality, being on a level with a Santa or Tooth Fairy, this is him finding himself in this world that is full of fantasy icons that children will always be believing in.

SettingsThe film takes us to different lands which would be the ones you would imagine finding the fantasy icons, the north pole being the most iconic.

AnimationThe animation standard is top notch just like we are expecting from a major study involvement in a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of the jokes are aimed at how people would imagine talking to each of the guardians.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy family animation that can be enjoyed by all, it doesn’t over test the audience and comes off fun throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family animation that will give you a smile.

Rating

 

 

Wildling (2018)

Director: Fritz Bohm

Writer: Fritz Bohm, Florian Eder (Screenplay)

Starring: Bel Powley, Brad Dourif, Liv Tyler, Collin Kelly-Sordelet, James Le Gros, Troy Ruptash

Plot: A blossoming teenager uncovers the dark secret behind her traumatic childhood.


Tagline – Discover your true nature.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fantasy Filled Horror

Story: Wildling starts as we meet young Anna who is living with her father, only known as Daddy (Dourif) in a remote cabin in the woods, she isn’t allowed out and has been raised to believe a creature will get her if she leaves the house, when she starts getting older, Daddy starts drugging Anna to prevent the aging process, when Daddy shoots himself, Anna is rescued.

Anna (Powley) is taken in by Ellen Cooper (Tyler) and her brother Ray (Kelly-Sordelet) who help her adjust to the world, despite the fact she is still in fear of the wildling out to get her.

Thoughts on Wildling

Characters – Anna was raised by a man in the middle of the woods, she has been drugged to stop her going through her womanhood until she is rescued. Taken in by the local sheriff, she learns about the world for the first time, only she isn’t prepared for everything, finding it hard to adjust to everything. Daddy is the man that has raised Anna, he did educate her, while warning her about the outdoors, while he does drug her, the mystery is around why he kept her isolated. Ellen is the local sheriff that takes Anna in, she does her best to teach her about being a woman, while others just want to lock her away. Ray is the sister of Ellen that is still in high school, he tries to help her on a social standpoint, while being one of the only people left for her to trust.

PerformancesBel Powley is great in this leading role, she must go through a transformation and play the fish out of water figure too. Brad Dourif is just as creepy and you need him to be, always going to work in this type of role, with Liv Tyler being the cop that believes they know what will be right for victim, trying to be the role model figure.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl that is raised in the woods, only to be released to discover who she really is and what she is capable off. This story does follow the traditions of seeing a young girl taken and raised in secret, before something happens to bring her into the real world, this side of things has been done before, it works and is an effective way to bring a stranger into a modern world. Where this story takes an interesting turn comes from the reason behind why she was being kept, we do get to see what she really is, but we don’t get to see if she is a threat to everybody else, we do get a couple of message in this film too that want to point out certain motives in hunting, but overall the story keeps us guessing and surprised by the truth.

Fantasy/HorrorThis film does dive into fantasy when it comes to learn what Anna really is, we have ideas early on, but we are never truly sure what she will become, this does help with the horror side of the film because it keeps us waiting to see if there will be more bloodshed.

SettingsThe film is set in a town surrounded by woodlands, this shows first where she was raised and where the people will welcome her, right back to where she feels more comfortable.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the wounds and the look of the Wildling figure, there give us a creepy but natural looking creature and the blood isn’t afraid to be splashed about here.


Scene of the Movie – Home from the party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could spend more time learn the normal human life.

Final Thoughts This is a fun fantasy horror, it doesn’t hide the blood and is happy to give us a twist on the traditional storytelling.

Overall: Fantasy Horror 101