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

 

 

Viggo Mortensen Weekend – Appaloosa (2008)

Director: Ed Harris

Writer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris (Screenplay) Robert B Parker (Novel)

Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Lance Henriksen

 

Plot: Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Slow Western

 

Story: Appaloosa starts as we see just how much control Randall Bragg (Irons) has over this small western town, he murders the current Marshall which brings a new Marshall to town. Virgil Cole (Harris) and his partner Deputy Everett Hitch (Mortensen) come to town with their own laws to clean up the Bragg gang.

When Cole & Hitch do find a way to arrest Randall the courts find him guilty of murdering the former Marshall but on route to the prison the rest of the gang force Cole’s hand by using Mrs French (Zellweger) to force Randall’s release, this leads to them needing to find a new way to eliminate Bragg’s gang.

 

Thoughts on Appaloosa

 

Characters/PerformanceVirgil Cole is the freelance Marshall, fast with a rifle and only killing the men who break the law. His reputation follows him as one of the scrictiest law men out there with a lot of his trust in Everett. Everett is the longtime partner of Virgil that always stands tall next him in battle, completes the long words and is the calm influence between the two. Randall Bragg is the rancher who has control over the town of Appaloosa him and his gang take what they want, kill who they want and reign terror over the town. Mrs French comes to town a widow becoming the love interest for Virgil and we learn what type of woman she is.

Performance wise, Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen both work well together showing good chemistry throughout the film and both play the lawman well through the film. Jeremy Irons always makes for a good villain through the any film and this is no exception. Renee is here but you do feel like her character is almost pointless to the main part of the film.

StoryThe story fills in just what you want from a western story, we have an enemy of the town that out numbers them all but two lawmen come into town to help clean it up in their own way, be it through legal or other means. This was meant to be a start of a series of films which is why you feel the threat wasn’t as big as it could have been but still enjoyable enough to watch.

Crime/Western/RomanceThis is a nice western film with perfect use of the setting for the crimes to take place, the romance side of film does feel tagged on in places though.

SettingsEach setting looks great for the film never taking us out of the time in question for the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a western film which is fine, it isn’t bad but isn’t up there with the greatest.

 

Overall: Western fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – D – Daylight’s End (2016)

Director: William Kaufman

Writer: Chad Law (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Strong, Lance Henriksen, Louis Mandylor, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Krzysztof Soszynski

 

Plot: Years after a mysterious plague has devastated the planet and turned most of humanity into blood-hungry creatures, a rogue drifter on a vengeful hunt stumbles across a band of survivors in an abandoned police station and reluctantly agrees to try to help them defend themselves and escape to the sanctuary they so desperately need.


Tagline – The apocalypse was just the beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Book Action Horror

 

Story: Daylight’s End starts as we enter a world with zombie like vampire creatures, that act like zombies but can only come out at night, we meet drifter Rourke (Strong) who has been hunting them for years, now he rescues Sam (Edmundson) a survivor from a larger group run by Frank (Henriksen) hiding out in a police station.

Rourke has found a plane which gives the survivors a reason to fight to escape from the nightmare they are facing, which divides the group who must learn to put their difference a side to survive in a new location.

 

Thoughts on Daylight’s End

 

Characters – Rourke is the lone drifter that has always kept to himself when it came to dealing with the creatures, now joining a group he looks to lead them to safety, he has a broken past like most in this world, he is ruthless to the bad guys and helpful to the good guys. Frank is the leader of the survivors, he doesn’t trust Rourke to start with, but soon must learn to trust him even if it means risking others.

PerformancesJohnny Strong is good in the leading role, he looks the part for a reluctant hero which is needed for this film. Lance Henriksen is always a draw in the horror world and this is no different working for the film. The rest are good without being anything over the top or weak.

StoryThe story is lone drifter that helps group of survivors escape from a trapped location where they are only surviving over having an escape plan. This has been done before, it is a tried and tested formula for action horror which is good, but it doesn’t offer anything new to the genre. There isn’t the deepest side to anything going on either.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is firing guns, running and rolling around fights nothing too difficult to enjoy. The horror is with the creature used which are good enough to be a threat for our survivors in the sci-fi look at the destroyed Earth.

SettingsThe setting take us to a big city as we see the survivors needing to find a way to survive the situation.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine, they work for the film without being overly used throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
Battling the Alpha

That Moment That Annoyed Me Borrowing the 28 Days Later music.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very simple action horror, it is one you could easily sit back and enjoy without being tested too much.

 

Overall: Easy to Watch

Rating

 

 

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2018)

Director: Hiroshi Katagiri

Writer: Hiroshi Katagiri (Screenplay)

Starring: Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Gorman, Simon Phillips, Sean Sprawling, Matthew Edward Hegstrom, Eva Swan, Katherine Taylor, Justin Gordon

 

Plot: A group visits Saipan to search for locations for their company’s newest resort. As they find what they think is the perfect spot, they discover a hidden bunker on the property which they decide to explore. However, they soon find out that curiosity can kill. As each member faces their most private secrets and the secrets of the bunker itself, the results lead to a most shocking conclusion.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Claustrophobic Horror

 

Story: Gehenna: Where Death Lives starts when property developers Paulina (Swan), Tyler (Gordon) and Dave (Hegstrom) are shown their latest location by Alan (Phillips) and local Pepe (Sprawling) in Saipan, perfect for a view of the ocean. On the property they investigate a bunker which could cause problems for building.

Inside the bunker the five find themselves trapped after an encounter with an old man (Jones) who looks like thy have been dead for years. The five become trapped in the maze of corridors which are filled with spirits encouraging them to kill themselves just to make it out of the living hell.

 

Thoughts on Gehenna: Where Death Lives

 

Characters – Paulina is the lady leading the investment which would be a career maker for her, she wants every loose end tied up which leads the team to investigate the bunker, this is the ambitious businesswoman that isn’t selfish to her team but wants to achieve her goals. Tyler is the architect that helps locate problems that any construction could face, joining the team in the corridors he seems to be the only one without a past sin he must pay for. The Old Man is one of the victims in the bunker, he warns and haunts the five in the bunker. The fellow three members of the team fill in the generic characters, the young cameraman does is scared of his past, the local fills in the spiritual side of translations and the seedy property owner that wants to get rich quickly.

PerformancesThe performance are being sold on the special appearance from Lance Henriksen and the inclusion of the immensely talented Doug Jones, they are good with their roles. the main cast of Justin Gordon, Eva Swan and Simon Phillips are strong as they are dealing with the horror events in the bunker.

StoryThe story follows five people in a property deal that investigate a mysterious bunker on the land and soon find themselves battling to survive in what feels like a living hell. This does fall into the bunker horror story which is always good to watch because the reason behind what is going on is always interesting to unfold. We have a twist which does work even if you could see it coming. The story doesn’t offer too much to genre, but it works for everything it needs.

Horror/MysteryThe horror works for the claustrophobic feeling which has a mix of slow build and jump scares which is nice and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout to just what could happen.

SettingsThe film gives us a couple of beauty shots before we get into the bunker which keeps us confined for the horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well with the make up effects when it comes to the horror Doug Jones looks terrifying each time you see him.


Scene of the Movie –
The Old Man looks terrifying for his first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tyler’s reaction to what is in the dark, felt almost comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the setting to its advantage to make us feel confined with how the story unfolds.

 

Overall: Bunker Horror for all.

Rating

 

 

The Unwilling (2016)

Director: Jonathan Heap

Writer: Jonathan Heap, David Lipper (Screenplay)

Starring: David Lipper, Dina Meyer, Lance Henriksen, Bree Williamson, Austin Highsmith, Levy Tran

 

Plot: After the death of a much despised patriarch, a mysterious box shows up during the reading of the will, forcing the family to reckon with each of their own deadly sins.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Idea

 

Story: The Unwilling starts when Father Harris (Henriksen) dies bringing his family together for the will reading, they must go to David’s (Lipper) house because of his OCD, the rest of the family and new connection include Michelle (Meyer), Cheryl (Williamson), Kelly (Highsmith) Darren (Thomas), Rich (Rusier).

The reading doesn’t go as expected when a mysterious box arrives and the family must put their differences aside to learn the reason why they have been summoned for this event.

 

Thoughts on The Unwilling

 

Characters – David is the owner of the house the event takes place, he suffers from agoraphobia and OCD, he is the first to suspect that his father might be haunting them from beyond the grave, we get to see about his troubles through the film. Michelle is the sister of David, divorced from Rich and escaped from the home at childhood. Father Harris is the man that has died and bought his family together for his will reading. The rest of the characters are what w know from this style of movie, though Cheryl seems different to what we know when it comes to the young woman with older rich guy as she does have intelligence and medical training instead of just being a bimbo.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are the weakest part of the film, mostly because we have a lot of over reacting screaming, a stoner that is beyond annoying and the playing into the OCD too much while not being consistent.

StoryThe story shows a family coming back together to read a will only for things to take a turn when a mysterious box arrives, it soon becomes a battle to survive. Where this story becomes fascinating is when everything gets rolling and the story goes into direction you wouldn’t imagine it going in and with a final third that is wonderful to see unfold.

ThrillerThe film uses the thriller genre well because it builds the tension between the characters and keeps us guessing just where the film could go in the later part.

SettingsThe film takes in the home of David, it keeps the story in one location and shows it isn’t within walking distance to anywhere else.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie are used well enough, one moment stands out more than the rest with a mirror.


Scene of the Movie –
Mirror sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Darren character got very annoying quickly as a stoner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that that does start slow and doesn’t have most interesting characters, but once we get into the story it becomes one of the most interesting ones in a long time.

 

Overall: Great story unfolding.

Rating