When I sat down and realized I was about to watch PUMPKINHEAD : ASHES TO ASHES, two thoughts went through my head. The first one was, oh s*** the most I’ve spent thinking about PUMPKINHEAD was through reading previous PUMPKINHEAD reviews on this particular venue. The second one was, well, it’s a SyFy* made for TV move – I’m really not going to need to have logged some serious PUMPKINHEAD hours to “get it”. And so, thus began my journey into the depths of PUMPKINHEAD: ASHES TO ASHES – luckily for me those depths were all together pretty shallow.
The first five minutes had me thrown – I was convinced that my PUMPKINHEAD-less past was going to betray me and I would remain altogether lost – that is until Doug Bradley appeared. Despite the presence of the one and only Mr. Lance Henriksen in this film, Doug Bradley emerged from the beginning as the guiding light of evil; and ultimately his Doc Fraser became the plot’s touchstone. And if I may digress for a minute – this highlights a major problem with the entire film.
The plot, ostensibly a decently conceived sequel to the original, gets lost in the films inane attempts to flesh out its characters’ backgrounds. Take for example my favorite of Doc Fraser’s patients – Molly Sue Allen, played as an eager and neurotic blonde with a history of manic episodes. For entire 3 to 4 minute spans I would find myself mindlessly entwined in her backstory only to realize that I really didn’t care about what she had to do with our gourd-headed demon, and was much more interested in finding out what was bothering my poor little Molly Sue.
|Molly Sue seeks vengeance. http://media.monstersandcritics.com/articles/1284709/article_images/mollysueaskstheoldwitchforvengance.jpg|
Molly Sue aside, the gist of the story focuses on the average residents of a non-descript rural-ish town who fall prey to the crooked workings of a nasty organ harvesting doctor. They then work together and seek vengeance through demon beckoning – which then backfires on them as they find Mr. Pumps killing spree to be taking a pretty brutal toll on their own souls. As an overall plot – this is pretty solid, and if the whole screenplay had been written with fleshing this plot out in mind – the film would’ve been much better served. Unfortunately though, it tried to dive into too many side stories, to the point where one time when Pumpkinhead showed up I actually said out loud “Oh yeah, this is what this movie is about.”
If it weren’t for Doc Fraser’s appearance in and relationship to all of the subplots, I really would have forgotten that I was watching a movie and not a string of random YouTube video excerpts featuring a bizarre kind of pumpkinheaded demon and malpractice suit worthy doctor. In fact, given Pumpkinheads appearance (not too scary, to say the least) it seems pretty possible that he was just the victim of a botched attempt to steal organs. But when all is said and done… I’m pretty excited to see BLOOD FEUD.
*Recognizing that this actually premiered in the good old days of the SCIFI channel – I feel I am honor bound by society to ALWAYS refer to that channel as SyFy now…. Just so they can realize what horror they have wrought.