Pumpkinhead: Ashes To Ashes (2006)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Connections: Pumpkinhead

Residents of a small backwoods community summon the murderous demon of vengeance himself for revenge against a local mortician who wronged their deceased love ones, while a town physician seeks to kill those involved in its summoning. --IMDb
Doug Bradley
Doug Bradley
Lance Henriksen
Lance Henriksen
Lisa McAllister
Lisa McAllister
Tess Panzer
Tess Panzer
Emanuel Parvu
Emanuel Parvu
Review by Tristan
Added: October 22, 2008
Ever since I was a kid, I was a monster movie fan. Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, The Wolfman. These were my favorites and were staples of the horror genre and set the standard until the 50's, when monsters were as big as buildings and laid waste to entire cities with their lava breath. The 80's saw a new wave of these other-worldly creatures with such films as Aliens, The Thing, and of course our very own Pumpkinhead. I was always rather taken with this era of monster movies because of the special effects and puppetry techniques used. CGI is great if you can pull it off, but nothing looks better than a big slimy tentacle or a dripping xenomorph's face. I'm only mentioning this because for the first time ever, horror fans get to enjoy a CGI Pumpkinhead compliments of the sci-fi channel. This one, and its sequel, were shot back to back and released a year apart before being released on DVD. I've seen my fair share of sci-fi movies, and that usually means bad acting, bad dialogue, and bad effects. It was no surprise to me when these three elements reared their heads in this one, but oddly enough I didn't seem to mind a bit. It was charming in its own little way, and while it doesn't live up to my usual movie standards, I really enjoyed it.

Picking up about 20 years after the original - this one chose to ignore the events of the first sequel - the film begins with Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) long dead and buried. This doesn't stop him from returning however, as he appears in ghost form before the now grown up Bunt and tries to give him a guilt trip over what he's doing with his life. It turns out Bunt (Douglas Roberts) and some of his siblings are working for the town's doctor (Doug Bradley) who has been removing skin and organs from the recently deceased and selling them to provide free health care for the town. It seems noble enough, but when a young man is murdered after stumbling upon the doctor's gruesome plan, the town is quick to overlook this matter.

The doctor manages to flee before the fuzz arrives, but his minions are taken away to jail where they await punishment. However, a small group of the townspeople take matters into their own hands, and visit the old witch Haggis. They want her to resurrect Pumpkinhead, and have their revenge for all that was done to their loved ones, no matter what the consequences may be. As you might have already guessed, Pumpkinhead goes on his murderous rampage, killing everyone involved with this horrible deed while the doctor attempts to murder those responsible for resurrecting Pumpkinhead, hoping this will break the spell and return him to his resting place.

I find it rather odd that Jake West went from the hilariously bloody movie Evil Aliens to this. Not that this wasn't a good movie, but it just seems like the order of these movies should have been reversed. What's that, you've paid your dues and directed a second sequel to Pumpkinhead? Here's some funding for your next project, which you are completely responsible for. While I'm on the topic of funding, it's a shame when a movie's faults could have been changed if just a little extra scratch was thrown their way. The CGI was pretty awful, but West knew this, as he stated in many interviews. The budget just didn't allow anything better to be done. If an excellent, big budget horror film such as The Mist can't pull off realistic effects, I certainly don't expect a film of this caliber to do the same.

All I wanted from this movie was to see Pumpkinhead resurrected, pissed off, and killing people. Since that's exactly what this movie delivered, I don't understand why it has been given a lot of negative reviews. Sure the dialogue is poor and for the most part the acting is unbearable, but does any horror fan really need these to be top notch in order to see a man in a monster suit wreaking havoc on a small town. Besides, it has Doug Bradley in the leading role. How could any self respecting horror fan not check it out.

Aside from the acting and CGI, the only flaw in this movie was the time frame in which it all took place, and the reaction of the townspeople. The following will contain a few spoilers, so move along if those aren't your thing. They found a bunch of bodies in the swamp, and in a barn. Rather than move them to a secure location, they lined them up outside and taped the area off. According to the movie they were there for at least two days. Something tells me that's not standard police procedure. Speaking of police, when one was murdered in a church in front of 30+ people by an 8 foot demon, why does nobody think to travel to the next town and seek help. I find it hard to believe everyone just ran away then headed home to watch some late night TV. There's a handful more, but since they aren't the biggest deal in the world, I'm sure it's alright to skip over them.

All in all, it was a pretty good movie. Not to sound like a broken record, but it obviously wasn't on par with the original, and I'm glad they skipped over the events of the second film film and tried to get back the roots of Pumpkinhead. Jake West seems able to handle tight schedules and low budgets quite well, and without skimping on the gore, I might add. That was a little treat I was not expecting with this one. If you were a fan of the original, or like me just can't get enough monster movies, this ones for you. Hopefully the last film will do as good a job wrapping up the series as this one did continuing it.

Crispy #1: Crispy - added 03/09/2010, 12:12 AM
Horrid. The CGI they occasionally used for Pumpkinhead was mind-numbingly horrible; especially the animation. Why the hell did Bunt become a retard all of a sudden? Who the hell thought Douglas Roberts has any business in front of a camera, period. And can you think of an ending? Nope. Me either, let's just reuse the ending from the first movie. OK.
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