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DVD REVIEW:  Pumpkinhead IV: Blood Feud

There is no greater travesty in the movie world than the obliteration of a classic. As a member of the advertising world for nearly a decade, I understand intimately the power of propaganda and the almighty dollar. Sequels are examples of capitalism at its finest; industry executives hungrily attempting the wring every last gore-streaked penny from a good idea. However, just as a scorpion’s last sting is never as potent as its first, as Hollywood writers try desperately to twist and distort the original into something palatable by modern masses, the quality of the films go down exponentially. Unfortunately, this seems to be the fate of the fourth edition of the PUMPKINHEAD legacy.

I will admit that I never bothered renting PUMPKINHEAD II or III. This isn’t because I was being a snob; it’s because I hadn’t heard of them. They were so obscure, so quickly shoved into a back corner of the rental house that I did not even notice their existences. So, when I saw the fourth edition sitting on the shelf the other day I thought to myself, “My gods! Two decades and they are still creating these movies? It must be worth my $4 at least.” Ah, how gravely I was mistaken. Instead of being at least moderately entertaining as in the later installments of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or ALIENS, what I witnessed on the screen was an inbred degeneration of original storyline absent of even a modicum of intelligence or entertainment. And what saddened me most of all was that Lance Henriksen is in this film! Are times so bad for this wonderful actor that he must take such lowly projects on?

PUMPKINHEAD IV: BLOOD FEUD is based upon the legendary tale of the Hatfields vs. McCoys war. When the younger sister of Ricky McCoy (Bradley Taylor) is brutally murdered by the Hatfields, Ricky calls upon the swamp witch Haggis to raise Pumpkinhead from his grave once again. It is a simple plotline and one that could have easily been made into a creepy edition to the PUMPKINHEAD legacy. However, director Michael Hurst failed miserably. The film is terribly directed, sporting a zero-budget cheap appearance that is simply unacceptable in this day and age unless you are purposefully going for a cheap look for a laugh, and is filled with some of the worst actors and actresses I have laid eyes on in quite a while. Their abilities remind me of the talent in junior high school productions: weak, insubstantial, without the slightest clue of how to evoke emotions in their words. If the horrible acting wasn’t enough, the special effects in this film are horrific (and not in a good way). Pumpkinhead is obviously a man in a rubber suit and the gore effects are barely laughable they are so poorly crafted. Honestly, there is not one single redeeming quality about this flick. I truly feel as if I have wasted and hour and half of my life that I will never get back. If you’re wise, you’ll avoid this DVD and save your 91 minutes of breathing for something a little more worth your while.

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