08th Feb2021

‘Black Pumpkin’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Gemma Brooke Allen, Alix Lane, Lily Keene, Matt Rife, Connor Weil, Kamilla Alnes, Ellie Patrikios, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick, Jacques Derosena, Jo Osmond | Written and Directed by Ryan McGonagle

Actual great horror movies with a Halloween theme and Halloween as there main focus aren’t actually as widespread as you might expect. Obviously the Halloween franchise has some great editions, Trick ‘r Treat and Tales of Halloween are fantastic anthologies but there’s not a whole lot else. Black Pumpkin, as its title suggests, is indeed set during Halloween season and as a Halloween-themed killer, so could it kick off a new holiday-themed franchise?

Two kids accidentally awaken an evil that has lain dormant for a number of years. The terribly named ‘Bloody Bobby’ is now after them and their family and friends and they spend October 31st trying to survive through the night.

With a name like Bloody Bobby, the villain of Black Pumpkin is about as scary as you might imagine. It’s a child, or at least the same height as one (it is masked so impossible to tell for sure) but that shouldn’t be a problem. Chucky has proven tiny killers can be both scary and violent and Sam from Trick ‘r Treat has proven a child-size killer can work for Halloween too. Unfortunately, Bloody Bobby can only dream at being as terrifying as these two. Dressed in what looks like a cheap fancy dress outfit and a mask that is supposed to be a creepy black pumpkin, none of it really ‘works’. He uses whatever comes to hand to kill and the low budget hampers the death scenes, so even ones that could be kind of cool – such as a lawnmower kill – just end up disappointing here’s plenty of fake blood splattered across the screen but nothing has any impact and that could be said about pretty much everything in the film.

Black Pumpkin wants to be a homage to classic 80s horror but it just uses all the bad clichés from the worst movies of this period and almost becomes a parody. If it was a parody then it might have been a little more entertaining. The characters are just there to be killed off and attempt to survive. No-one is very interesting, nobody has any kind of back-story, it’s just all very uninspiring and there’s very little to get excited about.

The music is very Eighties-influenced and as much as I enjoyed parts of it, it adds very little to the movie, no tension or scares and it doesn’t even suit the style. It’s just there because the film-makers wanted it to be as eighties as possible. There is also a pretty cool ‘final girl’ image as she is tied up in lights, make-up made up to look like a pumpkin while she screams for help. It looks cool for a few seconds but that’s it. Having your lead female called Laurie could be a nice touch but it feels forced here.

Even if you love Halloween, it is very hard to recommend Black Pumpkin. Go and discover some eighties horror that you haven’t seen or watch Halloween for the umpteenth time, both will be better options than this.

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