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Black Pumpkin (2018) Review

Shot under the title of Bloody Bobby 2, Black Pumpkin, (not to be confused with Pumpkins), is actually the sequel to the 2016 film Bloody Bobby and the middle film of a proposed trilogy. I hadn’t seen or even heard of the original before this, but apparently, it deals with Bobby Maxwell. The 10-year-old vanished on Halloween Eve and returned twenty years later for revenge. Now, the evil that is Bloody Bobby has accidentally been reawakened.

The opening of Black Pumpkin calls back to the original film with an effectively done double murder of a man  (David Uchansky, The Wanderers) and his daughter Sarah (Kamilla Alnes, Dave Made A Maze, American Horror Story), before jumping ahead ten years. We’ll find out later who they are and why their deaths matter.

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Elsewhere, Elliot (Dogen Eyeler) and his buddy Laurence “Pork Chop” Chubbs (Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick, Dead Women Walking) are working on a video project for school. This involves some filming in Devil’s Den, where Bloody Bobby is supposed to still lurk.

Come Halloween Eve, Elliot’s sister Laurie (Ellie Patrikios, Flatliners) skips out on babysitting him and his sister Regan (Gemma Brooke Allen). That means they’re alone when Bloody Bobby (Jo Osmond, Jupiter Ascending, Snow White and the Huntsman) returns and targets them. Their only hope lies with Alex Griffin (Curt Clendenin) who has been waiting for this night.

Despite supposedly being focused on the two preteen filmmakers and their sister, Black Pumpkin spends a large amount of time out in the woods killing off a bunch of partying high schoolers. And on Laurie and her friends. That’s actually a plus in my book, as I’d rather deal with them than annoying little kids. Although, the idea of annoying ten-year-olds versus a demonic ten-year-old is at least somewhat original. And originality is in somewhat short supply here.

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Writer/director Ryan McGonagle said he wanted to make an 80s style horror film, and he has. Unfortunately, it’s as much by scavenging bits and pieces from lots of 80s films and assembling them into a script. For the most part, he does stage them well, but how many times can you see someone strangled with Christmas lights or run down the road as opposed to getting up the embankment while being chased by a vehicle before it stops being effective?

There are some rather nasty kills in Black Pumpkin, though the handling of them is a mixed bag. Several are off-screen, though we do see the remains, such as an effectively done charred body. The several stabbings we do see are nicely done as well. What should have been the film’s showcase kill though is ruined by incredibly weak effects.

For the most part, Black Pumpkin does a good job of filling in enough of the backstory that I knew what was going on. There were moments, like the opening murders, where I wasn’t sure, but it is explained along the way. And there’s an amusingly nasty epilogue to set up the next film. Currently, titled Legend of Fall Creek, IMDB lists it as in post-production and intended for release next year.

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What’s rather interesting is that McGonagle is also listed as filming The Good, the Bad, and the bloody, a documentary about “the journey of a little known urban legend into 3 feature length films”. I don’t know if Bloody Bobby is an actual urban legend or just a marketing gimmick, but there is a website devoted to it.

Uncork’d Entertainment will release Black Pumpkin on DVD and Digital December 8th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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