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Belittling Horror Excessively: Pumpkinhead10:13 PM -- Sat October 19, 2013

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A group of obnoxious teens heads, as usual, to a remote cabin for partying purposes. Along the way they take a rather odd stop to zoom around on motorbikes for a minute. In the process, they accidentally run over a young boy, killing him. His dad doesn't take the news well for some reason, and finds an old witch in the woods to summon a vengeance demon to slaughter them all. Like you do. Vengeance ensues.

Scariness Type: Oddly enough, this is pretty much a slasher movie, like Friday The 13th, where a guy with a machete runs around chopping people up. The subtle difference is that the guy is a giant alien monster instead, and uses claws in place of machetes.

Rating: 3/5 Stickman Necklaces.

Body Count: 7

Fun Fact: The father who ends up connected with the monster is Bishop, the crazy android from the Alien movies. The monster is a near-exact copy of the alien from the Alien movies. Another odd Bishop note: he (the actor who played him) actually bought the gold coins that he pays the witch with, at various pawn shops and stuff around town. He also used his own gun and some other wardrobe elements. Way to support the team!

Best Moment: I don't know... the final showdown was pretty interesting, I suppose.

Worst Moment: Dare I call this the worst moment? It made me laugh... they used an orchestra sting to turn a friendly dog jumping into a guy's lap into a jump scare. It was stupid.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There's really only two things I can point to here that bugged me, and they're more a matter of degree than just something crazy: The "evil teenager" was just too evil. They do that in a lot of movies it seems, but come on, the guy is locking his friends up in a broom closet and cutting phone lines just to make sure they don't call an ambulance for a dying kid? And secondly, I know it's possible to stumble and end up impaled on a pitchfork, I just don't think it's a likely enough occurrence that the coincidence of that happening amidst all this monster excitement is particularly believable.

Horror Tropes: Is it a trope to have a big H.R. Giger alien? It's been done in other horror movies, I know that! We also had "boy chases his dog into certain doom" (usually in front of a truck, in front of a motorcycle this time), "dead monster reaches out and grabs you to reveal its non-dead status", "cowering in the closet and the monster roars at you rather than just tearing you apart" (monsters hate closets, despite what children think), and probably a lot of others. It was a lot more enjoyable to see a huge alien doing the teenager-stalking instead of some boring guy in a mask, but he still made sure to follow all the rules.

My Take: I saw this movie decades ago, probably not when it came out, but a few years later on VHS. And at least once or twice more. I have very strong memories of saying "It's gotta run its course!" to my friends. Somehow we were attached to that phrase. Which is sad because on this viewing, I barely noticed when it went past. It doesn't sound very interesting at all. There was another line we also quoted, but I forget what it was - it's from the scene where the hog-feed-hauling boy is standing next to Bishop's pickup talking to him. But, nostalgia aside, I was surprised to find this movie isn't that bad. It feels very short, but in a good way: stuff is always happening and it just moves right along. And the people in it are not as ridiculous as your usual slasher movie... well, the people of this little backwoods town aren't. The teenagers that are ostensibly the main characters (Bishop is the real main character) are the one-dimensional machete-fodder you've come to expect. There's a fun concept in the movie, where Bishop and the Alien are magically linked because it was awoken with his blood, but I think that could've worked better in a movie where the linked person didn't actually want to sacrifice himself, so the heroes would have to evade the unkillable monster while tracking him down. In this movie, everybody's pretty much aiming for the same final confrontation and it all just wraps right up neat as you please. Anyway, for 80's horror, this is downright decent.

Missed Opportunity: I think the director - since he was Stan Winston, monster-maker extraordinaire - was way too happy to show the alien (oh sorry, I mean demon) clearly. We could've done with a lot more suspense and not-seeing of it. The creature effects were actually really good, but no movie monster is going to really come off that great when you just lay it out in full light.

The Lesson: Don't run over kids. I think the lesson is very clear this time, it demonstrates the consequences in great detail.

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