Monday, May 4

Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

"The power is in the blood!"

A.K.A. Halloween Night
Directed by Jag Mundhra
87 Minutes / Legacy Entertainment / Full Frame

As a young boy, Tommy (Gregory Scott Cummins) is visited one Halloween by his Satan worshippin' pumpkin growin' Grandpa (Hy Pyke), and is given a pentagram pendant.

Flash forward an undetermined amount of years and Tommy is rockin' the badass black look in his apparently ageless mother's basement looking as if he's pushing forty. Tommy's underground bachelor suite is decked out in electric beer logo signs, dirty clothes strewn about, a mattress on the floor, the required satanic shrine, and kickass posters of Season of the Witch and Dead-End Drive In. His ol' Grandpa is still alive and somehow looks younger than in the prologue.

It's Halloween day and Grandpa is getting Tommy ready for his big initiation into the pitchfork hailin' fold. Tommy's mother is deeply troubled over the state of one of her sons and the mysterious death of her husband by the hands of the cultists decades ago. Our thirty-fiveish manboy has normal siblings, a sister and a "good" little brother who grew up to be a local cop. Despite his life situation, Tommy has a '80s hot trash girlfriend whose fine with wearing underwear to buy beer, has an pentagram ass tat, and drives him around in her vette.

All the normal people are planning on attending a Halloween bash, but Tommy is in preparation, not even being allowed to sex up his sugar mama. But soon, people start dying by the bloody pitchfork of a tall figure in a black robe and devil mask. Will Tommy's family survive the night? Who is the killer? What's with all chicks with the thick asses?

Still the most hilarious no-budget '80s trash slasher I've seen to date. So many things are so wonderfully wrong. Tommy has a dream that's essentially a DC Lacroix music video of "The Devil's Son" featuring a voodoo woman with laser beam emitting eyes and decap skills. Hy Pyke is glorious in his horrible performance with such a gruff voice it's as if he downed a carton of smokes before each take. Upon dawning his satanic garbs and eyeliner, he looks like a senile Indian woman shouting the most clichéd mumbo jumbo this side of Al Adamson.

At the bash, we see a comedian named "Wild" Bill Tucker ground the film to a halt for several minutes as he delivers an incredibly unfunny shtick about porn layouts and turkeys. A fully nude strip tease happens on the dance floor and later what might be a transsexual belly dancing with a python. The party's hair metal band, Mercenaries, that seems to play an entire B-side's worth, has a song with the chorus "No, they can't do it, 'cuz that's against the law."

There's much more that will leave you simply mumbling what the fuck? You can't take this seriously, even by crap slasher standards. The film blissfully rocks within its our world. Down a few while keeping that in mind and it might end up being a minor favorite.

Film: 8.5/10 (for the cheese factor)
VHS Picture: 7/10 (surprisingly crisp and bright)
VHS Sound: 5/10


J. Astro said...

awwwwweeeesome. Are you a fan of "ROCK 'N ROLL NIGHTMARE" as well? That's MY personal favorite bit of hard rock horror cheeze.

Jayson Kennedy said...

For a minute I thought you meant '88's Hard Rock Nightmare. Though nah, I still haven't seen it, I've heard it's furiously zany. One of the few Synapse discs I don't own yet. :(

Thanks for the recommendation and reminding me! I'll bump it up on the wishlist... you dare tread upon the staircase?

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