Halloween is behind us and ahead of us, so it’s always the right time for a Halloween horror marathon. Meaning I’m totally presenting you with a trio of Halloween films I’m adding to the complete list of holiday horror movies.
BLACK PUMPKIN (2018)
Black Pumpkin is pure indie Halloween slasher bliss drenched in 80s retro vibes.
The opening kill, complete with a black pumpkin on a front step, clips of Night of the Living Dead on a TV (naturally), a wicked jump scare, and delicious gore, gets us in the mood. There are also clips of a TV show the main characters watch throughout the film featuring a creepy dude singing an 80s style, earworm of a Halloween song (which is included in full as a bonus video on the DVD).
The plot is as old as time. A teen is supposed to babysit her younger siblings on Halloween. Her friends would rather she go with them to the site of the Bloody Bobby legend. At the same time, her younger brother and his funny friend are making a video for the Internet about the Bloody Bobby legend.
And of course there’s a nut running around town trying to warn everyone to beware Bloody Bobby.
And for good reason. Bloody Bobby is a freak of Halloween nature! Like a more demonic version of Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, he dices and slices up the main girl’s friends in brutal ways.
It’s gory, suspenseful, the main characters are likable, the Halloween atmosphere rox, and the main girl’s boyfriend has BJ lips made in heaven.
If there’s any flaw here, it’s that it appears at least some of the actors may have had to re-dub their dialogue back in after filming was complete, because the audio feels and sounds somewhat off at times.
THE LEGEND OF FALL CREEK (2021)
I was quite excited to discover that only months after I bought Black Pumpkin on DVD, companion film The Legend of Fall Creek was announced. I think it may simply be a reworked, re-edited, reproduced, reshot, or all of the above version of a seemingly unreleased Bloody Bobby movie listed in IMDb by the same creators, so I assume Black Pumpkin is actually the sequel.
It doesn’t matter which order you watch the two films in, but I would suggest watching this one first to save the best for last. Fall Creek has more of a gritty, dark look and feel, setting it apart from Black Pumpkin nicely, however, the creators didn’t need to splash the definition of grindhouse across the screen as the film starts. We’re a horror audience; we know why it looks the way it does.
As the title implies, Legend of Bloody Bobby recounts the origins of Bloody Bobby. How does it do that? For starters, it explains it in a narrative accompanied by scrolling text at the very beginning. The film takes place 20 years after the incident, and simply has various characters tell the same exact story of what happened to Bobby on Halloween night in 1988. He disappeared after kids picked on him. That’s all we get. No nasty details at all. Not even a flashback.
The main guy comes back to town, and he is still traumatized by whatever it is that happened when they were all kids. He’s acting really weird as he connects with old friends again at a Halloween party, but at the same time, he’s kind of funny. Guess he uses humor as a coping mechanism.
Meanwhile, people start getting killed off by someone in costume who doesn’t even vaguely live up to the creepiness of Bloody Bobby in Black Pumpkin. That version of the killer could so easily become iconic. Here he’s a letdown, especially since he’s cloaked constantly in quick edits with blurred focus. Bummer.
On top of that, not even a grindhouse filter can mask the detached narrative that loosely ties scenes together as we are presented with mostly forgettable, disposable characters. Plus, the slashing feels almost incidental rather than being the glue that holds the film together. That said, some of the kill sequences rock, especially when Bloody Bobby “trick or treats” at one woman’s house right before she takes a shower. There’s even a good old sex scene kill. Yay!
In the realm of why even bother including it in the film, there is some oddly forced, homophobic ranting in two scenes by different characters, but at least in both cases the phobes get theirs.
I will be adding this to my DVD collection when it’s released next month due to my completist compulsions, but I can definitely say you don’t need to see this film to enjoy Black Pumpkin, because they feel like they come from two different worlds.
SCARE ATTRACTION (2019)
Toss in elements of the most obvious fad movies of the last two decades and you get this generic, 72-minute film.
There are some Hellhouse LLC moments as a reality show host gives us a found footage style tour of his new Halloween scare location, while repeatedly referencing rooms inspired by the Saw movies.
The cast comes in, gets a tour of the scary attraction, and then gets trapped in what’s assumed to be an escape room.
Then they get gassed and wake up tied to chairs. A disembodied voice tells them they must solve riddles involving their most sinful acts or else they will die.
Sound familiar? If so and Saw is your thing, you may get some slight satisfaction from Scare Attraction. As a guy who was in it for a Halloween horror flick, I was left totally unsatisfied.