Hack O Lantern (1988)


Edited & Directed by: Jag Mundhra

Written by: Carla Robinson


Hy Pyke .... Grandpa
.... Tommy
Katina Garner .... Amanda
Carla Baron .... Vera
Jeff Brown .... Roger

Release Date: Direct-to-Video:
July 30, 1988 (West Germany)

*Images courtesy at: www.thegoresplatteredcorner.com






Tommy (Gregory Scott Cummins) wants to do the same things as his Grandpa (Hy Pike) does but he's the leader of a satanic cult as his basket case of a mother Amanda (Katina Garner) tries to prevent him on getting involved with things and even tries to get her second son Roger (Jeff Brown) who's now a police officer to talk to him on stuff.
Also there's been grave robberies as well as a masked killer doing people in and as Halloween night arrives a special ritual, just for Tommy, is being organised.


A real trashy beginning when we spot a child of Tommy talking to his Grandpa while giving him a pumpkin on Halloween as well as this child taunting his little brother which doesn't look believeable at all. Also a cheesy but an interesting and disturbing moment with his Mom whom is called Amanda freaking out when she finds out that Tommy was talking to his Grandpa and smashing the pumpkin as this doesn't look pleasant while watching this.
We have a moment when the father comes to his barn and warning him to stay away from his family and we spot the cult killing him as well as burning his vehicle as well as dragging him away which there's interesting camera shots but cheesily done. However at the same time looked disturbing.
Also a moment with Amanda trying to prevent Grandpa for seeing her kids during present day looked disturbing as well as a flashback sequence on Amanda getting ready to be wed and he tries to molest her which also looked genuinely twisted while seeing this.
We have a moment when Vera is taking a bath and a fake spider creeps up on her only to be tricked by her friend Beth as when we first spot this creepy crawler it could've looked more real to tease us that it was just a toy.
However the best scene in this story is when Tommy starts to listen to his headset and is in dreamland with the hair metal band D.C. Lacroix and him playing the guitar performing one of their stompin tunes which looked like a total music video as well as a deadly moment that surrounds Tommy in the end of this scene as this looked good and shocking. Suddenly he wakes up which was the only scene worth watching but doesn't save it from bombing.
A good discussion with the little brother Roger now a police officer and Amanda discussing about Tommy's behavior which was well drawn in and seems to add into the story that one of her kids is a part of the law to help save her family from falling apart.
Also a good forceful moment on Tommy pulling Roger out of his room and showing his area of satanic rituals as this looked creepy showing a good satanic setting by what we spot here which draws you in.
A dull moment with Tommy's lustful girlfriend doing a tease towards what she thinks is him in a costume as this is supposed to give you the chills that this person will do you in but it looked too corny to make any of this scary to watch.
We also have a moment when Tommy finds that Vera's boyfriend Bill is about to get it on with her and he gets forceful with him as although this seemed intense it looked sloppily done and unbelieveable to watch all of this happening.
Plus there's a moment with Bill being chased by the maniac in the costume as this looked too silly to watch as well as him falling into a hole of a grave and spotting a skeletal body in which none of this looked convincing but a gross moment that will please fans of horror violence on what this killer does to him with a shovel. Not pretty to watch at all and sick too.
In another scene we have Grandpa doing a satanic ceremony with a lustful woman as this looked stupid while watching this and not very entertaining either even for it's low budget value like you'd expect.
Good shots and settings when Beth has a romance with Roger about to make love at a cemetary which seemed silly too. Yet their conversations looked good and flowing I must say. There's a close up shot on her holding a hand of Bill's corpse buried thinking that it's Roger himself which looked stupid.
Many different scene's at a Halloween dance as one of them looked mildly entertaining with a heavy metal band performing a cheesy tune but there's other pointless scene's there like a stripper or someone dancing with snakes to kill the time and a total bore to watch.
Also have a situation with Vera talking to Beth about her romance with Roger as well as spotting what's in that clump of dirt from the grave in which leaves an impression that this won't look pretty to find out on what it is.
We have a peer pressuring moment on Vera about to be sacrified at her Grandpa's ceremony and seeing on whether or not that Tommy will pull through or not which looked twisted to watch with good red lighting and some mild suspenseful moments.
There's the moment near the end which makes you wanna cry with Tommy holding Amanda as this truly looked depressing to watch on what she tried to tell him about his Grandpa and not having her family give in to him. This moment was hard to watch.
Bottom line is that this film was pointless and amateurishly done and made on a low grindhouse budget as well as terribly written in lots of spots which all of this was silly to watch. Plus it's not the kind of movie to watch if you're in a bad headspace and spotting a basket case for a mother and terrified on what her son is doing to himself. The VHS box cover is better than the film itself.

The acting is pretty bad I must say but this film was awful so I can't see anyone talented working on this one. Hy Pyke (Grandpa) was the worst in the cast with his gravelly voice and doesn't sound naturally evil. He's over the top. He's sort of dweeby looking as well as a bit evil too which doesn't combine in too well. He wasn't a character actor in this one in my books.
(Tommy) was a little stiff in his role as the disturbed and rebellious one in the flick but has a nice brawny presence to him and the right looks. He has that familiar looking face. Alot of the times he's wooden while saying his lines and at times off with his forceful blocking too like getting nearly violent towards someone else.
Katina Garner (Amanda) seemed to be one of the better cast members in this film although at times she's a bit stiff. She draws her intensity okay as well as coming across clearly as someone whom is a basket case and her emotional attitude too shows it off too. Plus reacts sharply to when she is frusterated in a certain scene as this shines off. Does nicely at the end of her performance sobbing and choking which makes you feel sorry for her. She had the right southern mother type of looks too.
Carla Baron (Vera) was very stiff in her role and only had the pretty looks. Seems at times to do okay when acting sympathetic but that's about it. She doesn't do well screaming or sobbing when she spots something devastating. Was weak in her performance by doing any of this and seriously needed lessons on her upsetting moments. Doesn't seem to offer alot of characteristics just her presence and that's all.
Jeff Brown
(Roger) somewhat was another better performer with his masculine and clean cut guy next door looks. Seemed to comes across clearly within his speaking as well as doing a good job with his outgoing behavior or getting into a conversation nicely. For sure shows himself as a likeable lawman along with doing a good job acting romantic when necessary. Certainly looked like a heartthtrob.
Beth) was the best out of the cast I found in which she offers a great teasing and outgoing type of behavior in which she added a ton of spunk into all of this. She had the right beautiful looks and delivered her lines very well by how she came across onto the camera as well as showing upsetting and shocked reactions after what she experienced in another scene. Comes across as someone you'd like to hang out with and offering a good positive attitude which was fairly passable.

A womans wedding gown is pulled down briefly exposing her breast.
Someone comes out of her bathtub naked in soap and bubbles form a bubblebath.
A wet see through shirt of a womans breat is seen after a swim and takes it all off top to bottom before taking a shower and takes it all off again when acting flirtatious.
A full nude woman is exposed when a satanic ritual is happening.
A stripper takes off the bottom of her bikini at a Halloween party.
A drunken party goer nearly has her top removed while getting murdered with her breasts nearly showing.

Someone is stabbed in the neck and later beheaded in a dream sequence of a music video.
A pitchfork is stabbed in a lustful woman's neck.
Shovel is stabbed in someone's head.
Back is bloodily stabbed in a girls restroom of a Halloween party.

The composing is half good in which we do get great low budget creepy synthesizer music for the opening credits as this sounds impressive for a beginning of a low budget horror flick. ALso some nice action packed synthesizer music during a certain aspect of the plot which is very catchy. However there's some piano playing which sounds slightly off key but showing good timing in other spots adding some quiverring sounds of other music blended in as this works well. There's some cheesy old fashioned organ music for the cult ceremonies which averagely fits in. Also we have some romantic music when a couple makes out at a graveyard as this has been done before. All of this was composed by Gregory Haggard.

A great songtrack by hair metal band D.C. Lacroix with "Devil's Son" during a dream sequence as well in the closing credits in which we hear wailing guitar riffs and screechy female vocalising which looked totally wild as this really sounds memorable by how it was all done and sounding truly powerful as I love this type of music since I grew up with it.