You only have to visit one horror convention to understand why, twelve years after Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings hit the scene, we're now getting a pair of seriously unnecessary sequels. (Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud aired last month.) It's because horror fans are painfully loyal patrons, and they've agreed that the Pumpkinhead character is pretty damn evil, vicious and slick-looking. I suppose we can
Speaking of trash, Pupmkinhead 3: Ashes to Ashes is every bit the infantile, obvious and amateurish affair that one would expect from a project bankrolled by the Sci-Fi Channel. I hate to say it so callously, but I'm fairly certain that the Sci-Fi Channel guys are well aware of how rotten their "original programming" movies actually are. Sure, Sci-Fi sometimes airs some really solid titles (Dog Soldiers, for example), but when you're dealing with their own stuff, you're generally dealing with the bottom of the genre barrel.
I did, however, throw Pumpkinhead 3 into my DVD player with just a small dose of optimism. Hired to helm the flick was British lunatic Jake West, whose last movie (Evil Aliens) I enjoyed quite a bit. Also on board were genre regulars Doug "Pinhead" Bradley and Lance "Bishop" Henriksen (reprising a character who, I believe, died in both of the previous Pumpkinhead movies), so it's not like there weren't some promising components at the outset. And then I hit the Play button.
The flick opens with what feels like Act II. A bunch of anonymous characters are running around as if the movie's already been going for at least 20 minutes, and frankly I didn't care enough to figure out what was going on. And then I started to piece the paltry plot together. Seems that a local mortician in a hayseed town has taken to dumping corpses into a nearby swamp -- and he also enjoys stealing vital organs from anyone who chances upon his activities. Then we begin the standard Pumpkinhead plot: Using a local crone, some really stupid people awaken the evil monster known as Gourdnoggin so they can wreak some sort of revenge on the evil mortician. Innocents and henchmen are massacred in short order, lots of people run around and scream a lot, and some skinny guy in a barely passable monster costume skewers, throttles and mangles the whole lot of 'em.
Truth be told, the only entertainment value to be found here is strictly of the "accidental" variety. My roommate and I had a pretty good time howling at the terrible editing, the atrocious CGI and the consistently insipid screenplay. Pumpkinhead 3 is in no way a "scary" experience, unless of course you happen to be one of the young actors who've placed the gig on your resume. It's every bit the generic, silly and "what were they thinking?" sort of horror movie that finds a place on your local Blockbuster shelf ... and then sits there forever. But hey, whatever it takes to keep a withered old series alive, right? I wouldn't be surprised if the Sci-Fi Channel decides to mount something called Pumpkinhead: The Series some time soon. Ugh, I may have just given someone a great idea.