Director - Steve Latshaw (Vampire Trailer Park)
Starring - Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead), Maddisen K. Krown (Biohazard: The Alien Force), and Gary Doles
Release Date - 1995
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "He's baaack"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)
Rating (out of 5):
We are just 5 days away from one of my favorite holidays of the year, Halloween. This is the day that horror fans look forward to so they can indulge in the spooky. For some, they visit local cemeteries, tell ghost stories with the lights off, or watch horror films. For me, Halloween is a way to get away from the normal horror flicks and check out Halloween films. Most of which are horror but we do get a few family oriented Halloween films that serve up the same purpose. In my opinion, Halloween should be about Halloween and not just horror. A few years ago I was at a pawn shop and came across a copy of Jack-O. It was the Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition and the pawn shop was just asking a dollar or so for it. This is a movie I had heard a lot about over the years with many horror fans giving it the "so bad its good" title. With Fred Olen Ray producing I knew it would be good so I grabbed the DVD and tossed it on my shelf until it was Halloween and I had time to check it out.
The film follows the Kelly family who is said to be descendants of Arthur Kelly. Legend has it that Arthur sent an evil Warlock to the grave. The warlock swore vengeance on Arthur and his family before he died. We jump to present day (keep in mind this was shot in 1995) and the Kelly family is preparing for Halloween. A couple teens head out looking for the grave of the warlock, now known as Mr. Jack the Pumpkin Man. They find it and mistakenly awaken Mr. Jack. Mr. Jack then goes on a murdering rampage all across town killing anyone, and everyone that gets in his way until he can get to the Kelly family.
I love a good, campy horror film especially when they throw caution into the wind and give us something we can unwind with and laugh at. Fred Olen Ray is a name known the world over for giving us goofy films full of sleaze and humor. Jack-O was no exception. The film did not have as much sleaze as I expected from a Ray produced flick but it did come with plenty of cheese which did more than make up for it. The acting for this one is pretty bad. When I say bad I mean day time soap bad. The cast just go through their lines with little to no attempt at creating a character. Sadly, this is 90 percent of the cast. Linnea Quigley is the only one that stands out and offers up watchable scenes but these are all one sided when the other cast members speak. The story for this one is one we have seen so many times before and the opening scene automatically made me think of Blood Wings: Pumpkinhead II. The film begins well over a hundred years ago when someone bad is stopped by a local hero and a curse is placed on his family (Ernest Scared Stupid?) only to have his ancestors tortured by an evil spirit. The story is not that original but that is not the point of a film that Ray is attached to. The point of these films is mind numbing entertainment with campy moments that either make you scream at the t.v. or laugh at the absurdity. Finally, the film has several on screen kills that will either make you laugh or make you feel like you wasted your time. Some kills are fun while others are cut aways where we get nothing. The practical effects are hit or miss with the kills. Some boast some decent practical effects while others are full of the most dated visual effects I have seen in awhile. Overall, Jack-O is a pretty campy film for those of you that enjoy a little cheese on your horror. The film is bad but it is fun. That is what people tend to forget. Movies are meant to be fun not game changers. Check this one out but keep that in mind.