Halloween night is a time for watching horror movies, or tv shows about horror movies. I was getting a little tired of what I was seeing around all the cable networks, so I decided to dig into my own extensive catalog and take a chance on a horror movie I hadn’t seen yet. After hemming and hawing, I came across the Jag Mundhra directed 1988 film Hack-o-Lantern (aka Halloween Night). I looked at the synopsis on IMDB, and it read “A kindly old grandfather is actually the leader of a murderous satanic cult which sacrifices its victims on Halloween.” Kindly old grandfather is actually the leader of a murderous satanic cult? You don’t say? Yep, that sounded like my kind of movie, and a perfect way to cap off a Halloween night.
The movie starts out with young Tommy, running out in the yard to meet his grandpa for his pick of pumpkins of off the back of gramp’s pickup truck. While grandpa is giving him his pumpkin, he slips Tommy a little gift, and tells him not to let anyone know about it. Tommy takes the pumpkin out back to carve it for Halloween, while his little sister Vera, and brother Roger play in the yard. Soon, Tommy’s mom finds out that the pumpkin was a gift from his grandfather and she smashes the pumpkin and tells Tommy that’s he’s not allowed to communicate with gramps. When Tommy’s dad finds out that grandpa has been lurking around after he’s told him to stay away, he decides to take matters into his own hands. When the dad makes it to grandpa’s farm, he interrupts good ole’ gramp’s satanic ritual, and gets a nice hammer to the back of the skull. Grandpa takes the liberty to surround the body and the dad’s car with gasoline and lights it ablaze while Tommy can see it somehow in the distance. Tommy grabs the gift from his grandfather and unwraps it to reveal it’s a pentagram pendant.
Flash forward 13 years… Tommy is all grown up (and played by former San Diego Chargers punter Gregory Scott Cummin… wait, what?) and is rebellious as all get out. He jams out to heavy metal music and doesn’t listen to his mother. He drinks and cavorts with some bleached blonde bimbo and is being trained in the black arts by his grandfather. His sister Vera is all grown up too, and is dating a boy, getting ready for a Halloween party that night and plans on getting laid. His younger brother, Roger, is now a rookie on the police force and has been assigned to make sure nothing at this party gets out of hand (why any police force would assign an officer to watch a Halloween party is anyone’s guess – sounds like good use of public funds). Grandpa, on the other hand, has plans for his boy Tommy to become the head of his satanic cult, and tries to put the moves on Tommy’s mom – who you find out, had an incestuous relationship with the grandfather which resulted in the birth of Tommy. Weird, huh? You ain’t seen nothin yet…
This movie is… unique. First off, after a little bit of an intro, Tommy is laying on his bed, going through some nameless blank tapes until he finds one he wants to rock his cock out to. While laying on his bed, the whole thing cuts to a music video with Tommy as a supporting guitarist, wailing away while some black chick with shrunken skulls on her bra zaps all the rest of the band members with some green lasers that shoot out of her eyes, and eventually decapitates him with a trident. I wasn’t aware that you could actually cleave someone’s head from their neck with a trident, but I’m always learning new things. Another weird moment is when a strip scene happens at a party, and some random lame-o dude comes outside, and starts a stand up comedy bit. That comedian is the unknown Bill Tucker (here’s his website in case you want to book him), and he goes on to tell the most contrived, cliche bit that was ever put to film. The extras actually put on a better performance giving him pity laughs the entire time while he acts like a model on a photoshoot, and actually imitates a turkey. I wish I was making this up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that actually interrupts it’s own story with not only a music video (featuring the awesome D.C. Lacroix… wait, who?) and a stand up bit by the above mentioned Bill Tucker.
The characters are also a trip. The grandfather (Hy Pyke) overacts more than William Shatner and plays as effeminate as Harvey Fierstein. The mother looks like she’s the same age as the grandfather and probably just a few years older than the oldest son. In fact all of the characters look like they’re about 10 years older than the age their playing. The only one that can maybe pass for their age is the youngest son, Roger. The acting is really bad but laughable all at once, and there are enough boobs to keep you entertained.
After all that, keep in mind that this movie is plain awful, but it’s probably the most unintentionally hilarious movie I’ve ever seen. I should have known when the opening credits were 2 minutes long on top of a black background and the top billed actor was Hy Pyke that I’d be in for a great time. Just when you think it’s about to settle down, they put a 6 foot tall stunt man in the place of a 5 foot tall actor and throw any horror or serious element out the window. Hack-o-lantern definitely deserves 5 pentagram pendants out of 5.
Check out the “music video” and stand up below…
Oh, and watch out, this next one is going to be painful…