Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006)

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Released 21-May-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Trailer-The Covenant, Casino Royale, Spiderman 3, Attack Force
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 90:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:34) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jake West
Studio
Distributor
SciFi Channel
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Doug Bradley
Douglas Roberts
Lisa McAllister
Tess Panzer
Emanuel Parvu
Ioana Ginghina
Lance Henriksen
Radu Iacobian
Catalin Paraschiv
Dan Astileanu
Dicu Aurel
Iulian Glita
Lynne Verrall
Case ?
RPI ? Music Rob Lord


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
German
Italian
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A family of evil morticians and the local doctor have been kidnapping the townsfolk in a very small southern US town and selling their organs to a shady Eastern European smack cook who lives in a seedy motel somewhere in town. Seeking revenge, a group of four locals have the creepy old woman who lives in the nearby swamp conjure the evil demon Pumpkinhead to seek revenge on their behalf. Once the mindless demon begins his revenge trip, the four summoners have second thoughts and join the quest to stop him. Ed Harley, a character from the original Pumpkinhead is somehow tied to the beast also and pops up from time to time.

    Originally made for US cable channel Sci-Fi Channel, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes is the kind of movie that is so bad it is fun to watch - at least up to a point. The z-grade monster effects and CGI, dismal overacting, woeful southern accents (many with a distinct Brit twang) and absurd plot get pretty tired by about half-way through. Lance Henriksen is clearly only onboard for the pay cheque - popping up at random points to phone in grumpy one-liners before vanishing again. TV producers must really be scratching for material if they are reaching for mediocre Stan Winston pet projects from the 1980s to turn into franchises. Perhaps it would have been a bit more interesting if Stan Winston had been involved in some capacity...

    Beware if you haven't seen the original Pumpkinhead - at a random point half-way through, the film spends five minutes explaining the entire plot of the original Pumpkinhead, twists and all, complete with flashbacks. It probably would have made for a better movie if the film had explained its own plot in this much detail!

    Suckers for horror movies of the tragically bad variety may enjoy renting this one, but be warned - it wanes between confusing and dull. Most viewers would do best to steer clear of this mess.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality is very good. The film has a distinctly digital look about it. The image is quite sharp, but the level of grain intensifies during darker scenes (as is typical of many shot-on-digital productions). There is a decent level of detail in the shadows and dark areas even when the grain is at a noticeable level. A moderate level of low level noise is visible.

    The colour palette is quite bold and makes reasonable use of filters or colour balance effects to achieve a moody look to the film.

    There are no film artefacts visible at any point (it is quite likely this was a purely digital transfer). There are no issues with MPEG compression artefacts.

    White English subtitles are present. Based on the portion I sampled, they appear to be accurate to the spoken word and well timed.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs mid-scene at 55:53 but was not particularly noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    English, German, Spanish and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) tracks are available.

    The audio is quite clear and well balanced. Dialogue is easy to understand and appears well timed.

    A generic orchestral score backs the movie. While it is not a particularly bad score, it frequently seems an awkward fit to the action on-screen.

    The surrounds are used extensively, but the effect is quite clunky. Similarly, the subwoofer bangs and thuds when the action and scares kick in but that is about it. A bit more subtlety would have gone a long way, although that is probably a bit much to ask form this sort of film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The disc features no real extras, but does open with the anti-piracy trailer that has been plaguing discs for some time and features trailers for the Blu-ray format, The Covenant, Casino Royale, Spiderman 3 and Attack Force.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 and region 4 versions are identical save for language tracks and subtitles. The Region 1 misses out on the German, Spanish and Italian language tracks, opting instead for French and Portuguese tracks. The Region 1 edition features Japanese and French subtitles, but misses out on German, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Turkish subtitles.

Summary

    A rather dull made-for-TV horror movie that tries to resurrect one of the more generic franchises of the 1980s. This one isn't worth the effort even for fans of trashy horror films.

    Though the disc is devoid of extras, the video looks good and the audio is decent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, October 29, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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