Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Invaders From Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper)

I think I’ve seen some of the original cult flick Invaders From Mars which came out in the 1950s. What I saw of that was good, yet dated. You can make the same argument about Hooper’s remake, still I rather liked this one well enough. The ending is gusty, the cast is good, there’s some awesome freaky moments and the movie is very 1980s. Which is fine as Hooper did some pretty good work during that decade and became further established in his own right.

However compared to other 1980s remakes this one isn’t as good as the other ones, although I definitely prefer it over Not Of This Earth, which was not a good movie. Louise Fletcher is wonderfully sinister in this movie, the parents are played by famous actors Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman, and Karen Black has a prominent hero role as the school nurse who believes the kid protagonist. Hunter Carson is quite good as young David, the hero, and James Karen plus Christopher Allport pop up as high ranking soldiers who come to David’s aid.

There are several pretty cool sequences too, particularly the one in the saucer alien lair yet also one involving a swirling sand vortex of doom. Stan Winston and John Dykstra do a fine job with the special effects, and even though the movie drags a bit in the middle the finale more than covers for the weaker aspects. I’ll have to view the original in it’s entirety to compare the two, however for now I’m very satisfied with the remake.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Pumpkinhead (1988, Stan Winston)

Special effects wizard Stan Wizard unfortunately only directed a few films, chief among them being Pumpkinhead. Its dated as most 80s movies are, yet its also rather well made and rather creepy. The monster itself is beyond ugly and murders its victims in a horribly gruesome and violent manner, operating on the orders of people who have summoned it for revenge. However as real life and many films attest to, revenge is not a clean and easy matter. Usually it possesses people, turning them into primitive beasts hellbent on getting retribution at all costs. Lance Henriksen’s farmer, a simple man who makes his living off the land, witnessed the unholy creature Pumpkinhead at an early age, and after suffering a fate worse than death proceeds to go to an evil woman and force her to bring forth the beast to get him justice.

The problem is though that what happened was an accident, and only too late does Henriksen’s Ed Harley understand why others warned him against bringing to life an undead and foul monstrosity. Although the creature effects are old school 80s style, Pumpkinhead itself still looks fantastic and disgusting, inspiring fear and terror. Considering how the movie ended I’m surprised there were sequels, although it seems that the horror genre creates franchises out of just about everything. This is more like one of the darker 80s films instead of the usual entertaining horror ones, and it benefits from playing the material straight.

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