Schlock & Gore: Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

Director: Jag Mundhra
Runtime: 87 mins.


I just flew in from September, and boy are my arms tired! Yuk yuk.

October is here and that means the Halloween spirit courses through my veins, bones, and very fascia that’s keeping me all together. I cut my finger yesterday and a bat flew out. You’d never believe it, but when I yawn, a ghost tries to escape me and I have to physically cram it back down. What I’m saying is, don’t be surprised that this week’s review is of the over-the-top 80’s slasher, Halloween Night, AKA, Hack-O-Lantern.


Now for all of you diehards out there, Hack-O-Lantern may not seem like the deepest cut. What I took to be a typical B-horror slasher has been on my radar for years now. The thing I wasn’t ready for, and the thing that you all failed to inform me of, was just how fucking bonkers this thing would be.


Hy Pyke, who has to be the only actor to appear in both Blade Runner and Dolemite, plays Grandpa. From scene one it’s evident that Grandpa is a little different. Fingers adorned with cheap rings and voice like a garbage disposal, Grandpa tells little Tommy that he’s special. Bestowing the little boy with a pumpkin and a pendant, he sends him on his way. Shortly after, Tommy and his two siblings, Vera and Roger, are playing in the yard. Upon learning about where Tommy received his pumpkin, their all-too-tolerant mother, now visibly upset, smashes it. Later that evening, her husband decides to go have a talk with Grandpa, and address his apparent grooming of Tommy. And let’s just say that a Grandpa in a satanic cult gives no fucks, because he murders the shit out of his son-in-law.

“The power is in the blood.”

13 years later and Tommy is tall, dark, and handsome, and played by a young Mac’s Dad!

Gregory Scott Cummins AKA Mac’s Dad AKA Tommy.

Yeah man, and he doesn’t give a fuck!

Vera has a boyfriend, Roger has a gun and a badge, and Tommy has a walkman. You know, so he can escape into a hair-metal music video and get decapitated.

Note: I’ve been informed that the band performing in the music video is called D.C. Lacroix.

Where was I? Right, so. As Halloween approaches, townsfolk are getting picked off. We see that Tommy’s relationship with Grandpa is stronger than ever, meanwhile, everyone else is getting ready for a Halloween party. Will a randomly placed stand-up routine by a character that hasn’t until this point even existed manage to derail the movie? You betcha. Actually, we need to talk about this…

This is supposed to be an impression of a turkey.

A man exits the Halloween party to find a group of people hanging around outside. He then proceeds to tell the most contrived jokes in the most ham-fisted stand-up routine. Not even editing could convince you that this man is funny, as he rolls around on the ground and pretends to be a turkey. RANDOMLY. In the middle of a SLASHER MOVIE. For NO REASON. Somehow he avoids talking about airline food. It reminds me of the Bruce Lee clone popping up in Pieces to do karate at night. It’s wonderful.

Of course there’s a climax with a showdown and people in death masks battling, etc. It’s your assignment to watch this thing for the play-by-play on that. With more boobs and blood than expected, Jag Mundhra manages to make Hack-O-Lantern a solid piece of entertainment, regardless of how dumb it is. Worth a watch for all fans of 80’s low-budget, or even just fans of that delightful Halloween setting.


Thank you ladies and gentleman, I’ll be here all week. *rimshot* Tip your waiters, try the prime rib, etc. and be rad at all times.



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