‘They’re looking for new blood’
Hack-O-Lantern is a 1987 American horror feature film directed by Indian-born Jag Mundhra (Open House; Night Eyes) from a screenplay by Carla Robinson.
Released on VHS on 25 March 1988, it is also known as as Halloween Night, Death Mask and The Damning. The Spencer Films production stars Hy Pyke, Gregory Scott Cummins, Katina Gamer and Carla Baron.
Hack-O-Lantern is the epitome of straight-to-video late ’80s cheesy horror, with big hair, cheap costumes and dodgy effects, mundane metal rock from D.C. La Croix (“You’re the Devil’s son!”) and Mercenaries, a fair amount of female nudity, the requisite puerile party scene, dialogue that’s delivered with no conviction whatsoever by a mainly amateurish cast, and a painfully distracting synth score that seems more suited to accompany a silent movie.
On the plus side, Hy Pyke overacting as the dodgy Grandpa villain with a Southern drawl to savour is hilarious, and his supposedly evil antics are what keeps the plot alive when it threatens to falter.
Although obviously low-grade trash, Hack-O-Lantern is thoroughly enjoyable trash, especially when taken it on its own unambitious terms. Needless to say, the Halloween elements are merely incidental.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
On January 30, 2018, Massacre Video released a remastered, extras-a-plenty Blu-ray + DVD.
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com
- New 2K restoration from the original camera negative
- Remastered 2.0 stereo mix and original mono mix
- Newly recorded audio commentary with producer Raj Mehrotra
- English language captions
- Isolated soundtrack option
- The Power Is In The Blood featurette (featuring interviews with stars Gregory Scott Ummings and Katina Garner).
- Rare public access interview featuring Katina Garner, Marya Gant and director Jag Mundhra
- Behind the scenes photos
- Trailers for other Massacre Video Releases
“There are only two facets of this movie where Mundhra really seems to have focused his attention. First, he makes sure that 90% of the women in this movie disrobe to some degree […] The second and less problematic focus is the gore, which really surprised me because I fully expected this to be the type of movie where the height of special effects would be throwing some red paint on a wall. There aren’t a lot of gags, but the ones we do get are pretty well done…” Bryan Christopher, Daily Dead
“The ending had a nice little twist as to who the killer was, but by then I was really too bored to care. I watched Hack-O-Lantern for some fun Halloween thrills, but found it more of a chore to sit through. A film with a cool name like Hack-O-Lantern deserves to be somewhat entertaining, but this was more like Crap-O-Lantern.” The Spooky Vegan