Jack O' Lantern
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $26.98 // September 20, 2005
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted October 14, 2005
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Graphical Version
The Movie

I'm sure that if you sat down in a small-town Georgia movie theater and watched Jack O' Lantern with all its cast & crew members in attendance, you could (maybe) find something pleasant and complimentary to say about the flick.

I, having never been to Georgia and presently sick to freaking death of hi-def, low I.Q., homemade horror movies, can plainly state the opinion that Jack O' Lantern is one of the goofiest, silliest, and most obviously inept "do it yourself" horror flicks I've seen in quite some time.

Boasting a budget that probably approaches three digits, Jack O' Lantern tells the story of a semi-retarded young man who may or may not be responsible for a spate of recent murders. Most of the kills occur in relation to a car or vehicle of some sort, and (to be fair) some of the low-end splatter effects are actually kinda cool.

But if you're going to the video store looking for 45 seconds of cool gore set amidst 89 additional minutes of astonishing badness, well, then you've probably seen Jack O' Lantern already.

The acting is hilariously bad, the story is muddled, familiar and boring, the kills are juicy yet infrequent, and the titular beastie? He looks like a goofy, runny, smelly pumpkin. Not too scary, obviously.

While it's not too surprising to see a no-budget stinker like this populating the 99-cent VHS bin, it's a bit bizarre to see a company like Lions Gate releasing this malformed mass on DVD. One can only assume it's a title left over from the Artisan merger, or maybe someone at Lions Gate was just lost a bet with Jack director Ron McLellan.

The DVD

Video: It's a widescreen (1.66:1) transfer, and the flick looks as good as can be expected, I suppose. You'll see a grainy sheen over most of the unending goofiness, but you'll catch the action clearly enough.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0, with optional subtitles in English or Spanish. Audio quality is fine, all budgetary constraints considered.

Extras: There's a 13-minute featurette entitled "Jack O'Lantern: Behind the Screams," in which several cast & crew members convince themselves they made something worth watching. Love their tenacity, but not their movie. You'll also find a bunch of trailers for Jack O'Lantern, Bloody Mallory, Zodiac Killer, Vampire Assassin, Fugitive Hunter, and (oddly enough) Waiting.

Final Thoughts

It's easy to admire the hard work and dedication that goes into a "hey, let's make a movie" project, but Jack O' Lantern is just a boring, derivative, and amateurish mess from beginning to end. When it's not ripping off better movies, it's meandering around in a barn and grinding to an endless halt.



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