Jack-O (1995, directed by Steve Latshaw)


Back in frontier times, a warlock named Walter Machden (John Carradine) terrorized the citizens of the town of Oakmoor Crossing so they tracked him down and lynched him.  Before he was hung, Machden cursed the town.  A demon with a jack-o-lantern for a head terrorized the town until the Kelly Family defeated him and buried him underneath a cross.

Jump forward one hundred years.  It is Halloween night and some drunk teenagers knock over the cross.  Jack-O comes back to life and kills the teenagers.  Jack-O sets out to get revenge on the Kelly family but, for some reason, he decides to kill their neighbors, some more teenagers, and a TV cable guy before going after his targets.  It’s up to young Sean Kelly (Ryan Latshaw) to figure out how to defeat Jack-O for a second time.

The most interesting thing about Jack-O is that it features John Carradine, even though he died a full seven years before the movie was released.  That either means that Jack-O had an unusually long post-production period or the Carradine scenes were shot for another movie and were clumsily inserted into Jack-O.  Carradine was not the only deceased star to make an appearance in Jack-O.  Cameron Mitchell, who passed away in 1994, also makes an appearance as a horror movie host.  Because you can’t have a movie with Carradine and Cameron Mitchell without including Linnea Quigley, she appears as a babysitter who takes a lengthy shower.  Fortunately, Linnea Quigley is still with us.

Overall, Jack-O is regrettable.  The demon, with his Jack-O-Lantern head, is more likely to inspire laughs than screams and it never makes sense that Jack-O would take so much time to kill everyone except for the people that he is actually looking to kill.  The best death involves a toaster but Jack-O doesn’t do anything with the toaster.  Instead, someone just slips and sticks a utensil in the toaster, leading to a shocking death.  Combine the poor acting with the poor special effects with notably ragged editing that often makes it unclear how much time has passed between scenes and you have a Halloween film that is no holiday.

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