VIDEO: Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

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Just in time for Halloween, Cecil brings us Hack-O-Lantern, the tale of an old man (Hy Pyke, the bar owner from Blade Runner, which is enough to get him top billing here) who tries to initiate his young grandson Tommy (Gregory Scott Cummins) into a devil-worshipping cult. Come for the satanic killing spree, stay for the incest and the heavy metal music video randomly dropped into the middle of the movie!

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  • Sam

    What a…strange movie.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      it certainly is!

  • Cristiona

    Still love this title.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      One of my all time favorite terrible movies :)

  • Michael A. Novelli

    “Seen from”?

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Gah! Did I flub a line?

  • Carl Schulz IV

    How much you wanna bet the comedian was just something that happened on set while the cameras were rolling and they decided to just throw it in.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      You know, that is probably the best explanation of the scene that I’ve ever heard. The guy was probably doing his shtick and they decided to keep it in the movie.

    • That makes some sense. But god that was painful ‘comedy’

  • Miss Liv

    Wow.. freaky… really..

    how did you dig up that old flick.. it’s almost delightfully freaky.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      A combination of farmers markets, garage sales, and closed video stores. I purposely looked for the most unusual or cheesiest things I could find. I have a VHS vault of movies that will never make it DVD (most likely) that are some of the worst /best low budget films.

  • Allison

    Cecil, had to watch the video just to see the opening credits! I actually watched Cool as Ice again a week ago (I’m the young lady who commented on Masters of the Universe, and admired the use of the “mm-hmm…Kat” clip in the opening).

    Now, this movie…oh my goodness…where did you dig this relic of kitsch up? Or is that an insult to kitsch? This looks hilarious! That grandfather ‘s laugh is hysterical…of course, if I laughed any harder at it, I would have started coughing like that (thanks rapid temperature change!), which is pathetic for a 29-year-old woman. That kid looks like a third rate Chad Allen/Ricky Schroeder hybrid during the early scenes of young Tommy.

    Great video, want to see more from you!

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Thanks! Yep, I remember. :)

      This one in particular was 99 cents at a flea market. I saw the cover and knew I had a winner. I was not let down, this movie is bad in all the right ways. Someone pointed out (after I made this video) that the grampa’s laugh sounds like a bad version of Vincent Price’s laugh at the end of Thriller. Young Tommy had a total Silver Spoons thing going on.

      Ugh, I know what you mean about the weather. We just got snow here. It’s October! WTF?!

      Thanks again! More to come!

  • kennzeichen1d

    That Hy Pyke in his first scene looks kinda like Mike Myers (the comedian, not the fictional murderer)
    and sounds like Tim Curry in “It”.
    So the film didn´t get the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER-treatment, but there is always RIFFTRAX/ IRIFFS.

    Also: Somebody should do a review of the ultimat good/bad flick: “Carnival of Souls”.
    Big ambitions and a tiny, tiny budget led to just the right mix of exellence and not-so-great-elements.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      That is one creepy combination! Now that you mention it, he does seem to be channeling Myers’ character from 54. (or is it the other way around)

      Rifftrax is fantastic. I love that not only does MST3K live on but the shred movies they never would be able to afford back in the day. The only downside is they seem to mostly focus on the newer stuff. Although they did just release Abraxas and Galaxy Invader so all hope may not be lost.

      Carnival of Souls was loosely updated in the movie Soul Survivors. The movie was almost good until it was edited down to PG-13 for the theatrical release. Then they added in some non essential stuff to make it R for DVD but didn’t include all the cut footage, so the movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For shame. (plus, Eliza Dusku and Melissa Sagemiller take a shower…with all their clothes on?!?)

      I haven’t seen Carnival in ages, I’ll have to dig it up and check it out again.

  • katmore9

    Wow. Great pick. This film looked just awful.

    I do like that you pointed out how much nudity there was for such a low budget flick. That’s pretty uncommon.

    In an earlier post, Carl Schultz IV came up with a theory about how that comedian scene got in there. It makes perect sense, except that people were actually laughing in that scene. That’s why I think somehow that scene was deliberately put into the script. They probably hired some local talent in the town where they shot and said to him, “Do your thing. We need a few minutes of comedic relief since this film is so scary!”

    I noticed that “Catwoman” was mentioned near the end of the video. Is that bomb in consideration for a possible future review?

    • Cecil_Trachenburg


      Low budget movies often have one girl that was willing to undress, I was just shocked that the director was pretty much able to get almost every woman in the movie the bare all. With a budget like that it wasn’t like he had anything really to offer!

      As far as the comedian, if you watch the whole scene many of the laughs are cutaways which makes me think they just spliced them in later to make the whole thing seem funnier than it really was. Kind of like a laugh track on a sit com.

      Yep. Not sure when I’m going to do Catwoman but I have it on the list. It is one of my all time favorite terrible movies. There are some parts in it that are hilariously bad. Me and a good friend of mine have an ongoing joke that we have been doing for years dedicated to Catwoman.

      • Lile1293

        Just wondering if you’ve done Killer Klowns from Outer Space yet? That’s my FAVORITE good bad flick – not counting Carnival of Souls which is more good than bad, really.

        • Cecil_Trachenburg

          I haven’t done Killer Klowns yet but I have it on my “must do” list.

  • Concord Newfree

    This may be the greatest ’80s movie. I shall watch it. Oh yes, I shall.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      It’s not easy tracking down but it will be worth it once you find it! You won’t be disappointed! (unless you are expecting a “good” movie) lol

  • Jack Favel

    Hy Pyke was in another movie called Slithis/Spawn of the Slithis. He played a police chief who ridicules the hero’s theory that a monster is on the loose and is a festival of over-acting. You can’t forget him.

  • Ed

    Good lord, that looks horribly great. Gotta give you credit for putting stills from not only The Satanic Rites of Dracula but also The Unholy on the video.