31 Days of Horror: #11 – Jack-O
Your daily bitesized guide to the films you should be watching this Halloween season…
Directed by Steve Latshaw
Written by Brad Linaweaver (story), Fred Olen Ray (story), Patrick Moran
Starring Ryan Latshaw, Linnea Quigley, Gary Doles, Maddisen K. Krown
“Plan 9 from Outta State,” laments Fred Olen Ray on the commentary for Jack-O as he and director Steve Latshaw explain their reasons behind some genuinely crazy/inspired filmmaking decisions on this Florida lensed picture. The narrative is largely incidental here, but for the sake of formalities we have a wizard who years ago swore vengeance upon the townsfolk who facilitated his demise. In the present day, this revenge takes the form of the pumpkin-headed demon Jack-O who has his sights set on the Kelly family – direct descendants of those pitchfork waving yokels.
Jack-O IS a terrible film, however, it’s also enjoyably bad in that Ed Wood mould where you find yourself sat with your jaw gaping at what unfolds before your eyes. The cameo from John Carradine – who had been dead for seven years – is the undoubted highlight, though listening to Ray you can’t help feel yourself shrugging and nodding in begrudged agreement at his justification for shoehorning him in! Jack-O himself is a rare sight for most of the movie, while Cameron Mitchell turns up from another picture for a spliced in scene, Linnea takes a very prolonged shower and there’s a very out of place Brinke Stevens cameo too.
Jack-O is a totally inept schlockfest that underlines the danger of just what you could have come home with from the Video Store had you been hypnotised by some funky artwork. I say that, but then it’s really hard to refuse repeated viewings as its awfulness is truly endearing.
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