PUMPKIN MAN

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 31 minutes
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A boy’s parents get a divorce right before Halloween. On what is usually his favorite night of the year, he reluctantly goes trick or treating with friends. Thanks to a magical pumpkin and the help of a mysterious stranger, he returns with more than just a bag of candy.
Jason (Christopher Ogden) feels what many children feel when their parents divorce, confusion and guilt. On top of that, it happens just before Halloween, Jason’s favorite time of year. Jason faces a Halloween with out the accompaniment of his father, who shares an equal love for the holiday. In an effort to cheer him up, Jason’s mother (Denise Crosby) takes him to a local pumpkin patch to pick out a special pumpkin. While there, a large pumpkin seems to pick Jason out as it rolls to his feet. After taking it home, his grandfather (Philip Abbott) explains to him how important and special a pumpkin is to a boy on Halloween, especially how he chooses to carve it. Before Jason can carve his pumpkin, his friends, Jenn (Tiffany Ellen Solano), Austin (Shawn Pyfrom) and Ted (Sy Hearn) arrive for a night of trick or treating. With encouragement from his mother and grandfather, Jason reluctantly tags along, leaving the pumpkin on the front porch. By the end of the night, with the help of a magical pumpkin man and wisdom from the misunderstood resident of a spooky house on the edge of town, Jason comes to terms with his parents’ divorce and his own feelings of guilt associated with it.
It took me some time to adjust to the overall sweetness of the story. Especially the fact that Jason seems a bit old to be so psyched about Halloween and trick or treating. He appears to be around 13 years old, now call me a cynical old stick in the mud, but at that age I was more interested in the trick part of the deal. As Jason and his friends roam their suburban neighborhood, I didn’t see kids throwing eggs, cars sprayed with shaving cream or toilet paper hanging from trees. After I got over this culture shock, I actually fell for Jason’s story and the touching, magical nature of the film. Perhaps this is what Halloween is all about. Harnessing the power of a truly unusual and special time of year for good instead of evil. Now what am I going to do with that gross of eggs I have in my refrigerator?



Posted on October 25, 1999 in Reviews by
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