Jack-O (1995) Poster

(1995)

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4/10
Good dumb fun!
capkronos29 January 2002
I bought this out of curiosity. How did John Carradine (who died in 1988) and Cameron Mitchell (who died in 1994) make appearances in a film released in 1995? Thanks to the miracle of unused film can footage that's probably been sitting on a shelf somewhere for ten years, that's how! You can tell because the film stock used to shoot their scenes doesn't match the film used for shooting "Jack-O." The curse of Ed Wood lives on. The good thing for both Carradine and Mitchell is that this is exactly the kind of movie you'd expect to find on both of their filmographies. Same goes for Scream Queens Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Dawn Wildsmith.

The setting is Oakmoor Crossing on Halloween, and some kind of curse is released when dumb, beer-guzzling teens disrupt a grave. The result: a hulking killer with a scythe and a big plastic pumpkin on his head! He (it?) goes after the wholesome Kelly family for revenge (and kills others who get in his way). The father opens a Haunted Garage for the neighborhood kiddies. The son (Ryan Latshaw, son of the director) has one continuous, perplexed facial expression for all his scenes and one hilariously badly acted dramatic scene lying in a grave. At least he's a kid. The mother's eyes about pop out of her head while she strains to read her dialogue. There is also an annoying woman who shows up to explain things who seems to be trying to phonetically pronounce all of her dialogue.

So what about the name actors? You see Stevens, Wildsmith and Mitchell briefly on a TV screen (they're used to pad out the time). Linnea has a bigger role as a babysitter, and she does exactly what she can with it. Her enthusiastic performance helps a little bit. There's also one out-of-nowhere laugh when an ultra-conservative couple who watch a Rush Limbaugh clone on TV bite it. The woman slips on a rug and stabs a toaster with a knife. She's electrocuted and the end result looks like a flame-broiled Muppet.

All and all, pretty entertaining stuff! I wasn't bored!
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7/10
Unintentional Gold
Volstag13 September 2004
My buddies and I spent the majority of a Saturday afternoon watching a selection of "bad" movies. Among the flicks we watched, the strongest contender (for quality bad-movie fare) was easily Jack-O. It's ludicrous that movies such as "Gigli", "Glitter" and "You Got Served" are listed in IMDBs bottom 100. While they're certainly bad movies, they don't belong in the bottom 100. They're robbing "Jack-O", and "Keeper of Time", etc, of the Bad Movie Greatness they so richly deserve.

So what makes Jack-O so great (in bad movie terms)? For starters, Steve Latshaw, the director, decided to cast his son, Ryan Latshaw, in the role of Sean Kelly. Unfortunately for Steve, Ryan Latshaw was dangerously close to being out-acted by a block of wood. The kid, seriously, has no ability to emote whatsoever. The end result: unintentional comic gold. The kid could be listening to a joke, or just moments away from getting his head smashed asunder, and his expression is one of stony "emotionlessness".

The other aspect of the movie that we found awesome was the sheer number of "double dreaming" sequences. What is a double-dream? Well, it's when a character wakes up from a nightmare, and then something equally nightmarish happens, and then the character wakes up again. Basically: they wake up after dreaming about waking up from a nightmare. Clever device, no? I believe the character of Sean Kelly experienced no less than 3 double-dreaming sequences.

Let's see... what else? Oh yeah! This movie has a veritable cast of thousands. It's truly stunning to see how many speaking roles are introduced throughout the course of the movie. Best of all: almost none of the characters have anything to do with the story. They're either killed by Jack-O, or they serve no purpose whatsoever.

Jack-O himself was pretty sweet. Like most other B-movie monsters, Jack-O has the amazing ability to, seemingly, teleport over great distances. He's invariably hanging-out, somewhere in the background, whenever you're dealing with a major character. What's puzzling, however, is that when he's actually chasing someone he moves at a shambling/stumbling speed, and yet he's able to keep up with people who are sprinting.

That's all for now. Closing remarks: if you're looking for a unintentionally hilarious bad movie, you can't go wrong by renting this beast.

Bad Movie Score: 7/10 Good Movie Score: 3.5/10
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4/10
Jack-O offers strange enjoyment
Lukeydude-124 February 2005
I bought Jack-O a number of months ago at a Blockbuster video sale, and at the time I wasn't expecting anything outstanding from it. Upon watching it, I realized I not only got less than I could have ever bargained for, but a whole lot more as well. It seems, strange, I know. And it is. But it's perfectly fitting when you consider that the utter weirdness that is "Jack-O"

The movie follows a young boy named Shawn Kelly. Somehow, thru ancestral ties, he is marked for death at the hands of a demented, scythe wielding Pumpkin man. This pumpkin man was killed by Shawn's Great-grandfather-uncle-cousin-etc, and now that the villain has been resurrected, Shawn's death is apparently crucial to his hell-bred mission of vengeance. Anyway, much "horror" ensues as Jack-O hacks his way thru various neighbors before battling Shawn to the finish.

I'm not so much here to discuss the plot as I am to determine who may find any worth in this movie. I can honestly tell you that Jack-O is one of the most poorly made movies in the history of time. The acting is deadpan (except when it should be), the script is apparently a 1st grade group project, and the production budget must not have exceeded $150. Some of the most laughable death scenes are carried out in this anti-thriller, and they're all the more humorous when you realize director Steve Latshaw actually seems serious in his movie-making.

And yet I heartily enjoyed the film. I can call it a terrible horror movie, yes. But I can also say I had a great time watching it with my friends, and have watched it several times since that fateful first viewing. Many people (including some of my friends) will find this movie intolerable and needlessly time-consuming, and that's understandable. If you're like me and enjoy ridiculously bad horror movies that take themselves seriously, you'll find Jack-O an instant classic, which is also understandable.

That's why it's so hard to rate this movie. If I were rating Jack-O's quality as a film, I wouldn't give it anything. In fact, the studio would owe me stars. Yet if I were rating it's on the basis of pure enjoyment, I'd give it an 8 or a 9. I'll give it a 4, so to be somewhere in the middle. I recommend everyone go out, rent this, and form their own conclusion.
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cheesy entertainment.
bfan8322 December 2003
Jack-O is the type of movie you rent on a Friday night and enjoy with friends. I liked it not just because of the cheese factor. But also because It's has my two fav scream queens in it. Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens. Linnea did a bang up job in this movie. I was actually surprised because her acting so good. And it interesting to see Brinke in a cameo role as a witch. But there were some cool death scenes and I liked the way it was shot. 16mm. My favorite besides digital. Anyway, just rent this movie and eat some pizza. Make sure it's extra cheesy!!!
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Low budget? NO budget!
F Gwynplaine MacIntyre26 September 2002
"Jack-O" was scripted by my good friend Brad Linaweaver, so I'm prejudiced in its favour. Low-budget film-maker Fred Olen Ray had a few minutes of footage of John Carradine sitting in a forest at night, and a bit more footage of Cameron Mitchell staring into a camera and telling a spooky story. Ray challenged Linaweaver to write a feature-length script using these snippets of footage. Carradine and Mitchell appear VERY briefly in "Jack-O", and not together.

"Jack-O" is a bog-standard spookfest. Jack-O-Lantern is a homicidal maniac who died in arcane circumstances but who still comes back for one night every year: guess which night. Yes, Hallowe'en. The crucial (dual) role in this film is a small boy in modern times who's related to Jack-O's first victim (also a small boy) from more than a century earlier on. When I saw that the child actor cast in these roles (Ryan Latshaw) is the son of the film's director (Steve Latshaw), I expected a vanity production. But young Ryan is actually a decent actor: in this film at least, his performance is better than his dad's directing.

I always expect zero production values in a film like this, so I was pleasantly astounded by the realistic 19th-century prologue. Brad told me that this was filmed in an historic village in Florida. Unfortunately, the first few minutes of the film look much, much better than anything afterwards.

There are several very attractive actresses in this film, notably scream queen Linnea Quigley as the heroine, and Catherine Walsh as a "bad girl" who MIGHT have supernatural abilities. Untalented Helen Keeling is attractive, but she speaks her dialogue with one of the most bizarre accents I've ever heard.

There are some REALLY grotty special effects: notably the lightning (why didn't they use a stock shot?) and the scene in which one character gets electrocuted. I've seen more realistic electrocutions in Tex Avery cartoons. The post-dubbing of the soundtrack is worse than it really needs to be for this low budget.

"Jack-O" isn't very good, but it isn't nearly bad enough to be one of those Ed Wood-ish camp classics. I strongly recommend it as a study aid for those who want to learn "Bowfinger"-style film-making techniques. And some of the actresses are very watchable. Otherwise, "Jack-O" is a Joke-O. For thrills and chills, look elsewhere.
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1/10
Really bad.... but also really funny
TimeChaser20 April 2003
Man, this movies sucked. It appeared to have like seven different plots going on at once and they all made little to no sense. The special effects, costumes, and all that stuff were beyond awful. The acting was particullary bad. Everything seemed so forced, especially the lines from the woman with the huge eyes and the little kid (his "Noooooo" as he gets burried is so unenthusiastic it's laughable). A good portion of this movie is rather funny anyway. The one woman's death where she shoves a knife into a toaster, gets electrocuted, and magically turns into the crapiest skeleton dummy in the world had my friends and I laughing for a good ten minutes.

Bottom line: If you're into watching really horrible movies, seek this one out. If not, run for your life.
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1/10
B-movie? More like Z-grade.....
Nixshows18 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I've always loved horror flicks. From some of the usual well-known like "The Exorcist" to some of the more underrated like "Black Christmas" or "Just Before Dawn". But who are people kidding,even calling this trash a b-movie. It's straight up bottom-of-the-barrel Z-grade. The acting is the worst ever on film. Really,I've seen better on an episode of the "Young and the Restless"...SPOILER...Lookout for when the woman comes to tell them about the legend of Jack-o. She pauses sometimes for a matter of seconds as if someone is flashing her cue cards and she's struggling to read her lines. A RIOT!

Oh,and besides the bad acting,absolutely no gore or F/X. And Jack-o looked like a plastic lit pumpkin. Watch Linnea Quigley in "Night of the Demons",or "Silent Night,Deadly Night",far superior flicks.
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Recipe for B-movie satisfied
Neal-1729 October 2000
A bad horror flick requires certain components. A nice shot of a pair of breasts, with no relevance to the plot. A beheading, preferably one where the head rolls to someone who is in love with the recently deceased. An innocent loser who doesn't actually die in the movie, but you wish they would. At least one famous actor in a small and likely irrelevant role. A utility worker of similar individual who gets gored while one of the "stars" looks on. If you agree, Jack-o is the film for you. If not, rent Free Willy or something. If you feel plot is important, you're in the wrong genre, I'm afraid. Great for Halloween if you want to kill a few hours.
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1/10
Sad Epitaph for Once Aspiring Writer
shadgrin11 February 2005
I had known Brad Linaweaver at Florida State U in the early 70's when he was an inspiring, inventive writer who I thought was headed for greater glory.

And that is why I rented this video. Well, well, well, the time has not been kind to Mr Linaweaver. I suppose the pressures of making a living makes higher aspirations expendable. Another flower whose bloom has come and gone un-noticed in the summer breeze. Amen. There is nothing more to say. And nothing more to add. A sad epitaph to a once blossoming career as stated above. But it is the price one pays for chasing shadows without a firm foundation or goals for oneself in life. Because this movie has no goal, no purpose, and I kept telling myself, what happened to Brad's creativity, his once shining genius? Gone, gone, years of neglect has deteriorated his once shining mind.
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5/10
Absolutely hilarious! I LOVED it!
Charlotte Kaye9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There's something to be said for good movies. There's also something to be said for bad movies. But what about a bad movie that's sincere, very likable, very nostalgic in capturing the fall/Halloween season and full of energy and audience good will? Well that's exactly what is found in Jack-O, a movie with so many painfully bad, laughable elements that somehow mix with the fun elements and turn it into a very entertaining B level horror movie! The good stuff here is the breezy tone of the film and the story itself is enjoyable and fun. I liked some of the small touches like the Halloween garage spook show and the weird conservative neighbors who are killed. Also good to see is Linnea Quigley in a role that is probably too small but it's still Linnea and she brings an element of fun to the film, even if her role was almost useless. The cameos from John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell are from some unknown archive source, but still I liked seeing both of them here. The bad stuff. The plastic Jack-O pumpkin mask is really lame. And the acting is the cheesiest! Then again, that only adds to the fun. The little kid (son of the director) might be the worst child actor I've ever seen but it's hilarious to watch! The adults aren't much better. There's one woman in a flashback scene who you must see in all her monotone glory to believe. The woman who plays the psychic is also quite awful. You will be rolling on the floor in laughter! There is a bit of gore and one topless scene from Rachel Carter who plays the Quigley character's sister in the film. The gratuitous shower scene I see people talking about must have been cut from my tape because you only see Linnea from the shoulders up. There's no other way to rate a film like this than with a 5!
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