Until recently I’d never heard of David S. Pumpkins. And then our very own Haley JoAnna introduced me to one of the most absurd SNL skits I’ve seen since the Roxbury guys in the 90’s. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the premise, a couple goes to a haunted attraction, 100 Floors of Flights in which they ride an elevator through a spooky hotel and are greeted on each floor by terrors. The baffling David S. Pumpkins and his dancing skeleton cohorts make up the haunts on several of the floors and the pay off at the end of the skit is pretty awesome. Fast forward to this past Halloween when the SNL skit became a full blown animated Halloween special. I’m not going to lie. I love all manner of dark, grisly, macabre things and I’m trying to make a name for myself in the horror community as an author and artist. But I will never say “no” when I have the chance to watch cartoons, especially if they have a Halloween or horror theme to them. Add what sounds like an absolutely absurd premise and the amazing Tom Hanks and I’m hooked.
The story opens with an older man voiced by Peter Dinklage, our narrator through the show, rhyming away about his childhood encounter with the magically mysterious David S. Pumpkins. This quickly becomes a flashback to that enchanting Halloween night where young Kevin and his little sister Dotty are getting ready for trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. We run through the formulaic elements of most animated holiday specials. Kevin is torn between his love of the holiday and being “too old and too cool” to be seen participating in it while trying to impress his crush, a young girl named Paige. We’re introduced to a trio of bullies known for terrorizing the neighborhood, have a backstory delivered about the creepy old house at the end of the street where Raincoat Man, the local urban legend resides, and see the kids left their own devices by working parents too busy to actually notice the children. It’s all very much stereotypical and even mocking of the old Halloween specials from my childhood.
The kids choose the most gross, rotten looking pumpkin in the local pumpkin patch to take home for a Jack-o-lantern and suddenly, accompanied by musical fanfare from a chorus of singing Jack-o-lanterns, an elevator rises up from the ground and introduces us to David S. Pumpkins and the never ending series of incomplete thoughts and unanswered questions he brings. The kids, Pumpkins, and the skeletons (who are part of it) set off on their magical, candy fueled journey. They uncover a wicked plot by the trio of neighborhood bullies, explore the haunted house, and save Halloween all before 10:34 pm. It’s a marvelously ridiculous romp through the time honored medium of the Halloween special. It’s only half an hour long and is geared more for family viewing with most of the suggestiveness of David Pumpkins toned down so you can watch it with the kids.
The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special is available on Amazon instant video for $2.99 and includes the original SNL skit as well. It’s worth the price and thoroughly entertaining if for no other reason than the cringe worthy jokes that all seem to center around the eccentric, pumpkin suited man. With Thanksgiving (Tom Hanks Giving to some of us) is the perfect way to start out a holiday movie marathon. Think of it as the cinematic appetizer before watching The Burbs or another cherished Tom Hanks classic. So, any questions?