|Video Review: Lumpkin The Pumpkin
| "It's Halloween! A contest is on among the spooky witches and
jack-o'-lanterns to see who can frighten the children the most. But Tara the
Good Witch and LUMPKIN THE PUMPKIN don't want to be scary or play
tricks. They show the girls and boys how to really enjoy Halloween and how to
stay safe too. Singer Bobby Goldsboro narrates and sings this happy tale of
tricks, treats and Halloween fun."
|....So goes the official synopsis for "Lumpkin the Pumpkin", one of the most amazing
halloween cartoons the world has ever seen. I'm not sure what kind of amazement it
generates, but I'm pretty sure that what I feel after its 23-minute running time can ultimately
be classified as some twisted flavor of amazement. I ran across it in a dollar store way back
in 2003, and picked it up under the assumption that it would be reasonably awful. I was
I've been stalking the internet for just about a decade now. I've read enough articles like
this to fill an entire library with sarcastic reviews of Critters 4 alone. I can say with utmost
confidence that NOONE, anywhere, has ever reviewed a cartoon as uproariously awful as
Lumpkin the Pumpkin. I don't even think such a cartoon could even exist.
The video begins with a musical introduction, entitled "A Frightful Night for Halloween",
which is actually fairly catchy in my book. Unfortunately, you aren't going to notice the music
the first time around. What you're going to notice is animation with a minus-infinity budget as
near-static images dance over the same three backgrounds over and over, assaulting your
eyeballs like so many other, bodiless eyeballs who envy them with a burning jealousy they
believe they can only express through violence.
After the song, the "story" picks up in a pumpkin patch, where a witch named Maggie has
brought her daughter Tara to pick out her first pumpkin. Witches, we are told, must carry a
pumpkin on halloween night to frighten children with, and are competing this year for the title
of Head Witch. Not only do the writers pull this tradition clear out of their asses, but they
explain it to us via the single most ghastly song I've ever heard, made all the ghastlier when
you realize that Maggie, who sings the whole damn thing, is voiced by our announcer, MR.
During the song, Maggie transforms a frog into an ape, terrorizes a scarecrow with a
fireball (which Tara kindly puts out), and most magical of all, dances for several seconds in
FULL animation (and genuinely impressive animation, too).
When Maggie has finished her gurgling, it's time for Tara to pick this year's pumpkin.
Unfortunately, Tara wasn't listening to the song at all and chooses the most sorry-ass
pumpkin in the patch based on "cute" factor. His name is Lumpkin, and he's a country
bumpkin. Maggie says she's going to be the "laughingstock of witchberg", a line puncuated
for no reason by one of those "wop, wop, wahhh" sound effects, used in a serious attempt
at comedy for the first time in 87 years.
Dejected, Maggie nonetheless takes her daughter and the dull-witted vegetable on a quick
broomride to meet with their fellow witches. The trio are, indeed, a laughingstock, and
Maggie is fairly certain that she's already lost. While the other witches head off for their
halloween hijinks, Maggie stays behind and tells Tara to just take the broom out and have
Cut to the first witch attempting her scare-of-the-year, magically giving her pumpkin a set
of bat's wings to terrorize a pack of innocent trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, the kids are
unimpressed and rid themselves of the pesky demon with a stupid baseball routine that's
probably supposed to be funny, knocking it straight into its wicked creator and dumping
them both in a garbage can. The scene ends with another "wop, wop, wahhh", used in a
serious attempt at comedy for only the second time in 87 years.
We then join up with Tara and Lumpkin on the first of their little excursions in the suburbs,
happening upon a bunch of ugly little brats in the most idiotic costumes I've ever seen (what
the hell is that girl supposed to be!?) plotting to pull a nasty prank on what they claim to be
the scariest, meanest old woman in town. Their plan? Turn her garden hose on her front
porch. Not her, but her porch. Tara doesn't understand the natural inclinations of human
children to be assholes for the sake of assholery, and insists on talking to the lady instead.
Shocked that any child would ever dare be nice to her, the old bag (ALSO voiced by
Goldsboro) invites her in and gives her an entire bag of delicious candy, showing those other
brats how to really sucker people into coughing up the goods.
It's now time to see what the other rival witch is up to, and her utterly inane plan is to
frighten an entire football stadium by magically swapping her pumpkin with the ball.
Whereas bat-pumpkin actually would have been a little unnerving in the real world, the
football idea is just completely stupid and could never possibly frighten anyone. Luckily our
poorly-drawn football players know just what to do with evil pumpkin-balls.
Back in the sad little world of Lumpkin, good deeds are afoot once again. Startled by the
sound of crying, Tara investigates the nearby bushes to find a little girl who was ditched
there by the "big kids" for not being scary enough. When the bullies come back - ironically
in the fruitiest costumes yet - Tara gives the child her broom and uses her magic to teach
those kids a lesson in a sequence carefully explained by the narrator as we watch it.
Moved by this, Lumpkin states how much he'd like to help children too, and busts into a
long, heartfelt song about how badly he wishes that kids were more visible in the dark. Yes,
without warning, the cartoon reveals itself to be nothing more than a public service message
about trick-or-treat safety, sung over entirely nonsensical images of random children while
Tara stands around in the sky.
When the song ends, we see that the trio has ironically wandered right into the middle of
the road, where a speeding driver stops just inches short of making one very meaty pumpkin
pie. "Are you alright?" asks the ugly man, stepping out of his car. "Yes, we're fine, but what
happened?" responds Tara. "Why, I nearly hit you, that's what! If I hadn't seen something
orange, I would have!". The man points to Lumpkin, and goes on about how nice it wold be
every kid had a pumpkin like him...which gives Tara an idea.
"Oh powers of the orange pumpkin, multiply the face of Lumpkin.
Make them gow so they'lle be seen, and keep kids safe on
With that one little chant, Tara single-handedly ruins every child's costume with gaudy,
apparently reflective Lumpkin safety gear. "Now Lumpkin's face is glowing brightly on
bracelets, necklaces, pins and stickers!" exclaims our joyous narrator, unexpectedly turning
this unexpected public safety announcement into an infomercial for products that, to the best
of my knowledge, were never produced.
Back at their dinky hideout, the witches have regrouped to bitch at one another for being
complete failures. When Tara shows without Lumpkin, the other hags assume she finally
wised up and ditched him, but just when they're getting into a good gloat, they spot Lumpkin
Terrified, all four adult witches duck behind some bushes, making complete dipshits out of
themselves when the narrator tells them the truth of the situation.
Humbled, the current head witch gives a brief retirement speech about how Tara not only
managed to pull the ultimate scare, but taught everyone a valuable lesson about good, clean
halloween fun and has earned herself the title of head witch. A final, LONG-ass song ensues
over the credits, while we watch pretty much the whole thing over again in a series of still
images until it's finally over.
...But your suffering has only just
"Lumpkin the Pumpkin" is a masterpiece, plain and simple. Words, pictures and a few mp3's
can't possibly do it justice. If you find it, buy it. And if you've already seen it before reading
this review, you MUST drop me a line and tell me all about your first experience with this
magical halloween treasure.
More importantly, I challenge you to find evidence that any Lumpkin merchandise ever
actually existed, and if you can get me pictures, I will worship the ground you walk on.
......A wonderful, AWFUL idea!
|All songs property F.H.E, Kid Rhino and Bobby