Director – Stan Winston
Cast – Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D’Aguino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Matthew Hurly
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a film that I’ve always loved ever since I first saw it as a child. I’m a huge fan of creature films so naturally this film appeals to me given it’s got one of horror’s most epic looking creatures ever. This came as no surprise due to this film being directed by legendary special effects maestro Stan Winston, who has worked on films like “The Thing“, “Terminator II”, “Edward Scissorhands”, and “Friday the 13th Part III“. There is a reason why this film will live forever in horror lore and be one of the genre’s most well known flicks, it’s a great creature feature vengeance themed flick…and I love vengeance.
Pumpkinhead centers around Ed Harley, a simple and widowed country man with a young son. One day a group of young adults head to their country town for a cabin weekend of relaxation and dirt bike riding. Ed Harley has to run an errand and leaves his son to mind their country store for a while. During this time a terrible dirt bike accident occurs that leaves his son severely injured. Fearing the consequences of this due to their alcohol consumption, the group of friends leave the little boy and head to their cabin. The father then returns to find his son near death and he soon passes away in his arms. Out for blood, Mr. Hardy summons a local witch with the power to resurrect powerful demons, and unleashes “Pumpkinhead” to kill all those involved in his son’s death. The young group of friends area bout to face consequences much more sinister than they ever imagined.
If you’ve been a read of my reviews then you should be more than sure that I LOVE vengeance oriented films. Director Stan Winston and his two writers did a fantastic job of displaying the love between Ed Harley and his son Billy. Billy is all Ed Harley has left to live for after the loss of his wife, and you can only imagine his torment at knowing that not only was his son hurt in the accident involving the young friends, but them leaving him there and not getting him medical attention most likely lead to his fate. I really felt bad when Ed lost his son, and that only made the vengeance brought upon the perpetrators all the more fulfilling. Thank you Stan Winston!
Aside from that opening development the rest of the film’s direction and execution is very well done. This is a bit surprising given this was Stan Winston’s first directorial effort. Not bad huh? This film paces very well from it’s opening scene and keeps the viewer engages thanks in large to how simply freakin awesome Pumpkinhead looks. The storyline is also and interesting one, especially the storyline involving the old witch and her abilities regarding pumpkinhead.
There is nothing I really did not like about this film, although I REALLY wish we could have had a lot more Pumpkinhead action. Don’t get me wrong, we do get a fair amount of Pumpkinhead action but this creature is so damn awesome I just could not get enough and was wanting more. I also wanted a lot more gore for this type of film. We see good Pumpkinhead action but it wasn’t overly gory and that’s a bit of a letdown. Oh well, we can’t have everything now can we? Yes we can, “everything” is also known as “Dawn of the Dead”. Heh.
Overall, this is an epic horror film that should be viewed by all fans of this genre. We get a sweet looking creature and an awesome revenge them.