Halloween is TODAY and like many of you, I want to party and watch horror movies. Now I may be working around Halloween time, so I decided to chose ONE MUST SEE movie (to put chances of my side), ONE movie that I HAVE TO watch on this glorious night of the year. And that movie is late special effect wizard STAN WINSTON'S underrated 1987 monster/revenge flick PUMPKINHEAD (originally titled Vengeance - The Demon)!
The flick is about: Loving father Ed (Lance Henriksen) is living a simple life in the country. That’s until some "Big City" teens arrive, accidentally kill his son and ruin his life. Full of hate, Ed with the help of some creepy witch, conjures up a nasty demon, a demon who only has one purpose: Vengeance. The demon is set loose and teens start dying.
And here's why I think this bad boy is an ideal choice for a Halloween watch!
THE SPIRIT OF HALLOWEEN: The film is not set on Halloween night but it may as well be since it has all of the ingredients to evoke the season. Creppy woods, a thick mist, decrepit country shacks, a sinister witch and a monster born out of a pumpkin patch. If that doesn't say Halloween to you, I don't know what does!
THE TRAGIC AURA: That's one of the aspects of the film that always gets to me. Most of the people here don't deserve what they get, and that kind of bathed the film in a sea of sadness. The father Ed, his loveable child and even the teenagers; they all got a bum deal and when they start suffering (or dying), I feel for them BIG TIME.
THE HENRIKSEN: This movie showcases Lance Henriksen at his best! He is ideal as the simple yet loving father and when things turn ugly, his heartfelt, angry and bitter performance hits all the right notes. What a show!
THE TEENS HAVE BRAINS: The teens here actually come off as normal people, ducking the "slasher teen" stereotypes. Who knew! They are not horny 24/7, most of them are actually likeable (except for that "bad boy" a-hole) and more often than none they make the right decisions for a change (like run like hell).
THE DIRECTING: Winston directs with a firm hand. He uses camera movements to express characters feelings. The movie is also macabre gorgeous to look at. It’s draped in blue and red lighting. Slap in some subtle slow motion and some tightly directed suspense scenes and you got one for the books.
THE MONSTER: The cherry on top! Pumpkinhead. The detailled creature never looks like an effect, I so believed that it was a breathing 10 foot demon causing havock. The (pre CGI era) work here was simply astounding! I also love that they gave Pumpkinhead a personality. This demon loves toying with his victims, taunting them, torturing them and he clearly enjoys his work.
So there ya have it. If I manage to squeeze a screening of PUMPKINHEAD on Halloween night I will be a happy trick or treater. And hey if I see I can wing two movies, I'll top PUMPKINHEAD off with THE AMYTIVILLE HORROR (the original of course). That one always gives me the creeps! HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY!
Keep away from Pumpkinhead, Unless you're tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead, He's mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you're undone, But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun, And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot, A plot that he has brewing,
It's when you think that he's forgot, He'll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard, Won't protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.