Director: Stan Winston
Loving father Ed (Henriksen) is living a simple life is some boonie town. Thatâ€™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 loose and teens are dying.
Stan Winston, the special effect dude behind the creatures in Aliens helms his first film. Itâ€™s a triumph. This is a grim movie that doesnâ€™t shy away from emotions. We understand Edâ€™s pain and also understand the teens situation. This flick could have easily fell into the slasher mold but it avoids all the pitfalls. The teens are not horny and the teens do the right thing "they run". The movie feels old fashioned, almost like a childrenâ€™s tale. The witch in the woods, the nursery rime, the demon buried in the pumpkin patch, all those elements contribute to that. Another thing that elevates the movie a notch higher is "Lance Henriksen". The man is a great actor and his heartfelt, angry, bitter performance hits all the right notes.
The setting of the film is very creepy. A forest never felt scarier. And the demonâ€¦wowâ€¦Pumpkinhead never looks like an effect. He looks like a breathing 10 foot demon. I love that they gave Pumpkinhead a personality. This demon loves toying with his victims, taunting them and he clearly enjoys his work.
My only complaint is that the movie mostly concentrates on the Ed character. We never get to really know the teens too well. But we still care about them cause we know it was an accident and that they donâ€™t deserve Pumpkinhead, thatâ€™s for sure.
Slap in some religious imagery, some fun violence and some suspense (I loved that Pumpkinhead attacks from high places, pulling his victims up into trees with himâ€¦effective) and you get a monster movie that should be slapped in the cult classic folder.
Let's carve this one openâ€¦
Pumpkinhead is one cruel mother. He carves the symbol of the cross in some girlâ€™s forehead, impales a guy with a rifle and puts this girlâ€™s head through a window. Itâ€™s not overly bloody but itâ€™s very mean.
Lance Henriksen (Ed) delivers another solid performance. This man can play anything and has presence to boot. Cynthia Bain (Tracy) gives an intelligent, sympathetic performance. John Dâ€™Aquino (Joel) plays the Italian asshole perfectly, you will hate him. Joel Hoffman (Steve) does good as Joelâ€™s brother. His performance is focused and enjoyable. Nice bandana dudeâ€¦
T & A
No time for that, the teens got a demon on their ass. Pumpkinhead is nakedâ€¦
Winston directs with a firm hand. He uses camera movements to express characterâ€™s feelings. The movie is also beautiful to look at. Itâ€™s bathed in blue and red lighting. Slap in some subtle slow motion and some tightly directed suspense scenes and you got one for the books.
An eerie score with a hint of bumkin twang.
A well done, haunting monster movie. It takes the time to set up its story and delivers the horror goods. Sometimes I feel quality is lacking in horror movies. This film is all about quality. Quality script, acting, effects, directing and ending. If you havenâ€™t seen this baby, youâ€™re missing out.
The movie was shot in LA and took 36 days to film.
The budget for this film was $3.5 million.
Stan Winston turned down: Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors to direct Pumpkinhead.
The movieâ€™s title went back and forth several times. From Pumpkinhead to Vengeance: The Demon to Pumpkinhead again and so on until Pumpkinhead stayed.
A sequel exists called Pumpkinhead: Bloodwings directed by Jeff Burr (Texas3), I hear it sucksâ€¦Iâ€™ll let you guys know.