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A starkly original visual treat, this Halloween-themed exercise in terror is uncommonly well made, seeking to add yet another creature to horror film lore. A group of teenagers camping in a remote mountain resort accidentally kill a boy and cover it up, and his aggrieved father (Lance Henriksen) vows revenge. Enlisting the help of a local witch, he conjures up a mythic demonic monster to kill those responsible for his son's death. The plot and dialogue are not very original, but the creepy mood and some fine work by director Stan Winston (the special effects whiz behind Jurassic Park) make Pumpkinhead an eerie gothic horror tale and great viewing for Halloween nights. --Robert Lane
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A film about a ancient Demon named PUMPKINHEAD brought back by Ed Harley to seek revenge
on a Group of reckless teenagers that accidentally killed his little boy in a Motocross accident
Silly plot/storyline but Directed by Stan winston,
this film marks the first time the special creature effects master Stan winston in the Director's chair
while Stan winston's special effects team made the PUMPKINHEAD Demon
stan winston is mostly famous for the creature's from ALIENS, TERMINATOR James cameron film's,
& the PREDATOR creature from PREDATOR 1 & 2
and many other creatures/monsters he made for other films
this Low budget Horror from 1988 was first released on DVD by MGM back in 2002
with no extras and a Mono soundtrack
fast forward til 2014, Scream factory has released this film on blu-ray for the first time ever
with a brand new High Definition transfer in 1:85:1 widescreen with a new 5.1 master audio soundtrack
and i tell you what the picture quality and 5.1 master audio track is much better than the old MGM release
much much clearer picture quality on the blu-ray
Scream factory have also given PUMPKINHEAD blu-ray a massive special features respect
about close to 80mins of all new featurettes which can be played continously by clicking play all on the menu
EVOLUTION OF A DEMON, THE CURSED AND THE DAMNED, TORTURED SOUL OF ED HARLEY
CONSTRUCTING VENGEANCE, RAZORBACK HOLLER & DEMONIC TOYS
some of the featurettes here are all new interviews with most of the cast from the film
and other featurettes are interviews with stan winston's special effects team that worked on the Pumpkinhead costume
there's also Behind the scenes on set footage from 1988.
there is also a new Tribute to stan winston featurette
and the list goes on
this new Collector's edition by scream factory is Definitely for big fans of PUMPKINHEAD
for me personally i'm not big fan of the film, but i did enjoy watching all the interviews from the Actors/actresses
who gave recollections on the making of the film
so definitely throw out the old MGM release
and get this new blu-ray release , Definitely worth 5 stars for sure
Makeup special effects wizard turned one-time horror director, Stan Winston (Constantine, Galaxy Quest) demonstrates a greater handle on storytelling and general filmmaking than most would on even their fifth turn helming a horror movie…and he does it just right his first time. He did an admirable job and I'm baffled (and quite disappointed) that he did not continue to direct more horror films. The 90s certainly would have benefited from more of his work.
Pumpkinhead is a film brimming with all the typical horror tropes. But what truly sets it apart is their elegant delivery in the form of good storytelling--the kind of good writing and well-staged events we seldom encounter in horror. The scenes stitch together seamlessly and imbue a finer level of synthesis than horror typically finds.
In the opening scene, Ed's father protects his family from a desperate man pursued by a most pernicious demonic entity during a rather dire flashback that links our main character's childhood to the monster. Now grown and a father of a young boy himself, Ed (Lance Henriksen; Harbinger Down, Aliens, AVP, The Pit and the Pendulum) finds his son in his last living moments after some intoxicated twenty-something runs him over with his dirt bike.
Much to my relief, what we don't find are a bunch of young adults who keep talking about beer and smoking weed and getting drunk and getting laid. Their upcoming plight is not prefaced by drunk lap dances or cabin stripteases (e.g., Julianna Guill in Friday the 13th). What we witness instead is what we might expect of a young group (incl. Kerry Remsen; A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Ghoulies 2) on vacation--mild drinking and driving but no one seems sloshed, typical fun behavior that's just a little bit dangerous, and a somewhat understandable (though not at all forgivable) reaction to a big screw up while one of them was on probation. Even more rare for a horror film is that although we have a clear singular protagonist in our recently bereft father, the soon-to-be victims are effectively humanized when we witness that only the proby screw-up acts immorally after the accident. Like I said, the tropes are all here, but they don't feel like the same old over-played tropes when handled so well.
Ed seeks out a witch--a piece of local hillbilly folklore--to exact his revenge. What's funny is that Ed is the local middle-of-nowhere store owner in the mountain woods. Normally HE would be the harbinger warning the younger city folks of bad things to come. Instead it's Ed's fellow poverty-stricken neighbor (with five kids wearing filthy rags singing rhymes about the monstrous Pumpkinhead) who warns Ed away from pursuing the witch. How's that for a badass turn of troped-up events?
The witch is great! The translucently thin-haired hag lives in a fetid cabin in the swamp. The set designers really outdid themselves. She's creepy and says all the typical lines like "you'll know when you find it." But she's just soooo creepy that it doesn't feel corny. Then the pumpkin-patched grave site, the exhumation, the alien-looking transformation…this film truly has a lot to offer.
The pacing is excellent. We consistently build towards the reason to seek the witch (i.e., the tragedy), the impetus of vengeance, the necessary ritual, some blood and black magic, and the mysterious discovery that Ed is now somehow "connected" to the Pumpkinhead demon.
Once it comes time to start picking off twenty-somethings the movie becomes a bit more typical, but remaining on the higher quality end in terms of execution. Get it…execution? See what I did there? But for real, it's pretty fun. There are various "horror drags" and a grabs-from-above that reminds me of Alien 3…or, I suppose, Alien 3 (1992) reminds me of this.
Which brings us to the monster, which is undoubtedly reminiscent of the Alien Xenomorph, but with its own style. It's slimy skin, protruding bones, gaunt body, huge head and long tail make this fiend super-creepy and I love the way it lumbers around and makes interesting facial expressions!
And while its appearance reminds me of Aliens, its behavior is more like Jason Voorhees as it lurks around the isolated cabin in the woods (yes, all the tropes are here), occasionally dropping a dead body in front of a future victim (for no other reason than a good jump scare for us viewers). I'm also quite fond of the scene when it "stabs" a guy with a rifle. Cheeky!
This film offers much worthy screen time to its well-crafted monster and the action is pretty cool, especially at the end. The conflict is resolved properly with an ending that "matters" (unlike a lot of horror that just sort of "ends"). What's more is that the 80s loved horror endings that all but flagged down the obvious sequel. That happens here, but in a most tasteful, thoughtful, and appreciative manner that will put a smile of understanding satisfaction on your face the moment you catch it.
I don't simply recommend this be watched, but that you just go buy it. This movie contributed to making the 80s a special era for horror.
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