As I have discussed before, Horror films were a major part of my life growing up. When this film came along it was not only a cool horror film but also starred one of my favorite character actors of the 1980’s Lance Henriksen. So I present to you, an 80’s Horror B-movie classic, from the mind of creature master Stan Winston, this is Pumpkinhead.
Today’s Key Movie:
Ed Harley’s only son is killed in an accident due to some reckless teens. Seeking vengeance in his pain, Ed summons a demon called Pumpkinhead to get revenge on the teens who were responsible for the death of his boy. The teens must survive the onslaught of the Vengeance Demon. It’s the classic tale of vengeance and as the usual wholesale slaughter ensues in this epic creature feature.
Why this movie?
As you well know (if you have been reading the blog) I love horror and the Creature Features of the 80’s and 90’s were some of my favorite. This is one that really set the bar for quality B-Horror and was made by the legendary monster maker Stan Winston himself. Stan Winston is responsible for an insane amount of the very best creature effects and makeup in the 80’s, 90’s and beyond including films like The Terminator, Aliens, Predator, Small Soldiers, Galaxy Quest and many many more. So when Stan Winston took the helm as director on a horror film, it was bound to be only the best and it is.
Spawning three more films in the series, this is one that set up a creature that would become a cult favorite of horror fans world-wide. I vividly remember my father bringing home the VHS copy of this film and us all gathering around the television to watch the latest in horror films. I was hooked immediately and, in my young mind, the legend of Pumpkinhead was born. A legend that has never left.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
If you like horror, if you enjoy Stan Winston’s creature effects and if you dig cult movies of the 80’s this is by far one of the best. Everyone in it gives it their all and, needless to say, the special effects are top-notch. For a directorial debut, this film has some amazing visuals and the pacing is damn near perfect. To be honest, the only reason this is even considered a B-Horror film is that it wasn’t a box office success and has been forgotten by most people who are not fans of 80’s horror. Sadly, Stan passed away in 2008 but his legacy is certainly eternal.
The story itself is a solid one with a slow burn that only builds the tension and is honestly really more impactful because of it when you think about it. The principal character, Ed Harley, is a grieving father who, in his anger and sadness, brings about a demon like no other. You almost feel bad for the man and can understand why he does what he does. Although not showing up until nearly half way through the first film, the creature itself is a work of art and honestly one of the most underappreciated monsters in horror film history. I rank it up there with the rest of the Horror Royalty; Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, etc.
It was recently announced that Comic Publisher Dynamite Publishing will be releasing an all new comic series from writer Cullen Bunn. I, for one, am extremely excited about this release and look forward to the legends to come.
OK, where do I get this movie?
There is a great Blu-Ray edition from Shout Factory that is available for right at $20. I highly recommend it as it is a great release on disc. If you like the digital format more you can grab this for a little less from VUDU.
To me, this is a must own for any self-respecting horror fan and, if by chance you haven’t seen it, you must drop what you are doing and correct that mistake right now. I don’t think you will regret it.
Here is the trailer from Shout Factory:
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Late to the Game 4/21/2019 (Originally published 03/29/2018)