Movie of the Day – Pumpkinhead
September 15, 2012 3 Comments
Ahh, fall, the time of the year when food and bear suddenly have the taste of pumpkin in every drink and bite you take. I don’t know why pumpkin has suddenly decided to be like cranberry’s and get in every possible culinary dish and drink, but it is inescapable. If you are one of those people that know it’s fall when Starbucks decides to release their pumpkin spice latte…I am indifferent about you. They aren’t that good, I should know cause I was a barista at one time for Starbucks. Shit I got sidetracked, anyways to celebrate pumpkins being in all the food for fall this year, why not a movie with pumpkin in the title.
A bereaved farmer enlists the aid of a terrifying demon to help avenge his son’s death in this stylish horror movie that contains a strong moral. It all begins as gentle widowed farmer/general store owner Ed’s beloved 10-year-old son is involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident with an careless unknown motorcyclist. Ed nearly goes berserk with grief and to bring back his son heads to the cabin of a wise old witch to see if she can rejuvenate the youth. Unfortunately, it is beyond her considerable powers so Ed, now equally desperate for revenge, invokes the legendary Pumpkinhead, a terrifying demon with the power to make the biker pay. One by one, Pumpkinhead dispatches the terrified cyclist and his friends, leaving Ed to reconsider his rashness. He tries to call the demon back, but by then it is far too late…. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
When I think terrifying horror movie, I don’t think Pumpkinhead. When I think terrifying monsters done a surgical touch of craft and magic, I think Stan Winston. Pumpkinhead was creature creator Stan Winston’s first directorial movie and while the story is “meh” in my opinion, his vision of creepy creatures never loses their magical presence in this movie. I think this is why I still remember Pumpkinhead after 20 some odd years. If it wasn’t directed by Stan Winston or even had him creating the monster effects, I wouldn’t even bother writing about this movie. Yeah it is formulaic as hell, but it’s the subtle touches and care that Winston has with his creations that make it memorable.
This is about as standard as a horror movie can get. It hits a lot of the same eerie notes as previous monster movies, but it doesn’t lose that charm and edge that Winston and Lance Henriksen bring. Actually now that I think about it, any movie that stars Henriksen is a definite watch in my book. He’s got that horror movie presence that is brooding and unpredictable. As a villain he can be hammy and scene chewing, which is awesome, but here he is just absolute fun to watch. While Lance is always a pleasure to watch, the real star is Pumpkinhead, the demon of the movie. Even today, the effects and costume design of the creature still looks terrifying and awesome. Just absolutely creepy to look at and a one of a kind creation from Winston himself. You have to see it to believe it.
Overall Pumpkinhead is fun movie to watch, if nothing else than to watch Stan Winston getting to create and direct his own creature feature. The monster is just one of a kind and frankly, still beats the shit out of other monsters being made today. Winston might be a top notch director, but his first outing is fun and scary at the right places while showcasing his amazing talents in creature creation with Pumpkinhead. Don’t see it for the story, see it for the monster and horror movie tropes!