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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pumpkinhead (1988)

An iconic and original horror movie monster is born! Pumpkinhead is the tragic tale of Ed Harley, a father who seeks revenge for the accidental death of his son. With the help of a mountain witch named Hessie, Harley summons up a kick-ass revenge demon named Pumpkinhead. The demon then begins to unleash his reign of terror on those who did Harley wrong.

There are a number of things I love about this movie. The biggest one is Pumpkinhead himself. Stan Winston Studios created a magnificent monster that feels fresh and original. Tom Woodruff Jr [Aliens, Terminator] is credited with playing the creature as well as make-up effects. The look of Pumpkinhead is also enhanced by the subtle blue lighting and fog effects that are used for the night scenes. It's a visual feast for the eyes.

Another plus are the performances of Lance Henriksen [Aliens, Terminator] and Devon Odessa [Uncle Buck, My So-Called Life]. Henriksen's Ed Harley is the heart and soul of this movie. It would be in serious trouble without him since much of the acting is a little weak. I also loved Odessa's portrayal of Hessie who is a crusty old hag is there ever was one. Her scenes greatly add to the film as well.

Stan Winston also does a fine job as director. Although he is known more for his special effects, he paces Pumpkinhead nicely and creates lots of tension and suspense once the monster is unleashed. 

On the negative side, there are plot elements that are a little weak. The set up where Harley's son is killed comes as no surprise and you can see the death coming way before it happens. The other thing I object to is their portrayal of mountain folk. I live in the mountains of Southern Appalachia and found this very insulting. We have soap here and we wash our clothes! We even speak proper English! Rant over!

With a few tweaks I could have given this film an Excellent rating but it just doesn't quite reach that high. However, I love the monster and feel like Pumpkinhead is an underrated film by many critics. Give it a chance!

RATING: Very Good.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB


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