Directed By: Stan Winston
Starring: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D’Aquino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen, Florence Schauffler, Brian Bremer
Subgenre: Creature Feature
Synopsis: Ed Harley summons the evil creature Pumpkinhead to exact revenge upon the group of teens that are responsible for his son’s death.
Thoughts: While the 80s were dominated by slashers, this little gem went old school and gave us one of the coolest looking movie monsters in recent history in Pumpkinhead. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the creature looks so cool, as it was created by the legendary Stan Winston, who is responsible for bringing to life some of the most iconic characters in film history with The Terminator, Aliens and Predator, plus many, many others.
Other than the creature, the cast is easily dominated by Lance Henriksen. This guy instantly makes any movie he is in 50% cooler. He really embodies the backwoods anguished father looking for revenge. The group of “teens” isn’t all that memorable, with the exception of John D’Aquino, who played the biggest ass of the group, and not surprisingly, the one responsible for the death of the boy. In typical Hollywood fashion, the group of “teens” appears to be closer to 30 than 20, but that is almost as much of a horror cliché as the final girl in a slasher movie.
Not only did Stan Winston create Pumpkinhead, he directed it as well, making this his directorial debut. Surprisingly, he would only return to the Director’s chair one more time, for the kids’ movie A Gnome Named Gnorm. Pumpkinhead takes place at night, but Winston did a good job of taking advantage of that and giving us quick glimpses of Pumpkinhead before the big reveal in the finale. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t direct more, but that almost had to have been his decision.
Like I mentioned, Pumpkinhead is a throwback of sorts. There is just something special about a good old fashioned monster movie with no CGI. The storyline for Pumpkinhead is not overly complicated, nor is it overly cliché. If you haven’t seen the original, do yourself a favor and check it out. I haven’t seen any of the sequels, but I imagine that I will, eventually.