Pumpkinhead (1988)

Pumpkinhead (1988) movie poster

director Stan Winston
viewed: 05/25/2016

Hollywood make-up/FX man Stan Winston’s one and only film as director, Pumpkinhead, is notable for being Hollywood make-up/FX man Stan Winston’s one and only film as director.

Coming out in the late 1980’s, it often gets lost on the shuffle of that era’s slasher flicks, which it is decidedly not.  It’s a creature feature and the creature is indeed pretty cool, a giant demon creature summoned from a backwoods graveyard to effect revenge on whomever the summoner has targeted.  This summoning is at the behest of grieving father (a surprisingly hunky Lance Henriksen) whose little boy is run down accidentally by some hooligans.  Only too late does Henriksen realize the true horror of revenge.

The film features some nicely designed and shot sets, and the cast does a pretty decent job.  But the story is underdeveloped and the film’s tone is shifty, from some misty sentimentality to more typical horror scenes, not improved by the winsome soundtrack with harmonicas.  In the end, it’s mediocre at best, really.

That said, it’s easy to imagine having seen this film at the right point in one’s life and having really connected with it.  The scenes between Henriksen and his son (Matthew Hurley) are touching, if overdone.  And the creature and some of the settings are striking.

I will say that I’m pretty sure that I saw this movie back in the day at some point, but at no point was a jogged into a key memory of it, but I’m still not sure if I just don’t recall anything more than the monster.

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