10/28/13 – OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #28 – Pumpkinhead

Pumpkinhead

In honor of my most recent article I wrote on Halloween Horror Movies for the Stan Winston School (https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/blog/top-13-halloween-horror-movies-jeff-dixon), there’s no better horror movie to write about today than Stan Winston himself’s directorial debut, Pumpkinhead. As with most of the movies I choose for these lists, I have an interesting connection to this film. It was with this movie that I discovered at a young age how normal film critics had nothing to offer me, since they simply hated horror films. I remember reading every single review of 1 star, zero stars, thumbs down, etc., and I was curious why there was so much vitriol toward this film, because I really enjoyed it. Then it struck me. These were intellectual film critics who were reviewing horror movies using the same criteria as Academy Award winners. That’s like having someone allergic to sugar tell me which candy tastes the best. Eff them. There was no way these people were qualified to review my movies. Only MY people should review my movies. That was pretty much when I solely turned to Fangoria for my film reviews and coverage (I was already an avid reader, so it wasn’t too much of a transition.) Regardless, that connection aside, Pumpkinhead is what it is. And what it is, is an awesome morality revenge tale with an absolutely FANTASTIC centerpiece creature. But what’s interesting about this film is that the morality tale isn’t quite one sided, it’s told from both angles. It’s about a man who’s son is accidentally killed by a group of teens, so in his fury he decides to have a witch conjure up a demon to kill them all. But during all that time, both the teens AND the man feel bad about what happened, and want to make things right. But it’s too late. Pumpkinhead is already here to rip some shit up. Look, it’s the 80’s. You’re going to get some dubious acting and some silliness. Expect that. But what you don’t expect is how awesome the atmosphere of this film is. The witch, the design, the mood, Lance FREAKING Henriksen being amazing as always, and of course, foremost, Pumpkinhead himself. Pumpkinhead is just a wonder of practical design. Since Stan directed, Stan was going to bring the goods with the creature. And damn right he did. Pumpkinhead is amazing. Many, many years ago when I visited Stan’s old workshop, I got the opportunity to see the actual Pumpkinhead creature in the conference room, and holy hell it’s impressive. And every bit of that beast is up there on screen. Enjoy it my friends. Don’t listen to the intellectual critics. It’s just damn good romp.

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