The theme for day 3 of the NOFS 31 day horror movie challenge is Autumn Vibes. After having some issues figuring out what I was going to watch I finally decided to go with another one of my favorite horror movies, Pumpkinhead. It has very strong autumn vibes, even though I was going to save it for a different day. When I was younger I liked it because it was a monster movie but now I appreciate it even more for everything else I’ve begun to notice from rewatches.
Pumpkinhead was directed by Stan Winston. The screenplay was written by Mark Patrick Carducci and Gary Gerani with story by Mark Patrick Carducci, Stan Winston, and Richard C. Wienman. It was based on a poem of the same name by Ed Justice. It stars Lance Henrikson, John D’Aquino, Jeff East, Kerry Remsen, and Mushroom. I didn’t know until recently that Mushroom the dog being in both this and Gremlins, two movies that I loved growing up and still love.
Spoilers in the following sections. Watch the movie, even if you’ve seen it before.
Pumpkinhead starts in the past and you see the titular creature attacking a man and the reactions from the locals to the man. After the credits you catch up with the little boy from the opening all grown up with a son of his own. He has a little general store and a group of out of town kids stop to get stuff. Ed Harley has to leave his son at the store which leads to the son being killed in an accident. All but one of the kids are distraught over the accident. One of them stays with the boy as the others leave, most to try to get help. Ed comes back and after discovering what happened to his son tries to find a way to avenge what happened. The kid behind the accident lashes out at the others in the group. Ed goes to an old witch in the mountains, and finds out how to get revenge on the out of towners. He digs up a body that turns into Pumpkinhead. The kids are all taken out one by one, with Pumpkinhead toying with each of the kills. Ed starts to experience pain whenever there is a kill. He decides to try to kill the creature. As it kills it starts to look more human like while Ed starts to look more monstrous. Ed finally kills himself after figuring out that he is connected to the monster. The movie ends with the old witch burying Ed Harley’s body in the pumpkin patch graveyard where he dug up the body of Pumpkinhead.
The creature effects in Pumpkinhead was great. Even on the 4k transfer that I have it looks fantastic. Tom Woodruff Jr. is in the suit and the physicality that he has in it is fantastic. The movements are like something getting used to have limbs. The way that he plays with the kills brings a curiosity that you don’t normally get. Richard Stone did the music for the movie and the score does really well. The sound design is great, especially when Pumpkinhead is around.
Pumpkinhead is awesome. If you want to see a really interesting monster movie, I could not recommend it more. It has some sequels, but I’ve only seen the first of them. I will give Pumpkinhead 9 burned down churches out of 10.