Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Running Time: 86 minutes
Directed By: Stan Winston
Written By: Mark Patrick Carducci, Stan Winston, Richard Weinman, Gary Gerani
Main Cast: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D'Aquino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman
Click here to view the trailer


Several points to make here in the opening paragraph: 1) I can't believe it took four people to write such an amazing pile of crap 2) I can't believe this movie is actually getting time on a blog that was originally intended to house 1001 "must see" movies and 3) I plan to have a lot of fun with this review!

Okay, so the film stars Lance Henriksen, which was the main reason I said "okay" when my wife suggested we watch it for FRIGHTFEST. While I can't pinpoint a particular performance I enjoyed Henriksen in, I've always dug the guy and he's someone who seems to crop up in horror movies, probably because he's one scary mofo. Here Henriksen is Ed Harley, a "good 'ol boy" with a cute kid named Billy. Ed owns a grocery store and one day, while manning the store, with Billy and his dog Gypsy playing outside, a group of teens (very typical, horror movie type teens with a 4:2 girl:boy ratio) drive up, on their way to the cabin for the weekend (note the insanely original writing and my insane use of sarcasm). Of course, no group of teenagers would be complete without a resident prick and this group is no exception. Here, Joel (D'Aquino) is the jerk of the crew and while being a rebel and riding his motor bike around the nearby premises', he accidentally hits and kills Ed's son. Oh, I forgot to mention that Ed had stepped out for just a minute, to fetch some feed for a customer. When Ed returns he's pissed, but not quite as pissed off as you'd think he'd be (seriously, watch the movie - Henriksen doesn't play the scene well at all). Anyway, Ed wants revenge, so he finds the old witch who lives in the mountains and asks her to conjure up Punpkinhead - a demon who, for a fee, will get your revenge for you. Yes, a DEMON who fights crime!! So Ed pays (in what seems to be silver coins) and Pumpkinhead is unleashed, chasing the teens through the woods, in typical slasher, horror fashion. However, after a bit, Ed begins to feel remorse for asking for revenge on the teens that killed his son, so he tries to hunt down Pumpkinhead to stop him.

For fans of this film, do you know WHY Ed feels remorse and starts to hunt Pumpkinhead? Because if this plot development doesn't happen, then after Ed hires Pumpkinhead, we no longer need the Henriksen character, because after that point, the conflict exists solely between Pumpkinhead and the teenagers (actually, they're probably more like twenty-somethings). So the writers (all four of them!) conjure up something for Lance to do, so that they don't waste a lot of money on the only star to be found in the picture. Speaking of that conflict between Pumpkinhead and the teens: whose side are we supposed to be on? I mean, I realize that Joel was really the only bad seed of the group, but why wouldn't we want Pumpkinhead to punish the group responsible for coming into the woods and disrupting shit to the point that Ed Harley, respected town citizen, had to call upon the spirit of an age old demon to kick some ass?! I mean, everything was fine until they showed up. No need to wake Pumpkinhead from his slumber or anything! So, do I root for the demon to rid the backwoods of these loud mouth, city citizens or do I root for the unrootable teens? Also, why Pumpkinhead? I mean, I realize they dug him up out of a pumpkin patch graveyard (yep, a PUMPKIN PATCH GRAVEYARD!) but, his head, in no way, resembles a pumpkin. He looks more like a Predator rip off. Ah man, remember "Predator" - if memory serves THAT was a bad ass movie! This, on the other hand, not worth the celluloid it was filmed on.


Anything good to report? Well, they did a good job of establishing the bond between the father and son in such a quick amount of time. It's literally about two scenes and we're fully aware that if something happens to this boy, Ed is going to lose his shit. The ending was pretty cool too. No, not the 'Ed Harley shooting himself in order to kill Pumpkinhead' ending (that was just stupid and didn't make a lick of sense). No, I'm talking about the fact that now Ed Harley has become the new Pumpkinhead - that's kinda' cool, I guess. Henriksen was really good too though; his performance probably only suffered because of the crap he was given to work with. You can't polish a turd folks! The film is just WAY too rushed, unoriginal, nonsensical and with the exception of Henriksen, terribly acted.

RATING: 2/10  I can't even justify why this film doesn't get a '1', it just seems more like a '2' to me. However, whether it's a '1' or a '2', it all spells B-A-D. On the other hand, I don't regret watching this one for FRIGHTFEST, because it was your typical, old school, bad horror movie, the wife and I had a blast making fun of it and it seemed to fit with the impending "holiday".

October 28, 2013  8:00pm


  1. so your wife is a fan of this? what did she think of your review?

    1. Well, she did pick this one, but she hadn't seen it either. She saw it on Netflix and thought we needed something stupid and apparently this qualified. She actually didn't think much of this either.


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