31 Days of Halloween – Day 9: Pumpkinhead


“Keep away from Pumpkinhead, Unless you’re tired of living, His enemies are mostly dead, He’s mean and unforgiving, Bolted doors and windows barred, Guard dogs prowling in the yard, Won’t protect you in your bed, Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.”

Pumpkinhead is a cult classic directed by effects legend Stan Winston (the man behind Terminator, Iron Man, AI, and so much more). It’s a gothic story of love, loss, vengeance, and redemption. In fact, vengeance was a big theme of of the 80’s and this movie’s rejection of the motif was quite powerful. It stars Lance Henriksen, arguably the greatest character actor of the 80s. Pumpkinhead, the creature is sometimes last described as the last great horror villain, just before CGI took over.

According to IMDB, Henriksen had a set of dentures made to give him a more rural look. He also gathered all of his own props and wardrobe, including a WWII pump-action shotgun, his cap worn throughout the film and he gathered the silver dollars by visiting several pawn shops.

Anyway, Nahid isn’t too into b-movies so I wasn’t sure what she’d think.

What did you think?

Nahid. It was fun to watch. Pumpkinhead isn’t scary, but the theme of hatred begetting hatred is strong. I haven’t watched many Cabin in the Woods movies, but from what I know this one changed it a bit. The dog seemed like it should die, and the tough girl survived. I thought the father was going to help them fight the monster, not create it!

Pumpkinhead looks too much like Alien, they shouldn’t have showed him so much.

What was your favorite part?

Nahid. The puppy! And I like the actress from Big Bang Theory, even though she was only in it for one scene.  I liked the beginning, the happy movie parts with the cute kid.

What was your least favorite part?

Nahid. Cheesy Dialogue. I guess it’s a B Movie thing but it makes it not scary at all. Why did the farmboy help the kids? His motives weren’t clear.

Do you think you’d watch this again?

Probably not, but maybe next Halloween I’d give it a shot.

My thoughts.

I like that it breaks the horror rules; the virgin dies first, the kid dies instead of the dog, Pumpkinhead can enter holy ground and so on. It’s kind of an anti-trope movie. The rural setting is great. Henriksen is even better than great.

I can overlook the bad dialogue and acting, but I wish the witch wasn’t named Haggis. Even more, I wish the inciting accident was more plausible. I still have a hard time believing the kid dies from being brushed by a motorcycle. But it’s still a rad, atmospheric movie.

Here’s the full movie, if you want to see it.


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