" For All Of Man's Evil, A Special Demon Exist"
Pumpkinhead is the 1988 cult classic directed by Stan Winston, is about the story of Ed Harley(Lance Henrikson) who is an every day working man who lives alone with his young son Billy and their dog Gypsy, Ed owns a local shop off a highway in the country, he leads a simple life, but one day when a group of city twenty somethings stop at his shop, Ed's life quickly takes a turn.
While Ed is gone for awhile, his son Billy stays behind and watches the store while two of the guys in the group get their dirt bikes off their trailer and decided to have some fun, Gypsy quickly runs outside to chase the two guys around, and Billy follows the dog to the riding area and without the guys noticing him gets right in their way and is accidentally killed by Joel (John D'Aquino), who quickly flees the scene along with his girlfriend, even though it was truly and accident.
Harley goes to see Old Man Wallace (Buck Wallace) and ask him about an old woman "Who has Powers" and who might be able to help him, Wallace tells Harley that he doesn't know anything about any old woman and to just go home an bury his boy. as Harley is leaving one of Wallace grandsons tells Harley about the old woman and where he can find her.
Harley goes to visit Haggis(Florence Schauffer), he begs the old woman for help, but she can not help the boy, but she can help him get revenge against the ones who killed his son, she summons the creature Pumpkinhead for Harley but it comes with a price.
I've been a fan of Pumpkinhead ever since I saw the movie as a little kid and even at an early age I knew that this movie was different from most other the movies that come from the same mold as this on the surface Pumpkinhead could be viewed as just a revenge horror flick but as I've gotten older I've noticed there is a little more to this movie.
The Lance Henrikson character is just an every man who is forced into bringing the creature of death back for his revenge because of the fact that even though his son was killed by some stupid teens, the group of 20 somethings who in their first interaction when arriving at Harley's store insults his son "Look at the coke bottles on this kid" ironically enough the same person who says this line is the same one who is the one who kills his son, even though Harley himself doesn't know which one does it, blames them all.
John D'Aquino plays the true villain of the film because as one of his friends calls him he's not a "talented Jerk"but just a "Jerk Jerk" and he really is son of a bitch here, as he refuses to allow any one to call for help from their cabin just because he's been in another accident before and Is on probation for that, he beats on his girlfriend and beats up Chris (Jeff East) for trying to get help, the guy is the ultimate shit heel in the movie.
Back to Henrikson for a second, the man has always been a good actor films like Aliens, Near Dark came out before and shows both sides of him either as the likable Android Bishop (Aliens) or the Vicious Jesse (Near Dark) but I noticed and I guess because I'm older now, that his portrayal of Ed Harley is kinda sad when really looked at because he loved his son, its really sad for any parent to have to lose their children in such a way.
He plays this very convincingly too and really shines with the guilt that he feels as the movie plays on and Pumpkinhead comes into play and does what it was brought to do.
The Creature effects in the movie are really good, mainly because Stan Winston was a genius with creature effects ( he did the design for Predator a year earlier also),threw out the movie we only get to see enough of the creature(Until the end) to know that this thing is big and nasty, but what I really liked to is that at later points in the film you start to see a similarity between the creature and Harley character (If you never seen the movie, you'll have to watch it and find out.
Pumpkinhead didn't do well back in 1988 for whatever reason maybe it has to do with what I mentioned about Henrikson's character or something else, but over the years its become a cult classic and even spawned a few sequels I've only watched the second film which doesn't hit on any of the levels as this movie, nor did I bother with the other sequels that followed.
If you enjoy creature features this one is a good one to check out.
MY RATING 7/10
Lance Henrikson- Ed Harley
Jeff East- Chris
John D'Aquino- Joel
Kimberly Ross- Kim
Kerry Remsen- Maggie
Buck Flower Mr. Wallace
Tom Woodruff, Jr.- Pumkinhead