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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 95: Pumpkinhead

Sadly, there was no spoof "Pumpkin Piehead"

“Keep away from Pumpkinhead, Unless you're tired of living. His enemies are mostly dead. He's mean and unforgiving.” Those are the final lines of the Misfits song “Pumpkinhead” off of their album “Famous Monsters”. That was my first introduction to this 1988 cult horror classic. The entire song is basically a catchy retelling of the movie and looking back it probably told a little too much, but that's ok because the song is awesome. I had not seen this movie when it first came out, mostly because I was born in the mid 80's and this is no movie to bring a toddler to see. Time to make up for some lost nightmares.

Pumpkinhead stars Lance Henriksen (Millenium, Aliens) as Ed Harley, a country store owner and father to the precocious Billy. A group of young campers are heading to their cabin in the woods when they stop at Ed's store for supplies. Two of the men decide to ride dirt bikes around the store. Ed has to leave the shop for a few minutes to go get feed for a customer when Billy is accidentally killed by one of the dirt bikers, Joel. They flee the scene, leaving one man behind to explain to Ed what happens. When he asks Ed if he can help, Ed shoots him a look of pure hatred. At the cabin, Joel explains that he is on probation for a similar accident and will go to jail if he turns himself in. Ed, wracked with gried and a desire for vengeance goes deep into the woods and seeks out the witch named Haggis. As a boy, Ed saw the demonic creature that the witch was able to summon and wants her to do the same for him. She tells Ed to go to the old pumpkin patch to dig up a deformed corpse. The witch performs the evil ritual, bringing Pumpkinhead to life and psychically connecting him to Ed. Pumpkinhead finds the campers and brutally kills them off one by one. Ed can feel what is happening and the longer this continues, Ed actually begins to transform into Pumpkinhead. Will he be able to save the remaining campers and stop his transformation before it is too late?

I hope that's just a pumpkin in my pants

I can definitely see why Pumpkinhead has become a cult classic. Pumpkinhead looks absolutely fantastic with great attention given to it's head and detailed body. This thing just looks like it crawled out from hell and wants to drink your blood. It's look is so effective because it looks eerily human with a bit of alien and a dash of Satan (A Dash Of Satan would be a great cookbook title). The prosthetics and makeup used throughout the movie are amazing. All horror movies should take note. The story is pretty unique and certainly believable. Ed is just so overcome with emotion that he just wants vengeance. He doesn't want to take over the world with Pumpkinhead or anything ridiculous, he just wants those who wronged him to pay. That is why the movie works so well, because the audience agrees with Ed, but also wants the teens to survive. Just like Ed, we see the error of our ways and want to stop Pumpkinhead.

Lance Henriksen puts on a great performance as both the heartbroken and vengeful Ed. He is very convincing and is able to get the audience to feel the same emotions. The movie has a good amount of violence and blood. What's nice is that Pumpkinhead doesn't just run in and kill people in the same manner. He stalks, hides, and climbs, so the audience never really knows when he may pop up. I was a bit disappointed that Pumpkinhead didn't actually have a pumpkin for a head. Why not name him something far scarier if you're not going to be literal. I guess his head is kind of round and he was buried in a pumpkin patch, but still, not a pumpkin for a head.

This is what you look like when you listen to Sarah Palin for too long

Pumpkinhead is a good story with solid acting and lots of fun violence. The creature looks great and realistic. The movie ends on a down note, but that's fine by me because I like down notes. Pumpkinhead is definitely worth seeking out for first-time horror fans and horror veterans.


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