I have reviewed six or seven Lance Henriksen films in this project to date, but Pumpkinhead is by far my favorite. It might be because I saw it a kid (scared the piss out of me) or because Pumpkinhead is an amazing title for a horror film for that has nothing to do with pumpkins or pumpkin-headed monsters.
The film does, however, create a unique and realistic mythology surrounding the dreaded creature and allows Henriksen to shine in one of his best performances (in one of the best roles in horror a film).
Henriksen is a hardworking, loving father. He truly loves his son more than anything in world. It’s what makes this film not just a horror film, but an exceptionally well-constructed and sad dramatic piece as well. His son is accidentally killed by a group of teenagers riding dirt bikes. Henriksen is crushed. The pain in his eyes and face nearly makes me tear up every time I watch. Craving revenge, he calls on the legend of Pumpkinhead to make the teens pay for their crime.
Pumpkinhead is not to be messed with. He is a 9 foot-tall monster that is as scary looking as anything ever created by filmmakers. He is the demon of revenge. Other films have used this similar idea: Jeepers Creepers has the demon of gluttony; Hellraiser has demons of lust, Wishmaster has a demon of greed. The idea of all these entities existing in the same universe gets me a little excited. Could there be a giant horror conspiracy out there? The plot thickens.
As the story progresses Henriksen changes his mind – he is after all, a good guy at heart. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Pumpkinhead is the kind of monster that sees his work through completion. He cannot be called off; there is just one way to stop him, which I won’t spoil here. Just know it’s a fun and bloody ride getting there.
The creature effects are amazing –both technically and visually. The image of Pumpkinhead undeniably scarred my childhood. I am sure the same applies to many others. In a long line of scary-looking horror villains, he sits right near the top in my book. Just look at him!
This film is one of the best ‘80s horror films and one that I have included in my Top 50 Horror Films of All Time List. An original story and unique mythology, along with an Oscar-worthy acting from Henriksen, all add up to make this a film that is not to be missed.
Snore Factor: Z (One of the best)