Intense father/son bonding at the start of a movie can only end one way, and then you gotta dig up Pumpkinhead 'cause it's vengeance you need. Say it Ed Harley! Say it! But what you ask has a powerful price, and it's...gotta run its course. You hate dirt bikers too right? Oh this is gonna be good.

hey cool
Beautiful Halloween horror vibe
but YUCK
Doesn't really have a pumpkin head

Damn, I forgot what a good movie this is Ed Harley. I think I've seen too many Pumpkinhead sequels. This is just a beautifully shot film, full of foggy graveyards and shadowy demons and candle-lit witches. Goddam old sweat horror movie, perfect for an October night when that thrill is in the air.

Lance Henriksen is great in almost everything (the almost referring to The Horror Show), and of course Pumpkinhead is the featured attraction here, but for me old lady Haggis steals the movie, settin' out there in her creepy witch hut by the cursed graveyard where folks bury kin they ain't proud of. I love how she doesn't even have to look up to know he's brought a dead kid up there. The owl saw. I could stand a whole movie of just her croning and goading and needing a dead thing dug up so she can "do some thangs to it". This isn't some misunderstood folk healer like in the sequels either, she's a devil ordained night hag nasty 'ol witch here who obviously gets her cackles from corrupting folks with vengeance and horrible things having to run their courses. Oooh I'll bet she's the best at telling scary stories. If that were my grandma I'd be over there all the time hounding her with "god damn you granny Haggis" just so I could hear her croak "he already has boy, he already has".

Which brings us to Pumpkinhead himself. The sequels rather soured me on him as a serious demon, but this is 1988 and Stan Winston's in charge. The fantastic puppet shots of the demon stalking people through the stormy woods make him seem twenty feet tall and utterly menacing. That's the real Pumpkinhead I love, and appears only in this picture. The guy-in-suit action was less effective for me as it shrinks him down to man size, and some of the shots do border on overexposure. It's a pro quality monster suit though and I'll save my grousing about all that for the sequels. I endorse this monster. Let's remember him like this instead of that animated turd crawling around in Ashes to Ashes.

Also from 1988: strangely innocent monster victims. The movie kind of forced that one guy to be a prick about it so we can hate somebody, but it really was an accident with the little boy and the rest of the kids were horrified and wanting to help. I guess the movie was trying to make a point about the tragedy of vengeance and how it perpetuates and all that. Okay but I still want Punkinhead to get 'em. Wish he'd revenged up a couple more in fact. But my point is the amount of teen jackass behaviour here is comfortably within my threshold, and I really appreciate that lately. I mean imagine what a remake of this would be like.

If I absolutely had to find a nit to pick I could say I don't quite understand why they unload their bikes and start tearing around next to the guy's fruit stand to begin with, and why someone would haul his severely injured child back home instead of to a doctor. I don't really care about that stuff, it's completely mundane to me, but the brain does involuntarily balk for a second and say "did I miss something? Why isn't screw it who cares", and that briefly distracts me from the movie. I don't want any monster time wasted explaining crap like that and I certainly don't want a dull scene at the doctor's office, I just think scenes should be written such that it's not an issue. Like have the kid die in the truck; you can still have your poignant death scene without needing to explain why on Earth Lance didn't seek medical attention, and I wouldn't have felt compelled to type a whole boring paragraph about it.

That's a miniscule complaint though, nothing worth raising up Pumpkinhead over (although she'd totally do it).