After a group of teens accidentally kill a young boy named Billy Harley, his father Ed is devastated and the only thing he wants is revenge. He goes to an old woman who is said to be a witch and conjures a demonic creature known as Pumpkinhead, and unleashes him on the teens.
I will be the first person to stand up and admit that Pumpkinhead is, in some ways, as silly as it's name, but there's something there. It's just enough to elevate this above much of the other "Dead Teenager" dreck that was thrown at us in the glorious eighties.
First off, the monster is a doozy. Stan Winston was up to his usual standard of excelence and creativity, and he created a creature that, while not actually convincing, is alot scarier and easier to enjoy than most. Pumpkinhead is no Freddy or Michael Meyers, but he delivers.
Second of all, the plot is more intelligent than I have come to expect from slasher flicks. The "Kids" are more thought out than most disposable teens, and their motives are more understandable. They accidently take the life of a child, but most want to do the right thing and go to the authorities. Even the Jerk who doesn't is eventually persuaded. And Harley, the father who is the real hero AND villian of the film is much more human than his actions would suggest.
There is also a good twist at the end which I will not reveal here, only say that surprised me with it's subtlety, which is something you rarely see in a horror film that is more than 2/3 done.
Bottom line, I was pleasently surprised with Pumpkinhead. People who don't like horror films are unlikely to be impressed with it, except on a technical level because the effects and atmosphere are superb, but horror fans looking for a harmless new thrill may find it better than expected. It's smarter, wittier and deeper than the norm.
Pumpkinhead gets 6 out of 10 for technical expertise, great atmosphere and an above average story.
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