Pumpkinhead is a 1988 American dark fantasy horror film. It was the directorial debut of special effects artist Stan Winston. The film has built up a cult following in the years since its release. The first in the Pumpkinhead franchise, it was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, two TV film sequels, and a comic book series. The movie stars Lance Henriksen, John D’Aquino and a very young Mayim Bialik in a small role.
Ed Harley as a child watched one night as his father refused to open the door to their farm house for a neighbour & friend who was being chased by a mysterious creature. From the window young Ed watches the creature, Pumpkinhead kill the man. Many years later, a grown up Ed runs a small store in the country, raising his young son Billy. One day, a bunch of young folk from the city comes in to do some dirt biking and to stay in a cabin in the woods. As Ed leaves to run an errand, two of the men start to ride their bikes and accidentally one of them, Joel, runs over Billy when the boy chases behind his dog. It was an accident but Joel has a prior record and leaves for the cabin with his girlfriend and the others go after them, leaving Steve to be with the injured boy.
Ed comes and is devastated and furious, unwilling to listen to Steve’s explanation. Not having a hospital or doctor nearby, Billy dies and Ed goes to see a supposed witch, who says she cannot bring his son back. Instead, Harley says that he wants revenge; the witch agrees to help Harley, but she warns him that vengeance comes with a terrible price. On her orders, Harley goes to an old graveyard in the mountains, digs up a disfigured corpse, and brings it back to the witch’s home. The witch uses blood from father and son to resurrect the corpse, which rises as a gigantic, spindly demonic monster named Pumpkinhead.
Well, Pumpkinhead goes after the young people and kills them off one by one, starting with Steve and then Maggie. Ed starts to experience the killings and is traumatized and begs the witch to stop the killings as he is now remorseful but she says that it can’t be stopped. A repentant Joel tried to attack the creature with a knife but is killed. A local boy named Bunt, who showed Ed the way to the witch’s house, joins the remaining group and is taken by Ed to the latter’s cabin. The creature’s face now starts to resemble Ed more and more and when it attacks Chris & Bunt, it is accidentally stabbed in the arm by a pitchfork both Harley and Pumpkinhead cry out in pain, and Pumpkinhead releases Bunt. Harley notices that Pumpkinhead’s head is turning more human, then realizes that he and Pumpkinhead are one: the only way to kill the monster is to die himself.
Before the creature can kill Tracey, Harley shoots himself in the head. Pumpkinhead momentarily collapses to the ground, then grabs Bunt again. Tracey takes the gun and Harley begs her to finish him off. Harley, now fully changed, tries to attack Tracey. She shoots him until both he and Pumpkinhead fall to the ground dead and the creature’s body bursts into flames. Later that night, back in the pumpkin patch, the witch buries Harley’s now-disfigured corpse in Pumpkinhead’s grave, ready for the next person seeking vengeance, and still wearing the necklace his son Billy made him.
Very atmospheric with the remote setting and country woods location and the night time scenes with winds and leaves falling over. This cult film is perfect for a Halloween night screening. Surprisingly good enough for a 7 outta 10!