Pumpkinhead (1988) **
D: Stan Winston
C: Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D' Aquino, Kimberly Ross
Plot Synopsis: After the accidental death of his son, a vengeful father visits the local witch and summons a demon to extract revenge on those that he holds responsible.
Review: In Pumpkinhead, a group of teen characters are briefly introduced. There's a tragic accident. A father wants revenge. The local witch helps the father to summon the title villain, who appears to extract revenge. One character after another dies. The father character then realizes that revenge comes with a price and faces a moral conundrum as to what to do.
The title character, along with the witch character are quite intriguing, even fascinating. I would have liked to seen a film that explored the mythology, back story and the overall relationship between these two characters. An origin story if you will. However, I guess the people behind Pumpkinhead didn't think origin stories are all that marketable and instead have taken what could have been a very arresting plot and turned it into yet another teen slasher.
That's what confuses me about Pumpkinhead. I don't get why the people behind this film felt the need to dumb down the material. I don't get why they have resorted to generic storytelling when they had so many interesting story ideas that they could have worked with. It's like they took everything that could have been special about this film and threw it in the trash. And for what reason?!?
To its credit, Pumpkinhead is well made, well lit, well lensed. The makeup and costuming of the witch are well thought out. The Pumpkinhead creature is vividly brought to life, though I'm not entirely sure as to why it is called a Pumpkinhead when nothing about the creature resembles a pumpkin. Still, fine production values can't disguise that Pumpkinhead is just another blasé slasher with a monster taking the place of the usual madman. From a technical standpoint, Pumpkinhead is a lot better then what the film's story requires of it. [R] 87 mins.