There seems to a yearning by many horror fans to recapture the heyday of practical effects, especially when it comes to monsters in films. Practical effects artists like Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis have been campaigning for more films to embrace the art for their movies. CG has its place they argue, but real life physical effects have a more tangible feel to them and many fans love it. Woodruff Jr. and Gillis themselves learned from one of the best that ever lived, Stan Winston. And Stan Winston actually directed a horror movie himself, Pumpkinhead, and it was the one and only time he ever did. Now Shout Factory brings us that monster cult classic on Blu-ray for the first time.
Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) is a simple man making an honest living running a general store and raising his son after the death of the boy’s mother. When a group of careless city kids stopping at the store accidentally kill Ed’s son he seeks out an old woman who lives deep in the woods to summon up a demon of vengeance to serve up revenge as he never could. But once the kids start getting taken out by the huge monster, Ed regrets his actions and must find a way to stop the demon before it kills everyone in its path.
Pumpkinhead is pure 80s monster magic. Winston’s direction is solid and atmospheric; Henriksen is excellent as the tormented Harley, and the monster Pumpkinhead himself is a wonder to behold. The sheer detail and menace in the giant creation is a solid argument for practical vs digital effects. Pumpkinhead is moody, fun, gory and well-paced, a definite 80s cult classic in the best sense of the word.
The Blu-ray from Shout Factory is very nice for such a low budget feature. I always remember Pumpkinhead being one of those movies on VHS that was so dark you could barely tell what was going on half the time but this transfer is clean and bright. You also get a nice selection of special features for this fan favorite and killer new artwork. Another great release from Shout Factory!
Available now on Blu-ray.