Bluray Review: PUMPKINHEAD

image002 (4)The first and only time I had seen PUMPKINHEAD was upon its initial release, maybe once since, but I can’t remember for the life of me. From what I recall, I liked it but never thought it was anything to write home about. Well, some things change, and some films age in ways that change the way we think about them. With life circumstances, changes in the way we look at various things and so on, sometimes films hit us differently later on. Such was the case when I recently sat down to revisit the film, via Scream Factory’s new Collector’s Edition Bluray of the 1988 Stan Winston creature feature. Does the disc provide the supplemental goodies that Jeff Nelson, Cliff McMillan and the Scream Factory are known for supplying? Yes. There are quite a few fun special feature docs, interviews, etc. Where the disc shines though, is the film itself. A great transfer that allows its viewer to experience a film that even with its fanbase, is somewhat underrated.




While on the surface, PUMPKINHEAD could come off as just another monster dispatching wild youngsters left and right, but the film is actually a lot deeper than the typical slasher/monster movies released during its time. It’s a well acted and very potent film about loss and how revenge can take you over, if it becomes your driving force. Revolving around Ed Harley (the always great Lance Henriksen, ALIENS, NEAR DARK), a backwoods man who runs a small, in the middle of nowhere store, and is the sole parent to his young son, PUMPKINHEAD does what a lot of horror films didn’t do in the late ’80s: allow you to get to know the characters. As a viewer, you’re able to experience the dynamic between Harley and his son, the love he has for the boy, and when a group of young adults show up meaning well, but accidentally killing Harley’s son in a dirtbike accident, your heart breaks as well. It’s that setup that draws you in and makes you completely on board with the film. When Harley visits a local myth of a witch, completely heartbroken and with vengeance on his mind,  anybody with children can sympathize with the decision, as poor as it may end it up being.

As the film plays out in front of you, and Harley’s vengeful decision sets loose the film’s title character, (a monstrous beast performed in suit by Tom Woodruff Jr.) you understand why he set the demon loose, wanting to see the kids pay the price for killing his son, even if it was an accident. As the beast slowly begins to kill each of the characters, Harley begins to realize what he did was wrong, though it’s much too late. While a lot of viewers might not think too deeply into it, it speaks a lot on living with hatred or revenge in your heart. Many times, we as people want those who wronged us to suffer, but in reality, that wanted suffering will never make a single thing better. That idea really shines in PUMKINHEAD, taking the viewer through the journey of Harley slowly becoming the hatred he has in his heart, leading to one last noble decision, one that really makes the film that much better. It’s a morality tale, hidden within a creature feature, one that gets better with time and stands apart from a lot of hollow creature films that get released.


Like with most of Scream Factory’s “Collectors Edition” Blurays, PUMPKINHEAD comes packed with supplemental material for die hard fans, or even for first time watchers wanting to know the stories behind the film. Everything from a tribute to the late Stan Winston from the people who worked on the film, to various other brand new docs/interviews with Lance Henriksen, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr and various cast and crew. Adding even more to the roster of special features, a few vintage docs have been carried over from the previous DVD release, but the new interviews and the tribute to Winston are reasons enough to pick this release up.

If you’re just wanting to upgrade to HD or stumbling across PUMPKINHEAD for the first time, Scream Factory does a hell of a job giving fans, new and old, a really fun experience with this one.

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  1. […] Edition” of the much loved Stan Winston classic, PUMPKINHEAD on September 9th (review), and if that wasn’t cool enough, the folks at SF are giving fans of the franchise another […]

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