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'Pumpkinhead': Throwback Movie Review

Updated on August 17, 2019
Dean Howard profile image

Dean is a new online writer. He usually writes movie and music reviews.

'Pumpkinhead' Movie Review

'Pumpkinhead' stars Lance Henriksen as a grieving father of a young boy. When a group of young vacationers accidentally kill his son while riding motorcycles, Henriksen seeks revenge. He tracks down a witch to revive Pumpkinhead from the grave to hunt the people who took the life of his young son. After Pumpkinhead begins his hunt, Henriksen feels guilty and tries to help save the people who killed his son.

This movie did not perform well at the box office when it was released in 1988, however has developed a cult following. This film was directed by first time director, Stan Winston, who was previously a special effects artist on such films as Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Aliens. I believe this film is overshadowed by such films as Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. I had never heard of 'Pumpkinhead' before watching it, but I actually really enjoyed this film. It is a wonder why this film does not fall into the horror movie classics..


My biggest compliment on this movie is the special effects. The monster of 'Pumpkinhead' looks amazing! It makes sense upon learning that the director was previously a special effects artist to why Pumpkinhead looks so good. This was back in a time when directors did not rely on CGI to create their vision. These guys had to create what they wanted using practical effects. When they have a drive and desire to create what they want to, the finishing project is amazing! Look at Jaws for instance. The shark in the movie looks great because Spielberg had a drive to create this killer shark and he couldn't rely on special effects. He ended up creating the greatest shark movie ever. It looks better than most CGI created sharks today. Same goes for this movie, the special effects just look great. It creates a genuinely scary monster.

Lance Henriksen also gives a great performance as the grieving father who summons Pumpkinhead. He gives a heartfelt performance in a horror filled movie. I am not a father, but I could not fathom what it feels like to lose a child. What lengths would you go to avenge his death? In a heat of anger, he summons Pumpkinhead and learns how much evil comes with it. I really enjoyed this performance in a movie full of people running around screaming.

I also liked the theme of pain and loss within the movie. In life, we cannot solve our problems by summoning a demon, however we do irrational things in the heat of anger. Sometimes we want to go back on them. So, the themes in this movie were really interesting because as they are not realistic, we can relate to the character of the father.

This movie was genuinely scary because of the monster. It creates for a good B-horror movie to watch just for fun. It is not boring, and is quite enjoyable.


The only problem I have with this movie is how familiar it felt. There is the monster out to kill a group of young adults. There is a lot of screaming people running around like their a bunch of idiots. As this is not the worst movie when it comes to these elements, they are still there. The movie is still very much full of horror movie cliches.

Although this movie does feel very familiar when it comes to a horror movie, especially from back in the 80s, it is still a great movie.

Final Thoughts:

In the end, this movie is a great watch. It has everything needed to make a great horror movie. It is different from movies back around this time because it is not a slasher flick. It is a unique, practical monster that brings a good creepy atmosphere. As a first time director, Winston delivered a very enjoyable horror film. It feels like a scary fairy tail movie about loss and revenge. Although it does fall under the stereotypical horror movie, it has some unique qualities that makes for a scary good time!

Horror movies from the 80s are some of the best because they use practical effects and are mostly very original. They deliver real scares and do not always rely on fake jump scares. If you have not seen this movie, but enjoy the classics from this time period, you will most likely enjoy 'Pumpkinhead' as well.

4 stars for 'Pumpkinhead'

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