Pumpkinhead ★★★★

Pumpkinhead is the directorial debut of the late FX-guru Stan Winston, setting the precedent for other FX-artists to follow suit, with Tom Savini firmly placing himself in the director's chair on the remake of Night of the Living Dead in 1990 (although, Savini did have a bit more experience directing as he did a few television episodes of Tales from the Darkside before NOTLD '90, which was his feature film).

Both films set themselves apart in the fact that everything else in the film takes a backseat to the love and care applied to the special effects.

Besides the obviously amazing creature effects (one of the most arresting scenes had the vengeance demon perched at the top of a tree), the best thing about Pumpkinhead is undoubtedly Lance Henriksen. There's a scene with his adorable on-screen son, where he helps him wash his hands, and he shares a story about his grandmother doing the same for him, the thin, old skin on her hands bringing him comfort, it was a lovely moment and I wasn't surprised to learn that it's an actual memory Lance had of his grandmother who emigrated from Norway.

There's this bit of Pumpkinhead that I always [maybe purposefully?] forget about and it has everything to do with the over-the-top shanty town in the mountains full of filthy kids clad in potato sacks recovered from the dust bowl in the 19fucking30s, one of those kids being Sharon from My So-Called Life and the other, in a more significant role is Brian Bremer, who was so familiar and driving me nuts the entire time (it's because I recently re-watched Society and he has a supporting role).

"Keep away from pumpkinhead, unless you're tired of livin'."

Besides the hillbilly caricatures, the only other issue I have with the movie is Richard Stone's score but that's really just a matter of taste and not enjoying new age sounds accompanied by harmonicas, fiddles and I dunno, synthesizers?

The main antagonist (besides the vengeance demon) is absolutely loathsome from the first time we meet his character, when he makes fun of Harley's son's glasses until he starts assaulting his friends in a desperate attempt at self-preservation, in hopes to cover up the fact he's crashed into people on a few occasions while drunk. His on-screen demise is almost rather underwhelming in comparison to the others, which is more of an observation than a complaint. At least he made a pretty great case for justifiable hillbilly dark magic pumpkin patch vengeance demons.

I look forward to checking out all of the special features on the blu-ray, and maybe even re-watching Pumpkinhead with the commentary.

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