Adamantium Bullet

31 Days Of Horror: PUMPKINHEAD

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss the dark 1988 horror fantasy PUMPKINHEAD starring Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D'Aquino, and, in her screen debut, Mayim Bialik.

When a group of rambunctious teenagers inadvertently kill his only son, Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) seeks the magic of a backwoods witch to bring the child back. But when she tells him the child's death is irrevocable, his grief develops into an all-consuming desire ...for revenge! Defying superstition, he and the witch invoke ‘Pumpkinhead’, a monstrously clawed and fanged demon which, once reborn, answers only to Ed's bloodlust. But as the invincible creature wreaks its slow, unspeakable tortures on the teens responsible, Ed confronts a horrifying secret about his connection to the beast and realizes that he must find a way to stop its deadly mission before he becomes one with it forever!

Eight, but it could be seven considering Pumpkinhead never really dies. Don’t believe me? See PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS, PUMPKINHEAD: ASHES TO ASHES, and PUMPKINHEAD: BLOOD FEUD for proof.

Pumpkinhead impaling Joel (John D'Aquino) with a rifle was deeply satisfying seeing as that guy was the worst. Seriously, in the pantheon of all-timer annoying a-hole horror movie characters, Joel easily ranks in the top twenty. We’d have been perfectly had Old Pumpkinhead done worse to him, but we’re okay with what he did.

Ed (Lance Henriksen) goes shirtless and shows off his sweet sweaty abs.

It’s a toss-up between the birth/resurrection of Pumpkinhead and the death of Billy (Matthew Hurley). The birth/resurrection is great because it’s just a supremely creepy horror movie moment that’ll stick with you long after the specifics of this film have faded away. The death of Billy, on the other hand, is great not because it’s great, but because most of the audience can probably understand why Ed does what he does. A dead kid would, most likely, drive anyone to summon an unstoppable hell-beast to exact bloody vengeance. Ed’s reason for revenge is rock solid. So it’s either the birth/resurrection or Billy’s death. Your pick.

Ed leaves Billy, who is probably six or seven years old, alone at his general store. Yes, we get that Ed lives just up the road and was only gone for a few minutes. Yes, we understand that Ed lives in the middle of nowhere and whole lot of nothing tends to happen in the middle of nowhere. And yes, yes, yes, we understand that the group of young adults that Ed leaves the kid with seemed okay to him and that should’ve been enough for …nope. Can’t finish that last sentence. Ed leaves his kid at his store with a bunch of people he doesn’t know. This might’ve been okay had it been a bunch of townsfolk he’d known for years, but they weren’t, and it wasn’t okay. They were strangers. They were strangers that left his kid for dead after accidentally running him over. Oh sure, one guy stuck around, but the rest fled. Left little Billy bleeding in the dirt. Ed is to blame here. He should’ve been paying more attention that kid.

Speaking of blame, Ed doesn’t bring Billy to the hospital after the accident. The little guy ain’t quite dead when Ed finds out what happened. He’s still mumbling and moving a little. There’s life there. Ed might’ve been able to save him had he just brought him to the hospital, or, alternately, the script provided an explanation that maybe there wasn’t one nearby. Suffice to say, there was no hospital, and the kid was brought home to die, leaving the audience wondering “WTF?!?”

> Lance Henriksen gathered all of the silver dollars himself by visiting several pawn shops. He said that most of them fell through the floorboards of Haggis' shack, where they may still lie.

> Lance Henriksen had a set of dentures made to give him a more rural look. He also gathered all of his own props and wardrobe, including a WWII pump-action shotgun, his cap worn throughout the film and the silver dollars which he gives to Haggis.

> The one scene that made Lance Henriksen most want to take the role was where the deceased Billy sits up and asks his father what he's done.

> Film debut of Mayim Bialik.

> This film, orphaned by the bankruptcy of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, eventually garnered a spotty release when acquired by United Artists, which tested the film under the alternate title VENGEANCE: THE DEMON.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was sourced from IMDB.

Posted by AngieBee

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