Brian W. Collins over at HorrorMovieADay.com recently tweeted that Pumpkinhead was no longer on his list of films he could handle now that he’s a father. When I was a young buck viewing horror films, I never was bothered by the plight of children. (I know, I was a monster!) When I sat down to watch this new Shout Factory release, like Brian I too became “that dad”. (I know, I’m a total wussie!) Boy, the first fifteen minutes of this film are really tough to watch if you have a kid. They should be tough regardless, but it does tug at you when you put yourself in the story’s shoes. Which is why I think this film stands out from the typical slasher 80s horror flick. At the heart of Pumpkinhead is real story with characters you care about.
I didn’t remember much of the film, probably having seen it on cable back in the late 80s. All I do remember frankly, was… the Pumpkinhead. Upon this latest viewing, I realize the story is much richer and emotional than I remember. Directed by the late and amazing Stan Winston, the film tells the story of a father (Lance Henriksen) who avenges the death his only son by summoning the titular character to hunt down those responsible. However, this act comes with wretched consequences. I don’t want to spoil the film for those who have not seen it, but it’s worthy viewing for any monster movie fan. Also, can you ever, ever, ever go wrong with Lance Henriksen? I don’t think so. And neither do you.
I’ve decided that each of my Shout Factory reviews should simply start, “if you are a fan of (blank) movie, then just go ahead and get this Blu-ray release because it’s awesome.” Seriously. I really want them to send me something that is half assed just so I can actually critique it. Well, no such luck with this release. It’s gorgeous and it looks better than any version I’ve ever had the chance to pass in viewing while flipping around. Again, I’m not a Pumpkinhead aficionado to know for sure if this is the “ultimate, robust, every scene ever” version with the perfect color timing from the first Laserdisc release. I will say it looks great and retains the gritty quality along with the beautiful photography.
A generous heap of features are piled into this Blu-ray : a tribute to Stan Winston, interviews with the co-writer, some super cool shot on video behind the scenes stuff, audio commentary – a harvest bounty of goodies for the Pumpkinhead enthusiast. And for the first time viewer, you’ll get the full experience after you’ve watched the film. I wasn’t sure if anything was material repurposed from old releases, but it’s nice to have everything in one place.
The Shout Factory release of Pumpkinhead is available Tuesday, September 9. The autumnal vibe of the movie is a great way to start your Halloween season, so order it here! (Note to moms and dads: you’ve been warned.)