I've always been a horror film fan from early on. I grew up on the classics, staying up late at night and watching monster movies on the Cleveland stations all in glorious black and white. While most kids have no idea who Karloff, Lugosi or Chaney Jr. are, for me they were the monsters of my childhood. Knowing that and remembering what a great time I had with them, I'm always excited to hear that a new monster is on the horizon. Unfortunately of late that has meant slashers and stalkers rather than monsters. Wouldn't you know one of the last great monster to come along happened in 1988. The good news is that the movie that introduced this new monster is now available on blu-ray from Shout Factory.
PUMPKINHEAD offers a new creation rather than relying on something old. If you've never seen the movie then this blu-ray edition is by far the best way to introduce yourself. Not only will you get a beautiful copy of the movie itself but it offers some killer extras that fans and non-fans alike will love and appreciate. These include a new tribute to monster creator and the director of this movie, Stan Winston; interviews with the producer and several actors; PUMPKINHEAD-UNEARTHED, a documentary on the making of the movie; a featurette about the toyline that featured the creature and more.
The story itself begins in 1957 in a backwoods area where a young Ed Harley witnesses the wrath of the legend known as Pumpkinhead, a creature called forth to exact revenge on an individual or group at the bequest of someone wronged. Years later Ed (Lance Henriksen) is grown up and living with his young son, running the local general store. An accident involving a group of young people and their motocross bikes leaves Ed's son dead and Ed determined to have his revenge.
Ed finds his way to the creepy old lady of the hills and pays what she asks to help him fulfill this wish. She warns him that the cost is deep but blinded by grief he agrees. It isn't long before the creature of vengeance is unleashed upon the earth and the group of youngsters hiding in their cabin is not safe behind closed doors. Before the end of the night Ed will have to decide if the price for his revenge is worth it. Can he decide before each of the victims is claimed by Pumpkinhead?
That might not sound terrifying but in reality this creature is fantastic. Director and special effects genius Stan Winston used practical effects to create this creature and the effort pays off hugely. It appears to be a real live creature. Keep in mind in 1988 the age of CGI monsters was not around yet. When you look at this monster it is indeed scary to look at and one that you hope never comes knocking.
The whole movie has an eerie vibe to it that seeps through each and every frame. It's not just the monster that is scary but the havoc that it unleashes as well. Not only that but the effect it all has on Ed as it begins to fulfill his wishes makes for some creepy moments as well. Rarely has a new monster been created that could cause nightmares but this time they've done it and done it well.
To say that Shout/Scream Factory has outdone themselves again is beginning to become redundant in my reviews of the product they've released. They truly get that fans want to see these great horror films in blu-ray format but not cleansed so much they don't remain faithful to the original print. Not only that, they take these movies and add to them extras that show they truly appreciate these movies rather than just toss them out there with nothing special. They've done an amazing job on this release and it only makes us, the fans, look forward to what comes next. If you love this movie buy it immediately. If you like it, buy it and learn to love it. This is a great new release and one that deserves space on your shelf.