Pumpkinhead (1988)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great creature

Underdeveloped story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pumpkinhead

Studio:  De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 14, 1988

MPAA Rating:  R


Great monster…so-so story

A dirt bike trip in the country leads to tragedy when the bikers accidentally drive down the son of Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen).  Racked with grief, Ed goes to an evil sorceress to help him get revenge by summoning a local demon called Pumpkinhead.  Now through Pumpkinhead, Ed is getting revenge, but he is quickly finding that revenge isn’t as satisfying as he believed it would be.

Directed by Stan Winston, Pumpkinhead is a monster horror movie which received limited theatrical release in 1988.  The movie fared poorly upon release, but since its release, it has gained a cult following.  The movie also features the film debut of Mayim Bialik as one of the children.


I’ve got a little case of pink eye…

Pumpkinhead is a bad film with a good premise and creature.  I can recall going to the video store and seeing the creepy beast on the cover of the VHS tape and just wanting to see the movie…the movie does hold up however as a fun little horror movie.

The story is a classic revenge tale.  The movie has that Southern Gothic feel with the horror of legend and mystery.  The movie builds a nice atmosphere with the idea that this is a spirit which has inhabited the area for years and locals know and fear it…but the movie devolves into a rather basic monster movie with teens running for their lives.

Lance Henriksen has made a career out of films like this.  He does play the role with a lot of heart and style.  The rest of the cast is rather forgetable and the teens really don’t distinguish themselves either.  The real heart of the film relies in the great monster played by Tom Woodruff Jr.


Smile…he’s is coming for you!

Pumpkinhead was created by Stan Winston and is a really fantastic monster that outclasses the movie that it is in.  The design is creepy and the filmmakers smartly shot it in the dark to prevent you from seeing any design weaknesses, but you have to love the creepy smile of the monster.

Pumpkinhead isn’t the best movie but it a memorable horror creature feature.  It is a sin, but I almost could see a remake of Pumpkinhead work with some script clean-up and a more developed atmosphere.  Pumpkinhead’s VHS popularity did eventually lead to a sequel, and Pumpkinhead II:  Bloodwings was released in 1993.

Related Links:

Pumpkinhead II:  Bloodwings (1993)

Pumpkinhead:  Ashes to Ashes (2006)

Pumpkinhead:  Blood Feud (2007)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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