Movie Review: Pumpkinhead (1988)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1988 supernatural thriller starring Lance Henriksen and Jeff East.

Synopsis: The owner of a small town general store seeks revenge on a group of teenage campers after one of them accidentally kills his son while riding a dirt bike. With the help of a local witch, he resurrects the demon Pumpkinhead and, despite his immediate regret for doing so, the creature begins to hunt down and kill the campers.


This is a movie I remember seeing at video stores when I was younger but, for some reason, i never actually got around to watching it. I was able to finally do just that earlier this week and, after finally seeing the movie, I have to say I was kind of disappointed by it.

The premise of the film isn't a bad one. In fact, I kind of like the idea of a demon that can be summoned to dish out revenge for a serious wrong. The fact the store owner's (Henriksen) son died as the result of a tragic accident rather than intentional act was also a nice touch because Pumpkinhead's (Tom Woodruff Jr.) weren't really bad people and, as a result of that, I did find I cheered for them more than I would have if they had actually deserved it.

And, to be fair, Pumpkinhead himself was a little creepy. I wouldn't really describe him as the scariest thing I've seen in movies. But, I wouldn't want to run into a real-life version of him either.

I had two major problems with this movie. The first was the film took a very long time to get going and almost half of the movie was Henriksen's character moping around before going through a drawn-out series of events to resurrect Pumpkinhead. Once the creature was resurrected, it did get a little more exciting but I would have preferred to see the action happening a lot sooner.

Not helping the movie's cause was the fact it really doesn't explain that much about Pumpkinhead's origins. We get some clues and brief explanations but this was the type of character that deserved much more of a backstory.

Another thing I didn't like about this movie is it did prove to be much more predictable than I was expecting. As I've said numerous times before, predictable movies aren't scary and there wasn't much about this film I haven't seen before.

Final Opinion

To be fair, when this movie first came out, it might have seemed much scarier than it does today. Unfortunately, while there are some things that I did like about this film, there wasn't anything overly special about it.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 01/14/2016, StevenHelmer
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