--Reviewed by Lindy Loo
Plotline: Out in the backwoods area of some southern state, a man named Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) is living and running a local grocer's with his son. A group of teens with dirt bikes shows up at his store to buy liquor to take with them to a cabin they're spending the week in. When Harley steps out, his son is accidentally struck and killed by one of the kids on his dirt bike. Harley tracks down the crazy local witch-woman and conjures up the local demon (Pumpkinhead) to strike vengeance upon them. Madness ensues. Once Harley decides that vengeance was not the right choice, he attempts to battle the demon himself. More madness ensues.
Scariness factor: Thankfully, it was at least somewhat creepier than Exorcist: The Beginning. It has its moments of atmospheric creepiness, but as a general rule it's not TERRIBLY scary. However, Pumpkinhead is a pretty sweet masterpiece of special effects and makeup, lemme tell you.
Originality: Folks back from the dead to avenge a death or called up from the dead to avenge a death or just avenging a death to avenge a death are not all THAT original. But Pumpkinhead is pretty creepy (it looks like a softer, slightly more cuddly version of the alien in Alien):
Complaints: The movie is terribly 80's of course. But not noxiously so if you go into it with that in mind. The pacing is a bit slow, and the deaths and the moments leading up to them aren't terribly shocking or scary or jump-inducing. That was a bit of a bummer, but the creature and the feel of the movie aren't too bad.
High Points: Definitely Pumpkinhead. This is what I'm saying about why horror flicks should toss aside all this fancy shmancy CGI crap and go back to their roots. Pumpkinhead is about as far from CGI as you can get (it is clearly a dude in some bad-ass rubbery garb) but he is creepy as piss and BELIEVABLE for that reason. Had he been a CGI "miracle," the movie would've been crap. Another added perk of the movie is Lance Henriksen--a good actor in what could turn out to be a potentially lame B-horror movie always adds some stability and believability to it. Oh, and when local po' folk drop by you'll get a sneak peak of a very young Blossom and that chick from My So-Called Life--this is one of my favorite things about watching 80's horror movies: there're always a ton of weird actors and actresses that pop up.
Overall: It was a nice spooky romp for an evening filled with thunderstorms and a fiercely yellow sky. And the slight moral twist at the end and Harley's redemption was actually a rather clever ending, in my opinionation. Don't be discouraged by the title which is about as lame as naming a horror movie Leprechaun--if you check it out, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Labels: B movies