“What’d you do, daddy?”
Story: a group of twenty-somethings head to nowheresville to get some dirt biking in. But when an accident has tragic consequences, they find themselves a target of vengeance. Demonic, monster-shaped vengeance.
Scares: lots of great creep, and a few requisite jump scares.
Splat factor: Some, but kills are mostly shown in the dark. Plenty of blood though.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope. But pay attention to the final scene. You don’t want that small morsel to pass you buy. Grab that next beer when the end credits start.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: first of the Pumpkinhead series.
Trick or Treat?: it gets to the point where, after seven years of doing this yearly countdown, I sometimes forget what I’ve covered. Especially if it’s a movie I like, and/or one that’s pretty popular. This one’s both. So let’s get started!
Henrickson is amazing – and hella RIPPED – as distraught father (and vengeance seeker) Ed. As PH kills, Ed sees each attack, and is physically affected, as if the energy needed to carry out Ed’s vengeance comes directly from Ed himself. Henrickson’s physicality and heartfelt performance is what pulls this up above most one-by-one slasher films.
The only thing I don’t like about this story is Joel, the Big Bad guy in the group of GenX slasher fodder. His change of heart when people start dying is a strange shift from the grade-A jackass he’s been up until then. Suddenly he’s tearful and willing to sacrifice himself. But that only happens once, and then he’s back to the jerk he was before. This character’s decidedly uncharacteristic shift feels like a dangling thread from an earlier script. Luckily, his death – it’s an 80s horror movie so you know the jerk character is gonna die – is very satisfying.
Otherwise? Pumpkinhead is dark fantasy/horror done right. Right up there with Friday the 13th and Halloween in terms of effective chills. And as with those classics, there are a few story hiccups here and there. But all in all it’s one hell of a horror movie.
Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.