If you’re a somewhat seasoned horror fan you’re probably wondering “Why is the ‘80s horror classic ‘Pumpkinhead’ a Hidden Horror?” Well my seasoned horror fans the reason why is because though “Pumpkinhead” is well known and loved among the horror community it is quite unknown to the average movie goer, thus making it a “Hidden Horror.” Anyway…on with the review.
A group of city kids go into the country to relax. While there one of them is involved in a biking accident that takes the life of the son of the local storekeeper, played by genre vet Lance Henrikson. In a fit of rage the storekeeper has a witch unleash an unstoppable demon called “Pumpkinhead” to kill the group. When he realizes he’s gone too far the storekeeper attempts to save the kids but is continually afflicted by visions of peoples’ deaths through the eyes of the monster.
Yes the plot seems like it could be a fun little monster/demon movie but the film doesn’t play itself as “fun.” With a plot like that the director, the late special effects wizard Stan Winston, makes a very serious and stylistic horror film. Winston’s visual direction brings somewhat of a Universal Monsters feel with fog, shrouded woods and eerie blue lighting throughout. Yet the tone of the film, once the demon Pumpkinhead emerges to wreak vengeance, is quite harrowing and creepy with sadness and a disturbing nature underneath it all. If you want an ‘80s monster movie this Halloween season give Pumpkinhead a watch. You wont regret it.
-James J. Coker