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Pumpkinhead: Collector's Edition (1988) - Blu-ray Review

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Pumpkinhead - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

What a sad, sad story of one man’s tragic revenge.  Another viewing of Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead, newly remastered and released from Scream Factory, confirms this for me.  This cult classic and its following seems to get more reputable every single year that passes and for good reason; there is not a lot inherently wrong with this movie.  Shake it down to the foundations and still Pumpkinhead stands tall atop the mountain of gore. 

Starring Lance Henriksen, Jeff East and John D’Aquino, this is the tale of a father mourning the sudden killing of his young son.  Henriksen plays Ed Harley, a soft-spoken and protective shop owner in the country, and Ed, as he battles through the woeful grief he feels once his young son is accidentally killed by a group of snot-nosed teenagers, has a secret weapon.  He knows of an ancient ritual that may help him through his grief.

The witch (Florence Schauffer) he seeks out warns him of the powers he is meddling with.  Ed won’t listen.  He is blinded by his hate and grief and loss.  Unfortunately, his vengeance will come at a terrible price once Pumpkinhead (Tom Woodruff, Jr.), the eight-foot tall demon, climbs out from the earth to follow Ed’s orders.  The fine line reads that Pumpkinhead cannot be stopped unless the one who summons him is silenced forever. 

Directed by Stan Winston, Pumpkinhead is a seriously great morality tale that is rich in setting and mood.  Winston may allow for some camp to bleed through from time to time in some of the performances but that just adds to the overall feel of the 1980s production.  It certainly doesn’t detract from its charm.  There is a knowing guide behind this production that knows enough about human beings to psychologically stir them. 

Pumpkinhead, inspired by Ed Justin’s poem of the same name, has a wicked design.  While the demon never gets the credit he deserves as a monster killer of typical slasher-genre proportions, the pronounced look to the overall design is sweet.  Winston and his team apparently used unused design ideas from Predator and gave the monster something of a facelift. 

Both terrifying and tragic, the film is a conceptual gem and Scream Factory absolutely delivers in their handling of Winston’s film.  Try as you might, there’s no keeping away Pumpkinhead.

Pumpkinhead - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
86 mins
Director
: Stan Winston
Writer:
Mark Patrick Carducci and Gary Gerani
Cast:
Lance Henriksen, Jeff East, John D'Aquino
Genre
: Horror
Tagline: 
Cruel, devious, pure as venom. All hell's broken loose.
Memorable Movie Quote: "but I'm gonna send it back to whatever the Hell it come from!
Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 13, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 9, 2014
Synopsis: A man conjures up a gigantic vengeance demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy the teenagers who accidentally killed his son.

Pumpkinhead - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 9, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Locked to region A

Proudly released from Scream Factory, the newly minted transfer is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic ratio.  The high-resolution transfer brings out the beauty in the set design and in Stan Winston’s creature design.  Black levels are strong throughout.  Colors are a bit dull and autumn-like but that is more in keeping with the overall design of the film.  The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and 5.1. The 5.1 mix spreads out the sound so you hear more creaking.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Audio Commentary includes effects creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis along with co-screenwriter Gary Gerani.  Interestingly enough, the guys admit that some of Pumpkinhead’s creature effects were unused in Predator.

Special Features:

Once again, Scream Factory delivers the goods when it comes to providing exquisite supplemental material.   We get a tribute to Stan Winston, a look at the creature on location, the toy of Pumpkinhead, and a look at some of the script issues that plagued the shoot.  We also get two really nice interviews, a gallery of stills and promotional offers, and the theatrical trailer.

  • Behind the Scenes (7 min)
  • Demonic Toys (5 min)
  • Remembering the Monster Kid: A Tribute to Stan Winston (50 min)
  • Night of the Demon (17 min)
  • The Redemption of Joel (14 min)
  • The Boy with the Glasses (14 min)
  • Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

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