After his son dies in a hit-and-run accident, Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) seeks revenge against the teenagers responsible. With the help of a local witch (Florence Schauffler), Ed summons the vengeful demon Pumpkinhead to hunt and kill the group of friends. But when Ed discovers a bond between himself and the creature, he begins to have second thoughts about employing the vicious monster, and he fights to end Pumpkinhead’s murderous rampage before it is too late.
Pumpkinhead was the directorial debut of special makeup effects wizard Stan Winston, who also created the creature for the film. The film was a modest success when it was released into theaters in 1988. The film spawned three sequels, a comic book series, and a lot of merchandise.
Lance Henriksen in the lead role of Ed Harley is really why the movie works as good as it does, aside from the creature itself. His presence in almost any film elevates it above the competition. The remainder of the cast is passable as well, including Jeff East, John D’Aquino, Kimberly Ross, Joel Hoffman, Cynthia Bain, Kerry Remsen, Florence Schauffler, and George ‘Buck’ Flower.
For me, Pumpkinhead is one of the most iconic and original creature features created in the past 50 years. Pumpkinhead himself is definitely a worthy addition to the pantheon of the greatest monster movies ever made.