Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MOVIES YOU WATCH BECAUSE OF WHO'S IN THEM






Pumpkinhead (1988)

Okay, okay this was a lame movie with a neato monster (NO CGI!) no matter how you look at it. It was a horror/creature feature that I ended up seeing backward. By that I mean that I'd seen all the sequels and never had seen the original. Why? Lance Henriksen. Of course in each of the sequels (not recommended by the way, they were all basically the same movie) Lance's character Ed Harley appears for just a few minutes 'cause, well, he's dead. Why? I never saw the original so I didn't know - until now.

Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you're tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He's mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you're undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It's when you think that he's forgot,
He'll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won't protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.

In other words, you have a poem that's scarier and more exciting than the whole movie. In this movie you have your backwoods families, your teenagers you want dead as soon as you see them, and for a bonus a huge misshapen nightmare figure bent on vengeance - to whomever is willing to pay the price.

Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) is portrayed as one of those backwoods persons with a better education than the rest. Despite the loss of his wife he enjoys his life with his young son, a happy kid with coke-bottomed glasses whom Ed obvious loves to pieces. He runs a small general store that's probably the only store for miles. One sunny day a bunch of teenagers you hate immediately show up with some dirt bikes with the obvious intent of being loud and obnoxious as much as they want.

They stop for supplies at Ed's store, making fun of the boy for his glasses which doesn't set right with Ed but he lets it go. One of his customers wanted feed which Ed had left at the house so he asked his son to mind the store while he goes to get the feed. A couple of the boys, not being able to wait to terrorize the locals, take off on their bikes. 

The noise and the shiny toys attract Ed's son into going outside to watch them. He gets a little too close, the teenagers a little too reckless. Riding over a hill they see too late the little boy standing there to watch. Both lay their bikes down but not before the second bike runs the young boy over. One boy stays with him, the others run away. When Ed comes back he tries to explain but only gets the look of death from Ed as he scoops his son up and drives away. The young boy is dead.

The one who hit the kid is no stranger to this situation. Not only has he been busted for drunk driving but he's hit somebody before too. So he intimidates and even imprisons his 'friends' to keep them from calling for help. He's determined no one will rat him out or he's finished. Rich and rotten. Typical horror teen behavior. Duh.

Ed has lost the only thing he's stayed alive for. He thinks there's a witch woman that could give him his son back. After asking a family in the hills they turn him away, but one boy quickly tells him where to find her. She can't bring back the dead of course, but she can give him vengeance. Now anyone with half a brain would stop at this point and run but hey, that would end the movie, right?

She tells Ed the story of Pumpkinhead, warning him that vengeance comes with a price. DUH. Ed has nothing left so he goes out to the pumpkin graveyard (The what what WHAT?) and digs up a shriveled malformed figure. After the old woman does her mumbo jumbo the figure grows. It was nine feet high and six feet wide, soft as a downy chick, it was made from the feathers of forty 'leven geese, took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick... whoops, sorry.

Actually this creation was a first for Stan Winston and wasn't half bad for a, well, a Pumpkinhead. No Charlie Brown jokes please. He's got a huge head and the body and limbs kind of resembled roots in a way, although since most of this happens at night it's kind of hard to see. And off it goes to clean up the scum that Ed wants wiped off the face of the Earth. Heavy handed and obvious but hey, that's the movie.

Which means get ready to watch the teenagers die one by one horribly or, as the movie puts it, they get 'kilt'. And each dead kid means our movie is closer to ending. Oh, and also every kid killed makes Ed and the monster kind of meld together, as Ed experiences each death himself. Feeling bad about the kids (Why exactly?) Ed asks the witch to stop it but she tells him not only can it not be stopped, but he himself will die if he tries.

One smart girl (there's always one) and a local boy try to stop Pumpkinhead. Unfortunately there's really nothing they can do. The local boy dies too and the girl notices that Ed's face is looking more and more like the monster's head. Ed notices this too, finally knows what he has to do when he accidentally impales his shoulder on a pitchfork and Pumpkinhead feels the same pain. He shoots himself in the head. The girl almost gets away but Ed isn't totally dead - he attacks her and she shoots him several times. Finally both he and Pumpkinhead fall dead - the latter bursts into flames just because.


Our last scene is the witch re-burying Pumpkinhead in the same patch he came from. It is wearing a necklace - the necklace that Ed's son had made him, leading us to believe that the two kind of melded. Which is probably why he shows up, even if briefly, to repeat this story for each sequel.