Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pumpkinhead (1988)- Scream Factory Blu-Ray SE

  Historically speaking, the death of children in film has been frowned upon. However, such is the set up for one of the more memorable creature films of all time.

Lance Henriksen plays 'Ed Harley', who appears to be a dirt farmer in the middle of indistinct Appalachia. His young son happens upon a group of stereotypical "you ain't from around here" teens who decide to ride dirt bikes for leisure. When one of the bikers recklessly hits and kills the boy, Harley can only try to revive him in vain. As it happens, these parts are home to a witch named Haggis who can summon a vengeance demon. Harley visits her in one of the more memorable scenes in the film, as she forewarns him about the consequences of summoning the unstoppable force of Pumpkinhead. Once the demon has been conjured, Harley realizes that he has made a mistake and attempts to put the creature to rest, but evil never dies!!!

'Pumpkinhead' is a film that truly centers around the design of the title character, and this is understandable since the film features master FX artist Stan Winston in his directorial debut. Henriksen is noticeably better than any other actor in the film by a mile, with a brief appearance by the actress playing Haggis as the only other standout. The film is low budget by today's standards, and it takes place in a relatively few places which makes it seem somewhat smaller than other horror films of it's time. In some places, the minimalism of the film works in it's favor to create a more suspenseful and confined atmosphere for the creature to lurk within.

Overall, Scream Factory's new Blu-ray of the film looks better than any version to date- especially considering the bare bones MGM DVD of the film was the woeful edition before this one. Nestled amongst the film is a vast new supply of special features that were absent from any other editions, including:

  • New “Remembering the Monster Kid: A Tribute to Stan Winston” featurette, featuring new interviews with actors Lance Henriksen and Brian Bremer and special FX artists Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and Shannon Shea
  •  New interviews with producer Richard Weinman and actors John D’Aquino and Matthew Hurley
  •  Audio commentary by co-screenwriter Gary Gerani and creature/FX creators Woodruff and Gillis
  • “PUMPKINHEAD Unearthed” (now in HD), a documentary on the making of PUMPKINHEAD featuring “Evolution of a Demon,” “The Cursed and the Damned,” “The Tortured Soul of Ed Harley,” “Constructing Vengeance” and “Razorback Holler”
  •  Featurette: Demonic Toys
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Still gallery
  • Theatrical trailer

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