Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Pumpkinhead (1988)

Pumpkinhead is a horror film that never really got its due.  I'm not sure that the property lends itself well to the notion of a series, so maybe it's not all that surprising that a pair of toothless sequels have probably hurt this curious monster movie's appeal.  Yet it has a fanbase; many genre aficionados treasure the fantastic creature effects c/o the legendary Stan Winston, who also directed the picture. Yes, Winston's direction wasn't quite on par with his effects wizardry, but that's not akin to saying that he mucked it up.  He did a good job as director and he was working with a nifty screenplay.  He was also given quite the assist in making a startling motion picture by his star, Lance Henriksen, who gives one of his best performances in Pumpkinhead.  Just in case there's someone reading this blog who isn't in the loop, let's tell it like it is: Lance Henriksen is awesome.  Saying that a movie features one of his best performances is a big deal coming from me.  I'm a huge fan of his work (I went to see Man's Best Friend on opening night and I quote Bishop almost as much as I quote Hicks or Hudson) and I truly appreciate the stellar job he did with this material.  I enjoy the gruesome story, but it is a bit predictable and the movie could have been rather forgettable in spite of the tremendous creature effects with a mundane performer at the wheel.  Lance elevates this one into a dark morality play that is frequently as dramatic as it is terrifying.  This fright flick is riveting from start to finish, and it doesn't waste a lot of time, packing a wealth of thrills and chills into a lean 86-minute runtime.  With Pumpkinhead, one of the best effects artists ever and one hell of an actor delivered a fierce creature feature with bite--and heart.

Final Grade: B

The effects are great, but Lance's performance is even better.

No comments:

Post a Comment