|Hold that boy Lance!|
Even for the slew of no name actors that took part in the film give believable performances. When the city kids realize they hit Billy, the nervousness and tension feels real between all of them. Also what's cool is that Jeff East, the actor who played Young Clark Kent in Richard Donner's Superman (1978) is in here too. Lance Henriksen no doubt puts in a good performance as the emotional father who grieves over the only thing that meant something to him. Perhaps what gave this film an interesting edge is that the location isn't the normal setting. The story takes place on rural landscape. Nothing feels cleanly - yeah sure the setting wasn't clean in Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) either, but it was only in certain places. Here, everywhere feels dirty, inside and out. It's a different feel that most horror films don't have anymore.
This pretty much goes hand-in-hand with set decorator Kurt Gauger's work, which gives the backgrounds a very dusty rural feel. Helping that feeling come around full circle is Richard Stone's score to the film. He doesn't create a main theme, but his incorporation of instruments that sound like they belong on a farm match the setting and images with ease. He even includes some emotional tunes. However, his ability to help bring out the horror elements to the film is underdeveloped. Thankfully, Pumpkinhead himself looks like a force that shouldn't be messed with - especially for 1988. When the cicadas sound, you know he's around. Although according to sources, that Stan Winston didn't have any time to inject his input into the concept, the design of Pumpkinhead is somewhat of a knock off.
|Ok maybe not totally the same as Alien (1979)|
but there are noticeable similarities
Even with creature effects master, Stan Winston directing, Pumpkinhead rarely scares. That's not to say it isn't entertaining though. The performances are believable, the sets feel real and the creature itself is presented professionally.
Points Earned --> 6:10