I hadn't expected the plot summary to be as it was. I just assumed Pumpkinhead was an evil monster with a pumpkin for a head who liked killing people and maybe on Halloween, sure why not? Pumpkinhead however, is a hellish beast that comes to life when awakened by an evil hag for the purpose of acting out other's revenge. Case in point, Ed Harley whose son is killed in a dirt bike accident by some teenagers. Desperate, he turns to the witch who awakens Pumpkinhead. Pumpkinhead wastes no time and starts killing the kids in no time flat. Ed, horrified at what he's done, sets off to put an end to the beast.
While watching Pumpkinhead this evening something quite unpleasant began to happen. I realized that I didn't want to see all those kids die because I didn't feel that they had done anything truly wrong. I felt like I was being forced to watch videos of...puppies dying. Except for the brother who actually was a dick--everyone else was kind hearted and capable of making the right decision. Suddenly they are killed rather quickly and in a terrible order I might add (Really? The nice brother is the first to go?)--and we start feeling very.....unsettled. Perhaps it's just me and my sensitivity, but I had a real problem with the fact that they weren't even given a chance.
You might be thinking, well yeah but isn't that how all horror movies work? Aren't the "teenagers" just being killed for no good reason? Yes. But how many of those teenagers perform outwardly benevolent acts before the killings? Typically we get teenagers who throw raucous parties, do drugs, drink beer and have sex while a child is drowning in the lake. Here, we get teenagers who stick up for the cute little hick with glasses, and try to save his life WHICH I might add, they probably COULD have done had Hickville USA had a working telephone nearby. But If you go over their actions prior to the accident, you find that they made the best judgment call available to them. They couldn't move the kid, didn't know where help was and left to find a phone--but left someone there with him. What would you have done?
Yes I suppose it all fits into the larger scheme of things in that revenge taken in the moment of loss is a bad idea and that the child was also killed for no apparent reason other than the fact that he was just too darn cute. But STILL. I really felt like I was watching a rated G version of Cannibal Holocaust. It just felt unpleasant to me. I like to see people get killed because they deserve it and this just felt all wrong to me. I'm sure it's very much intentional, and that the film from the get go is full of unpleasantness but there's still something oddly wrong about it.
It does however make me think about how back then, it was much more likely to have a group of teenagers that you did like. Nowadays it's pretty common to have an entire cast of teenagers that are worthless scum. But back then they were who we rooted for. Isn't it sad how times have changed?
If this film had to be remade which I don't think is a necessarily horrible idea, I would have to demand that they remedy the situation. Make the teenagers actually do something questionable. Having only the dick head brother do the unthinkable is interesting but the problem is that the other teenagers remain behind and do try to help. Sure, maybe Ed's eventual awakening about how wrong what he is doing is would be less obvious---but it's still possible! Make him flashback to how he felt as a little boy and seeing Pumpkinhead through his window. Make him realize that people do make mistakes. I feel like he still never even realizes that the kids did nothing wrong and that bothers me. I'm also continually bothered that we know nothing about Ed. Was he even the kid in the beginning? Who knows? What happened to him in his life? His wife died? Weird! It's all very glossed over.
I'm not saying that Pumpkinhead is a bad movie by the way. I quite enjoyed it, maybe even a little more than I thought I should. But I liked the idea of it and Pumpkinhead's face but not the unpleasantness of the situation. I loved that things were so apparently cliched and stereotyped. Dirty dirty hick kids, hags who really look like hags!
I loved how Pumpkinhead could easily pass for an alien
and how at first he was kind of cute.
Bleck! He fooled us all!
Even some of the kills were pretty accomplishing
but unfortunately, I was still upset over "the incident". There are a lot of flaws in the film but that I think may be the worst. There's also the burning question of how that accident could have possibly killed him. And also--why does he suddenly turn into a horrible looking doll?
Was he really too heavy for Lance to carry? While we're on the subject of questions, if there are only like 3 houses in the entire town. Why would the witch's house go unnoticed for so long? And could that hag be any uglier?
Oooh Pumpkinhead, you're a semi decent film but I'm just too damn perturbed at the decision to make these kids likable! You may have been trying to do something provocative but it just came off as messy and yucky.