The extensive trench of 80’s horror films and creature features is a slippery slope one can find themselves on, looking for new thrills once the ‘famous’ monsters have had their day on your screen. One of the beasts that just couldn’t breakthrough the finish line tape of ‘mainstream success’ was 1988’s Pumpkinhead, a disgusting ghoul with a cool design, amazing practical effects, and hammy story that ultimately bogs it down just a little too much for it to appeal to anyone other than diehard cultists of the genre. Perhaps that’s why, of all the dumb remakes and reboots we’ve seen over the years of horror movies that simply did not need them, Pumpkinhead may be worth giving a shot—which is exactly what’s happening.
Pumpkinhead’s original flick was directed by Stan Winston, a legend of the movie effects industry who did the make up and/or special effects for films like John Carpenter’s The Thing, Aliens, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Predator, Iron Man, Batman Returns… the list goes on. In fact, so prolific was his special effects work, that his work was even in films posthumously (he passed in 2008), like Avatar and Shutter Island. So, yes, Pumpkinhead’s effects were top-notch, given the director’s FX pedigree; this is probably the largest appeal of the original flick.
Peter Block, producer of films such as SAW, Crank, and Repo! The Genetic Opera now has the rights to the character, and in an interview with EW.com, reveals that he couldn’t be more excited to bring the character back to life.
“Pumpkinhead is one of my favorite horror films of the late ’80s, early ’90s,” says Block whose credits also include producing John Carpenter’s 2010 film The Ward. “Stan Winston sits on that Mount Rushmore of iconic filmmakers because of his creature designs, and that was his first directing effort. The creature’s great but the emotional story is wonderful as well. I got the rights to Pumpkinhead, and hooked up with a great young writer called Nate Atkins, and we developed our script, which is really solid.”
And if you’re worried about whether they’ll use practical effects, or tarnish the majesty of the original gross, fleshy monster by using cheap CGI (which was unfortunately to 2011’s rendition of The Thing), you can sigh a breath of relief: Peter is on your side.
“I am a big proponent of practical effects. That was the great thing about the original. A lot of the films I still respond to most today, it’s because of the practical effects. We think that it’s going to be a nice slow reveal, lots of scares and lots of action in the beginning, and a great creature in the end, which everybody should be able to look at and say, ‘Oh, that’s Pumpkinhead!’ It’s not like you’re all of a sudden going to find that it’s some amorphous, nebulous, CGI wispy thing. You’re going to know it came from the Pumpkinhead family lineage.”
It’s reassuring to know that Peter understands the appeal of 80’s monsters and isn’t looking to re-invent the wheel; he is looking to start shooting the new film (also to be called Pumpkinhead) soon. If you’re unfamiliar with the character and would like to check it out, the original film is available from SHOUT! Factory.