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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film Pumpkinhead was inspired by a poem by Ed Justin. When the producer heard it, he commissioned a script and hired special effects expert, Stan Winston, to make his theatrical debut as a director.
       Pumpkinhead represented the theatrical motion picture debuts of actors Cynthia Bain, Brian Bremer and Mayim Bialik.
       A 30 Oct 1987 WSJ estimated the film’s budget to be $4.8 million. Production notes report principal photography began 20 Apr 1987 in the Los Angeles, CA, area. Filming completed 9 Jun 1987.
       A news item in 13 Oct 1987 DV stated the film was set for a 23 Oct 1987 release in 600 theaters, but the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) pulled it back, stating it would be released in Jan 1988, possibly under a new name. A 15 Apr 1988 HR article reported that DEG ran into financial difficulties and sold distribution rights to MGM/UA along with Illegally Yours (1988, see entry) for $5 to $6 million. The article referred to the film by its alternate title, Vengeance: The Demon. ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the film Pumpkinhead was inspired by a poem by Ed Justin. When the producer heard it, he commissioned a script and hired special effects expert, Stan Winston, to make his theatrical debut as a director.
       Pumpkinhead represented the theatrical motion picture debuts of actors Cynthia Bain, Brian Bremer and Mayim Bialik.
       A 30 Oct 1987 WSJ estimated the film’s budget to be $4.8 million. Production notes report principal photography began 20 Apr 1987 in the Los Angeles, CA, area. Filming completed 9 Jun 1987.
       A news item in 13 Oct 1987 DV stated the film was set for a 23 Oct 1987 release in 600 theaters, but the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) pulled it back, stating it would be released in Jan 1988, possibly under a new name. A 15 Apr 1988 HR article reported that DEG ran into financial difficulties and sold distribution rights to MGM/UA along with Illegally Yours (1988, see entry) for $5 to $6 million. The article referred to the film by its alternate title, Vengeance: The Demon.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1988
p. 1, 60.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 1989
p. 4, 36.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jan 1989
p. 9.
Variety
13 Oct 1987.
---
Variety
19 Oct 1988
p. 220.
WSJ
30 Oct 1987.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
In Association With Billy Blake
A Lion Films Production
A Stan Winston Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Louma crane tech
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post prod supv
Ed apprentice
Ed apprentice
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Key set dresser
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop
Des apprentice
Const foreman
Const crew
Const crew
Greensman
COSTUMES
Asst costumer
MUSIC
Orig score by
Addl electronic mus
Supv mus ed
Asst mus ed
SOUND
Boom op
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd eff ed
Spec sd des
Addl sd eff
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer, B & B Sound Studios, Inc.
Re-rec mixer, B & B Sound Studios, Inc.
VISUAL EFFECTS
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff des and created by
Creature eff des and created by
Spec eff coord
Eff asst
Eff asst
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff art dept
Creature eff mechanical dept
Creature eff mechanical dept
Creature eff mechanical dept
Creature eff mechanical dept
Titles and opticals by
Title des
MAKEUP
Key makeup/Hair
Makeup/Hair asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Asst to prods and Prod secy
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Unit pub
Extra casting by
Studio teacher
Studio teacher
Animals provided by
Animal coord
Asst to Mr. Winston
Asst to Mr. Weinman
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst auditor
Casting asst
Casting asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Set security by
Catering by
Craft service
Set medic
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Loc equip by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the poem "Pumpkinhead" by Ed Justin (publication date undetermined).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Vengeance: The Demon
Release Date:
13 January 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 13 January 1989
Production Date:
20 April--9 June 1987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Lenses
Arriflex® cameras and lenses supplied by Otto Nemenz Int'l., Inc.
Duration(in mins):
86
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28835
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1957, Tom Harley barricades himself, his wife and their son Ed in their farmhouse and refuses to open his door to his neighbor who is screaming “Pumpkinhead” is going to get him for killing a girl. From his bedroom window, Ed watches as an insect-like creature strangles the man to death. Thirty-two years later, Ed has inherited the farm where he now lives with his small boy, Billy. One day, Billy presents Ed with a necklace he made ornamented with a large-headed stickman figure. Ed promises never to take it off. Later, at a small store Ed owns, a group of tourists arrive in a sports car and a truck hauling motorcycles. Joel, the group leader, makes fun of Billy’s thick glasses, but his girl friend, Kim, and his brother, Steve, tell Joel he is being uncool. The others, Chris, Tracy and Maggie, are fascinated when Mr. Wallace, a hill man, and his four children arrive to buy groceries. Tracy is taking their pictures when the youngest boy, Jimmy Joe, steals a ball from Billy and his dog, Gypsy. Bunt, the oldest Wallace child, makes Jimmy Joe give it back, then he and the other children surround the boy chanting that Pumpkinhead will kill him for being bad. Inside the store, Ed realizes he forgot to bring Wallace’s bags of feed to the store and promises to deliver them before nightfall. He orders Billy to mind the store while he runs home. Joel and Steve decide to do some dirt racing over the hills. The noise of motorcycles infuriates Gypsy, who runs in their ... +


In 1957, Tom Harley barricades himself, his wife and their son Ed in their farmhouse and refuses to open his door to his neighbor who is screaming “Pumpkinhead” is going to get him for killing a girl. From his bedroom window, Ed watches as an insect-like creature strangles the man to death. Thirty-two years later, Ed has inherited the farm where he now lives with his small boy, Billy. One day, Billy presents Ed with a necklace he made ornamented with a large-headed stickman figure. Ed promises never to take it off. Later, at a small store Ed owns, a group of tourists arrive in a sports car and a truck hauling motorcycles. Joel, the group leader, makes fun of Billy’s thick glasses, but his girl friend, Kim, and his brother, Steve, tell Joel he is being uncool. The others, Chris, Tracy and Maggie, are fascinated when Mr. Wallace, a hill man, and his four children arrive to buy groceries. Tracy is taking their pictures when the youngest boy, Jimmy Joe, steals a ball from Billy and his dog, Gypsy. Bunt, the oldest Wallace child, makes Jimmy Joe give it back, then he and the other children surround the boy chanting that Pumpkinhead will kill him for being bad. Inside the store, Ed realizes he forgot to bring Wallace’s bags of feed to the store and promises to deliver them before nightfall. He orders Billy to mind the store while he runs home. Joel and Steve decide to do some dirt racing over the hills. The noise of motorcycles infuriates Gypsy, who runs in their path. When Billy pushes Gypsy to safety, he is struck a mortal wound by Joel’s bike. Instead of helping Billy, Joel insists they leave him. When Kim protests, Joel hits her, drags her to his car and drives away. Not finding a telephone in the store, Steve orders the others to ride to the cabin they are renting and telephone for help. After they leave, Ed returns, finds Billy, and scoops the boy into his arms. Steve offers to help, but is stopped by Ed’s glare. Ed takes Billie home, where the child dies in his arms. The others get to the cabin to find that Joel has ripped out the telephone cord so they cannot call for an ambulance. Joel is on probation for another accident that injured a girl. Tracy insists they get help, but Joel throws her to the floor. Chris jumps to her aid, but Joel knocks him unconscious with a piece of firewood, then locks the pair in a closet. Maggie, who is already traumatized by the accident, becomes comatose. Steve arrives and begs Joel to let Chris and Tracy out, but Joel refuses. Meanwhile, Ed drives to the Wallace farm and asks where a local witch lives. Wallace refuses to tell him, but Bunt pulls Ed aside and offers the information for ten dollars. Ed agrees, but only if the boy shows him the way. Bunt takes him to an old logging road, tells him the witch’s name is Haggis, and refuses to go further. Ed reaches Haggis’s cabin after nightfall. He carries Billy’s corpse inside, but Haggis declares she cannot raise the dead. Ed demands she call up a demon to take vengeance on the “city people.” After warning Ed there is a steep price to pay, she directs him to a graveyard covered in pumpkins to dig up a deformed corpse with a huge skull. After Ed does as he is told, Haggis slices both his and Billy’s hands, pours the blood into a bowl, then anoints the deformed corpse’s forehead. As she chants, a ten-foot-tall creature with protruding fangs and a tail rises, causing Ed to faint. When Ed comes to, the creature is gone and Haggis tells him to go. He drives to his wife’s grave and buries Billy beside her. At the tourist cabin, Joel feels remorse and frees Chris and Tracy. Maggie hears her name being called and runs out of the cabin. When Steve follows her, he is yanked into the trees. Maggie’s screams bring the others running. Joel finds some entrails and orders everyone back inside. At the same time, Ed falls to his knees, psychically seeing Pumpkinhead tear Steve apart. Chris and Tracy insist on leaving, but Maggie demands they find Steve first. As she runs outside, Steve’s corpse is thrown onto the porch. As Maggie screams, Pumpkinhead reaches down from the roof, yanks her up and claws a cross into her forehead. Experiencing Maggie’s pain, Ed loads a shotgun, rushes over to Haggis and begs the witch to call the creature off. Haggis declares the curse must run its course. If Ed tries to stop it, he will burn in hell all the sooner. Armed with a rifle, Chris and Tracy hunt for Maggie. Inside the cabin, Joel and Kim argue over what to do when Maggie’s corpse is hurled through the window. Kim faints and Joel grabs a machete, rushes outside screaming that he is the one the monster wants. Returning to the cabin, Joel finds Pumpkinhead standing over Kim. He attacks, but Pumpkinhead drags Kim off by her hair, climbs a tree, then drops her onto a boulder, breaking her back. Hearing screams, Tracy and Chris run back to the cabin, see Kim’s body and drag the wounded Joel into the woods. They find another cabin, but the occupants refuse to open their door because the visitors are “marked.” Chris spots a truck, but before he can get near it, a farmer appears with a shotgun and orders him to drop the rifle. A lightning flash illuminates Pumpkinhead standing by the cabin. Ed appears and fires two shotgun blasts into the creature’s chest, sending him to the ground. Joel grabs the dropped rifle and fires a round into its head. However, the creature leaps up and rams Joel’s rifle through his chest. Overcome by his psychic connection with Pumpkinhead, Ed falls to his knees. Chris and Tracy run until they come to Wallace’s cabin. They are refused entrance here as well, but as they turn to go, Bunt Wallace signals for them to follow him and leads them to a ruined church. Although Bunt declares that this is holy ground and they should be safe, Pumpkinhead enters, yanks a cross off a wall and smashes it. The trio runs to where Chris left their truck, only to find their motorcycles have been demolished. As Chris attempts to get a motorcycle running, the creature appears and smashes him against a tree. Ed arrives in his truck and orders Bunt and Tracy in. He drives them to his farm. Tracy begs him to understand Billy’s death was an accident, but Ed refuses to forgive her. Using a pesticide spray can and a propane tank, Ed concocts a homemade flamethrower. As Ed swears he is going to send the creature back to whatever hell it came from, his eyes glow red and he grows fangs. A frightened Tracy runs into the yard to find Pumpkinhead holding a barely living Chris and a struggling Bunt. Ed runs outside with the flamethrower, but trips on a pitchfork, wounding him in the shoulder. He is shocked to see the creature grab his shoulder as if he too had been impaled on the pitchfork. Ed drops the flamethrower, and stumbles to his truck to recover a revolver. Tracy grabs the flamethrower, but it is ineffective against the creature. As Pumpkinhead grabs Tracy, Ed fires a bullet into his own head. Both he and the creature fall. However, the monster revives and grabs Bunt. Seeing that Ed is turning into a second creature, Tracy empties the revolver into his chest. Ed falls and Pumpkinhead bursts into flames. Later, Haggis buries Ed’s now deformed corpse in the pumpkin patch graveyard. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.