Hi there, Neighbor. It's time for our penultimate movie in the 13 Movies of Halloween: the Halloween classic "Pumpkinhead."

Actually, "Pumpkinhead" isn't really a Halloween movie. There's no mention of the holiday, but I think the production design has probably made it a perennial watch for this time of year: the foggy woods with dead leaves always swirling, the crumbling graveyard with decaying pumpkins growing around the headstones. It's an impressive feat of immersive world-building. And of course there's the titular creature itself, whose head is the size and shape of a jack-o'-lantern.

You probably already know this, Neighbor, but the monster Pumpkinhead is the brainchild of Stan Winston, making his directorial debut with this movie in 1988, just five years before he'd win an Oscar for bringing dinosaurs to life in "Jurassic Park." But here he's putting in work in our neighborhood, telling the story of a father who loses his son in a freak dirt bike accident, then visits a backwoods witch to summon Pumpkinhead, the tall, gangly, hissing demon of revenge, to destroy the kids responsible for the death.
 
Lance Henriksen of neighborhood favorites like "Aliens" and "Near Dark" is the dad, and I found the scenes where he's losing his son really hard to watch, mainly due to Henriksen's work. He says more with a hard stare or a gentle pat on the blanket his son is wrapped up in than many actors can say with a paragraph of dialogue. It's a great performance, and I think it's a big reason why "Pumpkinhead" works: you're invested in his revenge, but understand why he wants to take it all back once the monster's plan is in motion.
 
In our neighborhood, we're big believers in adjusting expectations. This is a monster movie named "Pumpkinhead." You're either into that idea or you're not, and evaluating it in the same way you might evaluate "Lawrence of Arabia" just doesn't work in my opinion. Callie and I give "Pumpkinhead" four stars: we wanted a monster movie with an engaging story and fun creature effects and we got exactly what we paid for. If that sounds like your speed, we think you'll have a good time with it.
 
Next up, we have the thrilling conclusion to the 13 Movies of Halloween with a true Halloween classic, one with some local flavor. Until then, we hope you'll stay out of the woods. 

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