Cult classic 1988 horror movie Pumpkinhead is getting a remake. Since the only thing I can remember about the movie is 7-year old me being told by some older cousins that I was too young to watch it with them and then sneaking a peek through a door left ajar and thinking it looked kind of silly, I can’t actually tell you whether this remake is a bad thing or not. I can tell you that the original was directed by Hollywood VFX legend Stan Winston and starred the always awesome Lance Henriksen, and despite a poor box office reception has built up quite the following in the years since.
And according to EW, Saw franchise producer Peter Block has picked up the film rights for the Pumkinhead series, which included a 1994 direct-to-video sequel Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, and well as two low budget B-movie creature features on Syfy, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes and Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud, in 2006 and 2007 respectively. But it’s that original film, which marked Winston’s directing debut, that really got Block on board with this project.
“Pumpkinhead is one of my favorite horror films of the late ’80s, early ’90s. 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.”
The original film saw Henriksen “as a man who summons the titular, terrifying creature to wreak vengeance on the teenagers responsible for the death of his son”. Block says that while this remake will have “a lot in common” with the original, it will also not be completely beholden to it, beat by beat, but instead do its own thing as well.
“There is a similarity of theme and a similarity of story. There’s a lot of Easter eggs for people who know the original — iconic shots and iconic lines that we’re going to use. But we’ve enhanced the setting, and we’ve expanded the characters somewhat, to give it a different kind of experience.”
Right now, Block is still looking for a director to shoot Atkin’s script, but this person can’t just be any filmmaker. He/she needs to understand what made the original film work, which includes using all the practical FX that Winston was such a master of.
“We’re just about to start going out looking for a director for it. [We need] somebody who really understands why the first one is terrific, the emotional beats of ‘Is the revenge you seek worse than whatever befell you in the first place?’ But it’s also somebody that wants to embrace what I think audiences really want these days — a really scary, fun thrill-ride. You get a lot of people who want to be in this genre because they see the commercial opportunities. I’m looking for a director who has a love for the genre and knows how to get those beats for the audience.”
“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.”
Black is hoping to land a director and start shooting early next year, which isn’t a lot of time in terms of all the pre-production work that a practical effects heavy horror would need, but Block apparently believes he can pull it off. What about you guys? Are you a Pumpkinhead fan, and if so, what do you think about this remake news?
In the meantime, while you talk it out among yourselves, I’m going to see about tracking down a copy of this movie to see if my younger self was a complete idiot or not.
Last Updated: August 5, 2016