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"Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you're tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He's mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you're undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It's when you think that he's forgot,
He'll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won't protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead."
Pumpkinhead was special effects guru Stan Winston's directorial debut and essentially deals with a monster that doesn't actually have a pumpkin for a head. The quote above is said to be by Ed Justin and the inspiration for this movie making it possibly the only movie Based On A True Poem. However since nobody has ever heard of anything else to do with this Ed Justin some people (by which we mean someone at The Other Wiki) wonder if he really exists, making this possibly Based on a Great Big Lie while not claiming to be based on any actual fact.
The plot is actually the fairly common "Man summons demon to seek revenge" horror plot. It has the common hallmarks: the Jerkass Victims do reserve some revenge but he takes it too far (they did a hit-and-run on the guy's son), there is one guy who was actually trying to help the victim but is targetted for revenge anyway, the victims are a bunch of bland teens, cue My God, What Have I Done? and then Redemption Equals Death.
These films provide examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The knife Billy Bob is forced to amputate his own leg with in Blood Feud.
- Accidental Murder
- Actor Allusion: Doc Frasier (who is played by Doug Bradley) of Ashes to Ashes has puzzle boxes scattered about his office.
- And Then John Was a Zombie
- Bloodier and Gorier: Each installment tries to one up the previous.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Ashes to Ashes and Blood Feud ignore Blood Wings.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: The FBI agents at the end of Ashes to Ashes.
- Colbert Bump: The series as a whole got much more attention after The Spoony Experiment did a review of the second movie's ... interesting... video game adaptation.
- Corrupt Hick: In Pumpkinhead 2, Mayor Bubba wants to keep the deadly monster alive so its existence could attract tourists. The sheriff doesn't react well.
- Darkness Equals Death: Pumpkinhead never kills anyone during the day, for some reason.
- Deal with the Devil: The one summoning Pumpkinhead makes one with a witch. Though she actually warns them there's a heavy price to pay for summoning him and their body is used for the next Pumpkinhead.
- Deep South
- Don't Go in The Woods
- Downer Ending: The original ends with Ed Harley dead and be used as the next Pumpkinhead.
- Dramatic Thunder: Blood Feud:
Dolly: "Does that mean the monster's coming?"
Jodie: "No. Just a storm. Normal, harmless storm. Nothing to be scared of."
Dolly: "... Then how come there's thunder and lightning and no rain?"
- Eye Scream: Pumpkinhead getting shot in the eye with a handgun in Blood Feud.
- Feuding Families: The Hatfields and McCoys from Blood Feud.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Pumpkinhead isn't exactly a menacing (or indeed, accurate) name.
- Healing Factor: Pumpkinhead heals instantaneously.
- Heel Face Turn: Most of the people who turn to summoning the titular Pumpkinhead experience this after realizing what they've unleashed.
- Hollywood Night: Utilized excessively in the first film. You'll be hard pressed to tell the cast members apart after you've been squinting at the screen for half an hour.
- Holy Burns Evil: Averted. As shown in Ashes to Ashes, holy water has no effect on Pumpkinhead.
- Immune to Bullets: Pumpkinhead. Subverted at the end of the second film however.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: With a rifle. Pumpkinhead must have gotten tips from Michael Myers.
- Jerkass Victim: Judge Dixon, Danny Dixon, Joel, and Doc Fraser.
- The Juggernaut
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
- Left Hanging: The comic Pumpkinhead: The Rites of Exorcism, which was supposed to be four issues, was cancelled after two.
- Man On Fire: The death of the priest (batted on to a table full of candles by Pumpkinhead) in Ashes and Dust, and how one of the Hatfields dies (firing his old shotgun while soaked in moonshine) in Blood Feud.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Due to seeing and feeling Pumpkinhead's murders, the summoners often ultimately end up with this reaction by the end. So far, the only exception has been Molly Sue from Ashes to Ashes, who tried to skip town while Pumpkinhead did his thing, outright stating she didn't care what happened when confronted.
- Nonhumans Lack Attributes: There have been male and female Pumpkinheads. You'd never know.
- Averted on one action figure, which did have a sculpted flaccid penis and scrotum
- Redemption Equals Death: Though justified in this case, since Pumpkinhead can only be defeated if the summoner is killed.
- Revenge: Why Pumpkinhead is summoned is to carry out revenge, though it's normally not long before the summoner realizes that Pumpkinhead always takes it way too far.
- Suicide By Cremation: End of Ashes to Ashes.
- Numbered Sequels
- Only Sane Man: The Sheriff from Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. It helps that he's played by Andrew Robinson, who may be letting his own incredulity at the script seep into his performance.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Ed Harley's in the Sci Fi sequels, who appears warning people about Pumpkinhead.
- Slashed Throat
- Stock Character: All the teenage characters in the original. Each one is a Slasher Movie stereotype in distilled form.
- Synchronization: The summoner feels the deaths of Pumpkinhead's victims, and Pumpkinhead feels any injuries inflicted on the summoner.
- The Voiceless: In the first film Pumpkinhead could talk, but it mostly just said character names. In the sequels, it is silent.