Pumpkinhead, also called the Demon of Vengeance or simply Vengeance, is a fictional character featured in the 1988 horror film Pumpkinhead, along with its three sequels Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes, and Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud. The original creature was designed by Stan Winston, who also designed the "Alien Queen" in Aliens. Pumpkinhead was portrayed by Tom Woodruff, Jr., who also portrayed numerous other fictional monsters in films such as Aliens, in the original 1988 film and later by Mark McCracken in the sequel, although was not credited. Pumpkinhead was later portrayed by Bob Gunter in the last two sequels in 2006 and 2007 distributed by Syfy, although Gunter, like McCracken, was not credited. The costume of Pumpkinhead used in the original 1988 film was most likely burned and disposed after making of the film, as the creature bursted into flames at the end of the film after Ed Harley was killed. Although, the costume used in the sequels by Syfy is for sale at a movie collectibles website known as Prop Store.
In the Pumpkinhead films, the demon can be conjured by a summoner (or summoners) to exact revenge on anyone who wronged them. By viciously and painfully killing them. The targets are "marked" for death; and no matter where they go, Pumpkinhead will always find them. As the 'marked ones' die, the summoner(s) will begin to feel both the physical and emotional pain that the victims of Pumpkinhead feel. And they will begin to see the grisly murders being performed through the demon's eyes. Pumpkinhead also feels any pain that its conjurer feels (except for the pain that they feel from Pumpkinhead's victims). Hence, the only way to kill the creature is to kill its conjurer(s). The more summoners there are in the ritual, the bigger and stronger Pumpkinhead will be. This is most notable in the third film, where as each summoner was killed, Pumpkinhead appeared to get shorter until he was at his regular height. If anyone stops Pumpkinhead, their soul will be cursed with damnation. And the only way to cleanse it is to allow the next Pumpkinhead that's summoned to kill that person. If there are any surviving targets from the previous summoning, Pumpkinhead will first go after those targets and finish it's previous assignment before moving on to the new one.
In the original 1988 film, Pumpkinhead was first conjured by a man named Edward "Ed" Harley, who desired for vengeance after his son was accidentally killed by a teenager on a motorcycle named Joel. However, in the beginning of the film, Pumpkinhead is seen twenty years ago when Ed was only a boy and murdered a man who had been begging Ed's father to save him from the creature. Pumpkinhead murdered the man shortly after Ed's father refused to save him. It is unknown how the creature came to needing to be conjured to live. Either this or Ed Harley was not the first to conjure Pumpkinhead, despite the films stating so.
Appearance and design
Pumpkinhead has pale skin. Pumpkinhead has a large head with multiple lumps and pale white unseeing eyes with reptilian-like pupils and no irises in the 1988 film. The large head and the fact that he is buried in a pumpkin patch give the creature it's name. Rather than having a nose, the creature has nostrils which follow the wrinkled design skin design above its mouth. The creature is completely hairless and has a large mouth with varying pointed and human-like teeth. There are two small pointed teeth on either side of the creature's lower jaw. The creature has a wrinkled neck with clearly visible blood veins and large bulbous objects that sprout from its shoulders. There are also bulbous objects that sprout from the creature's elbows and extra joints on its legs. Pumpkinhead has long arms with four fingered clawed hands and long fingers. Pumpkinhead has a torso with a rib cage-like design and two muscles underneath its chest which replace its abs. There are two extremely small bulbous objects that sprout from the creature's hips above its digitigrade legs. The creature's legs are large and muscular with extra joints. Pumpkinhead has three-toed feet with thick dinosaur-like claws. The creature's extra joints are larger than the other joints in its legs and sprout another pair of bulbous objects that actually resemble that of small pumpkins. Pumpkinhead has a long tail with a fin-like spike at the end. In the 1994 sequel, the creature's eyes are changed to completely pale bloodshot eyes with no pupils and all of its teeth are sharp.
In the last two sequels, Pumpkinhead's design is changed because there is a different costume used for the films. The creature's head is smaller and its teeth are yellow. The creature apprears more muscular and has a more human-like posture. The creature's upper body is notably more muscular and the creature is larger, although seems to shrink as its conjurers are killed. The creature's skin is a rotten green color and its bulbous objects that sprout from its shoulders, elbows, hips, and extra joints are replaced with sharp spikes. The creature's hands are smaller with black claws and the fin-like spike on the creature's tail is changed to resemble its spikes, making it more resemble a devil or demon.
After Ed Harley's young son, Billy Harley, is accidentally killed by one of a group of camping teenagers named Joel on a motorcycle, Ed realizes that there is no hope for his dead boy and visits the witch of the woods Haggis that evening in hopes that she can bring him back to life. However, when Haggis reveals that he cannot bring back the dead, Ed digs up Pumpkinhead's dead disfigured corpse from the pumpkin patch graveyard and brings it back to Haggis' cabin where she cuts Ed and Billy's hands and pours the blood over the creature's corpse. Pumpkinhead begins to move and come to life. Pumpkinhead becomes larger and more monster-like as Ed faints.
Later that night, Pumpkinhead sets out to kill the teenagers and watches Maggie and Steve as Steve tries to convince her to have faith. Pumpkinhead then grabs Steve from behind and kills him right before dropping him from a tree as Maggie watches in horror. As the rest of the teenagers search for Steve, the creature grabs Maggie, drags her away, and kills her. While the teenagers are back in the cabin, Pumpkinhead slams Maggie's head against the window above the sink and slams it through the window right after rubbing it against the window. Pumpkinhead then enters the cabin where Joel confronts it with a knife. However, Pumpkinhead swats him aside and drags Kim off outside where it kills her and drops her from a tree.
When Joel and the remaining teenagers arrive to ask the locals for help, Pumpkinhead arrives to kill them. However, Ed shoots it after realizing that what had done is wrong. The shooting seems to work and Pumpkinhead falls to the ground. When Joel kicks the creature in the head to ensure that it is dead, Pumpkinhead grabs his leg and gets up. Pumpkinhead, now having Joel pinned to the ground, takes his riffle and impales him with it. After Joel dies, Pumpkinhead lifts his dead twice while staring at his dead body. When a dog bites Ed on the arm, Pumpkinhead feels the pain and growls in agony.
The remaining teenagers, Chris and Tracy, escape to an abandoned church with a local boy named Bunt Wallis who explains Pumpkinhead's legend. Soon, Pumpkinhead arrives at the church. But, the three escape. As Pumpkinhead walks through the ruins of the church, he finds a wooden christian cross and destroys it, as Pumpkinhead is a demon and hates anything Holy. Pumpkinhead eventually tracks them down and removes a part of the engine from Chris' motorcycle. Hence, Pumpkinhead attacks Chris and throws him against a tree. Pumpkinhead drags Chris' body to the Harley's house where Ed, Tracy, and Bunt have taken shelter. Pumpkinhead enters the house after Ed and Tracy escape. Pumpkinhead, at first, does not find Bunt hiding in the house. Pumpkinhead then turns around in a flash after preparing to exit the house and finds Bunt.
Pumpkinhead then leaves the house and prepares to kill Bunt. When Ed prepares to kill Pumpkinhead, he accidentally stabs himself in the arm with a pitchfork, this forces Pumpkinhead to cry out in pain and release Bunt. Pumpkinhead begins to gaze at Ed as its face becomes more human and Ed like the creature's. Hence, Ed realizes that the only way to kill Pumpkinhead is to kill himself. Pumpkinhead then grabs Tracy by the neck and prepares to kill her. However, Ed shoots himself in the head with a handgun, which causes both Pumpkinhead and Ed to collapse to the ground.
However, Ed survives and Pumpkinhead awakes to grab Bunt again. As Pumpkinhead holds Bunt upside down, Ed begs Tracy to kill him with the gun. Tracy shoots Ed which causes Pumpkinhead to releases Bunt and collapse to the ground while growling in agony. Pumpkinhead takes one last deep breath before dying and bursting into flames. Ed's disfigured corpse is then placed in Pumpkinhead's grave in the pumpkin patch graveyard by Haggis while still wearing the necklace that Billy made for him. Hence, Pumpkinhead will take form through Ed's corpse when it is conjured again.
- See also: Tommy
The sequel has extremely little to nothing to do with the first or any of the other films. Instead of having Pumpkinhead or Haggis, it instead features Thomas (referred to as "Tommy" in the film). Tommy is apparently the son of Pumpkinhead; born as a result of Pumpkinhead mating with a currently unknown human female under unknown circumstances. Tommy is an orphan who is adopted and cared for by an old blind woman named 'Ms. Osie'. Osie herself is highly hinted to be a witch of some kind. Who shares a similar bond with Tommy similar to a bond between Pumpkinhead and it's summoner(s). Seeming to feel each other's pain. When Tommy is resurrected, he has a body similar to that of his father's. Making him able to commit the same grisly murders as the original Pumpkinhead. Although, unlike the original, Ms. Osie's death does not kill Tommy, nor does he seem to be visibly effected by it (although he is able to sense it). He also seemed to actually grieve and become enraged at her death, amking him the only demon in the series to display such feelings towards it's 'summoner'. Tommy is also the only form of the demon to show any kind of mercy. He spared Jenny a grisly death, as he realized that she was actually Sean's daughter. Because before his death, Tommy befriended Sean. And truthfully, Jenny was innocent in Ms. Osie's death (which was why it went after her and her friends; for hurting Ms. Osie and refusing to help save her). Tommy is also the only Pumpkinhead that's actually killed with regular means. Being able to be harmed with guns (unlike his father, who body is impervious to physical harm).
In 1958 in Ferren Woods, a small backwater town, an old blind witch, Ms. Osier, feeds a deformed orphan named Tommy; he is the offspring of Pumpkinhead. As Tommy eats, a car of six teens pull up and notice him. Convinced that he is some demonic monster, they chase him with switchblade knives and baseball bats; eventually, they corner him at an old iron mine, where they bludgeon him and drop him down into the mine, killing him. 35 years later, Sheriff Sean Braddock, his wife, and his daughter Jenny have come into town. Sean grew up in Ferren Woods and returned when offered a job as the local sheriff. At school, Jenny meets a group of wild kids, one of whom is Daniel "Danny" Dixon, whose dad, (who was one of the teens who had taken part in Tommy's murder 35 years ago), is the town judge. The teens sneak off one night and pilfer Sean's car. Danny inadvertently hits Ms. Osie, and when they go to her cabin to check on her, they find a spellbook and vials of blood, which she is planning to resurrect Tommy with. After Ms. Osie catches them, she orders them out. Danny knocks her down and escapes with a vial of blood.
Danny and his friends attempt to resurrect Tommy's corpse. Jenny notices Ms. Osie's cabin on fire and Danny and his friends flee. Ms. Osie is badly burnt and ends up in the hospital. Unbeknownst to Danny and his friends, the spell they'd attempted worked, resurrecting Tommy in the form of Pumpkinhead. Soon, Judge Dixon's friends begin to meet grisly deaths. Jenny's father investigates and begins to come to terms with the fact that Tommy is responsible for the murders. Ms. Osie dies, but not before revealing to Sean some clues. Sean discovers the connection between the victims and Pumpkinhead, realizing that the judge is next.
Judge Dixon calls his posse to assist him in killing whatever is murdering his friends. Before they can arrive however, Pumpkinhead brutally murders Judge Dixon. Now that Tommy has avenged his own death, he begins going after Danny and his friends. Sean and the town doctor go into the woods to find Jenny. By this time, Pumpkinhead (Tommy) has murdered Danny and his 3 friends. He then chases Jenny to the iron mine. Since Sean had saved his life years earlier as a boy, and because Jenny was innocent of hurting Ms. Osie, Tommy allows Jenny to step down to her father safe and sound. However, the judge's posse arrives and shoots Tommy back into the mine, where he had died 35 years earlier.
The third movie was more loyal to the first movie in terms of story and focused on how the townspeople became enraged at a local mortician stealing and selling the organs of their loved ones before disposing of their bodies in the swamp rather than cremating them: seeking vengeance they have Haggis (a witch who appears in many of the movies) summon Pumpkinhead once more via reviving the mummified remains of Harley - the reanimated Pumpkinhead then proceeds to exact a brutal revenge on all responsible for the desecration. At the same time a character by the name of Doc Fraiser rushes to kill those who summoned Pumpkinhead so as to kill the demon before things get totally out of hand.
The final installment of the series is a 2007 made-for-television sequel. The film begins with two men on their motorcycles driving away from Pumpkinhead. One of the men hits a tree branch in their path, falling from his motorcycle and allowing Pumpkinhead to catch up to him. As the man is being killed, the film cuts to a man in a log cabin who seems to share the pain inflicted by Pumpkinhead on the fallen man. The surviving man, named Dallas, rides to the log cabin, and the man who conjured Pumpkinhead, begging him to call the demon off. Pumpkinhead smashes through the window and Dallas attempts to fend him off by shooting him with a small pistol with little effect, and is clawed in the chest by the demon. When Dallas realizes that his bullets have no effect on Pumpkinhead, he swears to take the summoner with him, shooting the man and killing him, causing Pumpkinhead to vanish. Ed Harley then appears telling Dallas that Pumpkinhead will return and there will be no place to hide.
Five years later we are shown the family of the Hatfields and McCoys ongoing feud started because of a car in the 30's. The Hatfields then trash the McCoy wedding. Jody Hatfield sneaks out to see her true love, Ricky McCoy. Ricky brings his sister, Sarah, to look out for him and Jody. The two then start to make out.
Jody's brothers find and kill Sarah by accident and try to kill Ricky. Ricky then finds his sister's body and goes to Haggis for help. Haggis tells him of the price it costs to summon Pumpkinhead and Haggis is shown talking to Ed Harley's spirit. Haggis states that her choice does not matter in the end; only the summoner may make the decision to kill Pumpkinhead. The two invoke Pumpkinhead to kill the Hatfields.
At the end of the film most of the Hatfields are killed, as well as some of the McCoy family. Ricky realizes what he has done and takes Pumpkinhead with him to fall down a well. This is the first film in the franchise that does not imply that Pumpkinhead is still alive.
The creature appears in two issues of the comic book series "Pumpkinhead: The Rites of Exorcism" published by Dark Horse Comics in 1993. A third issue was originally going to include the appearance of a winged version of Pumpkinhead, but the third issue was never officially released.
- The Pumpkinhead Wiki has a collection of images related to Pumpkinhead (character)