[[caption-width-right:300:Eh, maybe a little pumpkin-like.]]

->"''Bolted doors and windows barred,\\
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,\\
Won't protect you in your bed,\\
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead.''"

''Pumpkinhead'' (1988) was special effects guru Creator/StanWinston's directorial debut and essentially deals with a monster [[NonIndicativeName 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. Ed Justin was a guy in the movie marketing business who wrote the poem to spook his grandchildren, his friend and film producer Billy Blake loved it and thought it would be a great horror film, so bought the rights pretty cheaply and with producer Richard C. Weinman began looking for writers. Enter writers Mark Patrick Carducci and Gary Gerani, who had toyed around with an idea for a horror movie in the late seventies about a demon existing for each of man's sins, with the plan to make one about the demon of vengeance set in the backwoods (hence one of the film's taglines and it's alternate title, respectively). Carducci pitched the demon idea to Blake, who loved it and decided to merge it with the Pumpkinhead project.

The plot is actually the fairly common "Man summons demon to seek revenge" horror plot. It has the common hallmarks: teens from the city come out to the backwoods for vacation, one of them gets drunk and accidentally hits over the a young boy with a bike, and the boy is the son of local grocer Ed Harley, who becomes overcome with grief and rage and goes to a witch in the mountains to summon the demon of vengeance, Pumpkinhead. [[RevengeBeforeReason While Harley's son did deserve some justice]], Ed takes it too far, wanting revenge on all of them, even the ones who merely witnessed it and the one who tried to help him. As Pumpkinhead goes about its task, killing the teens one by one in gruesome and violent ways, Ed gets flashes of the murders and sees the pain he's causing and [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone regrets what he has set loose]] and sets out to try and stop it... but learns that [[RedemptionEqualsDeath vengeance has a powerful price.]]

Followed by one DirectToVideo sequel (1994's ''Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings'') and two {{Made for TV Movie}}s on [[Creator/{{Syfy}} Sci Fi Channel]] (2006's ''Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes'' and 2007's ''Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud''). There is also an FMV videogame based on the second movie, ''VideoGame/BloodwingsPumpkinheadsRevenge''.

!!These films provide examples of:


[[folder:''Pumpkinhead'' (1988)]]
%%* AccidentalMurder
%%* AndThenJohnWasAZombie
* AntagonistTitle: Pumpkinhead is a demon keen on DisproportionateRetribution.
* AntiVillain: Ed Harley from the first movie
%%* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:Joel]].
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: The witch attempted to warn Ed that vengeance always has a price.
* BigBad: Pumpkinhead, master of DisproportionateRetribution.
* BloodierAndGorier: Each installment tries to one-up the previous.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Pumpkinhead specializes in these.
* DarknessEqualsDeath: Pumpkinhead never kills anyone during the day, for some reason.
* DealWithTheDevil: 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.
%%* DeepSouth
* DirtyCoward: In order to avoid the legal trouble it would have brought, Joel chose to sacrifice ''a little boy's life'' despite the fact that his life was not even at stake. He did show that even he had loved ones he would risk his life for, [[spoiler:but by that time most of his innocent friends (including his brother) were dead so it did not do much good.]]
** Joel is also on probation at the time, [[spoiler: and winds up locking two of his friends due to their wanting to contact the authorities]].
* DisproportionateRetribution: While only one of Pumpkinhead's victims deserves some form of punishment, Pumpkinhead takes it ''way'' too far and even kills people who tried to stop the tragic accident.
%%* DontGoInTheWoods
* DownerEnding: Most of the cast is dead and [[spoiler:Ed's body is buried in a certain pumpkin patch]].
* FateWorseThanDeath: It's implied that the summoners of Pumpkinhead [[spoiler: are trapped in a sort of limbo between life and death till the end of time in exchange for summoning him.]]
* FluffyTheTerrible: Pumpkinhead isn't exactly a menacing (or indeed, [[NonIndicativeName accurate]]) name.
* ForcedToWatch: An interesting variation: Pumpkinhead's summoner is forced to see and feel the deaths of the demon's victims, as if he were killing them himself.
** More straightforwardly, Pumpkinhead prefers to kill his victims in front of each other.
* HealingFactor: Pumpkinhead heals instantaneously.
* HeelFaceTurn: Most of the people who turn to summoning the titular Pumpkinhead experience this after realizing what they've unleashed.
* HeelRealization: Joel comes to acknowledge how much of a prick he's been around the halfway point.
* HollywoodDarkness: Utilized excessively, but rather beautifully.
* HolyBurnsEvil: Averted. Pumpkinhead is able to enter a church (though the sight of a cross pisses him off and he destroys it). Although the church was only half-built before it was abandoned, so it's possible this wasn't true holy ground.
* ImmuneToBullets: Pumpkinhead. Subverted at the end of the second film, however.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: With a rifle. Pumpkinhead must have gotten tips from [[Film/Halloween4TheReturnOfMichaelMyers Michael Myers]].
* ItCanThink: Pumpkinhead is smart enough to set traps, disable vehicles (including so subtly that they initially appear to be intact), and taunt his victims mercilessly.
* TheJuggernaut: Pumpkinhead will ''not'' stop until he's completed his mission. The ''only'' way he can be beaten is if his summoner is killed.
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: Ed wanted justice for his son, but he quickly saw how out of control this was getting.
%%* KnightTemplarParent: Ed Harley
* LeftHanging: The comic ''Pumpkinhead: The Rites of Exorcism'', which was supposed to be four issues, was cancelled after two.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Due to seeing and feeling Pumpkinhead's murders, the summoners often ultimately end up with this reaction by the end.
** After a while, Joel feels this way about hitting Billy Harley.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Pumpkinhead will kill anyone, even Ed, if they attempt to help its prey. This was foreshadowed by the 1957 prologue, where Ed's father refused entry to a targeted man in order to protect his wife and son.
* NonhumansLackAttributes: 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
* NonIndicativeName: As mentioned, the titular demon's head doesn't really [[PumpkinPerson resemble a pumpkin]]. It gets its name from the fact that summoning it involves digging up a corpse that's been buried in a pumpkin patch.
* PlayingPossum: At one point, Pumpkinhead feigns being killed to lure Joel in closer.
* PumpkinPerson: Actually averted. The eponymous monster is saddled with a NonIndicativeName, the true reason it is named this is because of the pumpkins that grow around its body when it's buried.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath:
** Though justified in this case, since Pumpkinhead can ''only'' be defeated if the summoner is killed.
** Joel starts off as a gigantic asshole and is the one whose primarily responsible for the death of Ed's son. Eventually he decides to face the consequences of said actions and turn himself in to the authorities, and dies attempting to protect the rest of his friends.
* {{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.
%%* SlashedThroat
* StingyJack: Pumpkinhead himself.
* StockCharacter: All the teenage characters in the original. Each one is a SlasherMovie stereotype in some form, but there is some subtle depth to them if one pays close enough attention.
* {{Synchronization}}: The summoner feels the deaths of Pumpkinhead's victims, and Pumpkinhead feels any injuries inflicted on the summoner.
* TheVoiceless: In the first film, Pumpkinhead ''could'' talk, but it mostly just said character names. In the sequels, it is silent.
* XenomorphXerox: Pumpkinhead has an emaciated, skeletal appearance; digitigrade feet tipped with claws; long clawed fingers; a bulbous, slightly elongated head, and a long, segmented tail tipped with a bladed stinger.

[[folder:''Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings'' (1994)]]
* AssholeVictim: Both [[spoiler:Judge Dixon]] and [[spoiler:his son Danny]].
* BigNo: Two instances of it:
** The first is by Tommy when the Red Wings [[MoralEventHorizon drop him down the mine]] [[DisproportionateRetribution for being physically deformed]].
** The second is by Sean when [[spoiler: the judge's posse shows up and starts opening fire on Pumpkinhead]].
* CameBackWrong: Pumpkinhead was originally a mentally retarded boy who was killed by a group of teenagers in the 1950s. His distraught mother researched witchcraft to find a way to bring him back, but opted against it because it would revive him as an unstoppable demonic killing machine. Of course, our stupid main characters decide to do just that.
* CorruptHick: Mayor Bubba wants to keep the deadly monster alive so its existence could attract tourists. The sheriff doesn't react to this plan well.
* DefeatEqualsExplosion: After being riddled with bullets and hung at the end of the film, Pumpkinhead explodes into a ball of flame.
* DolledUpInstallment: ''Blood Wings'' was retooled into a ''Pumpkinhead'' film overnight by its writer according to director Jeff Burr.
* IveComeTooFar: This is Danny's reasoning for summoning Pumpkinhead, even though there was nothing stopping them from just walking away.
* LaserGuidedKarma: A man organizing cockfights gets his head rammed into his chicken coop, where the terrified chickens [[EyeScream peck out his eyes]] and slash up his face.
* MilkingTheMonster: [[CorruptHick Mayor Bubba]] tries to stop the sheriff from killing Pumpkinhead because he thinks having an unstoppable demon rampaging around the town would be good for tourism. Though he at least says that he doesn't believe in demons and seems under the impression that they're just dealing with some sort of wild animal, which he presumably thinks they could put down in case it became too dangerous.
* NumberedSequels: The only one of the three sequels to actually have a number in its title. The following two sequels didn't bother doing this, probably so as to make it easier to consign this film to CanonDiscontinuity status.
* OnlySaneMan: The Sheriff. It helps that he's played by [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Andrew Robinson]], who may be letting his own incredulity at the script seep into his performance.
* SeeksAnothersResurrection: In the backstory a disabled teenage boy is murdered by a group of greasers. His distraught mother then researches witchcraft for the next several years (she's completely unrelated to the woods witch from the first film, btw) to bring him back from the dead, but decided against it when she found out that [[CameBackWrong his restless spirit would be reincarnated as an unstoppable demonic monster]], making her a subversion. But rather than destroying any of her work, [[IdiotPlot she just leaves the spellbook lying around in her cabin]] so a bunch of drunk assholes (our main characters, folks) can steal them and revive Pumpkinhead anyway.
%%* SuitWithVestedInterests: Mayor Bubba.
* TeensAreMonsters: This movie's Pumpkinhead started out as human, who was brutally beaten and hanged by a group of rowdy teens. A different group of rowdy teens ends up being responsible for the death of his adoptive mother several decades later.

[[folder:''Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes'' (2006)]]
* CanonDiscontinuity: ''Ashes to Ashes'' (and the subsequent ''Blood Feud'') ignore ''Blood Wings''.
* TheCavalryArrivesLate: The FBI agents at the end.
* HolyBurnsEvil: Averted. Holy water has no effect on Pumpkinhead.
* MadeOfIron: Doc Fraser. Despite being an elderly man he takes multiple blows from Pumpkinhead and even gets blown off his feet a considerable distance by an explosion, and gets back up rather easily.
* ManOnFire: The death of the priest, who is batted on to a table full of candles by Pumpkinhead, and is set on fire.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Averted. Molly Sue is the only summoner of Pumpkinhead's that doesn't come to regret doing it, and who tries to skip town while Pumpkinhead does his thing, outright stating she doesn't care what happened when confronted.
* MurderByCremation: A sucide variant happens at the end.
%%* OurGhostsAreDifferent: Ed Harley's ghost.

[[folder:''Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud'' (2007)]]
* AbsurdlySharpBlade: The knife Billy Bob is forced to amputate his own leg with.
* BearTrap: A character gets thrown head first into a bear trap.
* DramaticThunder:
--> '''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?
* EyeScream: Pumpkinhead getting shot in the eye with a handgun.
* FeudingFamilies: The Hatfields and [=McCoys=].
* HillbillyMoonshiner: One of these is killed by Pumpkinhead.
* ManOnFire: How one of the Hatfields dies; he fires his old shotgun while soaked in moonshine, and is set on fire.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: The Sheriff pulls a YouShallNotPass on Pumpkinhead, holding him off for the survivors to escape and the heroine to get through to his summoner despite knowing he's going to get killed, so he can atone for the two deaths he had to cause before the first film.