Sunday, May 08, 2011

Midnight movie madness : Pumpkinhead

Yeah, I also thought I could continue from my last ESSENTIAL ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR post but like always there are other things that have come up since Yesterday. So the big G - man and the surfer dude have to wait till next time.

By the way, the picture above is from the website of french artists Jean and Thomas Frisano and you should really check out all their beautiful artwork. They have done a lot of work for the french editions of the Marvel comics that are published under such names like STRANGE, NOVA and SPIDEY.

I still have some of the issues I bought when I was over there a long time ago on a foreign exchange program. They really saved my life and kept me sane when I was down there because my exchange partner was only interested in soccer and I was only interested in comics. So we didn´t have much in common and I´m not sure if our teacher picked me as his partner to dis me or because he didn´t find anyone else. The only one from the family to which I had a good relationship was the grandpa who knew some words in spanish and always invited me to a glass of wine.

But I still have the french comics I got there especailly the HULK comic that contained the BI - BETE story drawn by Sal Buscema and inked by Ernie Chan. It´s printed on glossy paper and still looks pretty good for its age. Man, I think I have this story in at least 6 different versions, the german pocketbook version,

the german floppy version, the french version, the spanish version in color

and the BIBLIOTEKA MARVEL version that´s in the manga format and in black and white.

And I bet if it was re - released as a new hardcover I would probably buy it again.

Now the next post will hopefully be about the Galaktus storyline that introduced his herald Gabriel and while doing the research I noticed that the german cover for the first issue of the saga was a bit different than the original cover. Here is the cover to FANTASTIC FOUR 120.

And here´s the cover to DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER 117.

You may notice that the picture is larger and somebody obviously added the top of the buildings and the legs of the people. The composition of the picture works much better and the whole cover looks more open.

Maybe I´m a bit biased because that´s the version I´m familiar with ( coverprice 1,50 Deutsche Mark back when Germany used to have real currency ) but the original version looks a bit cramped and tiny. And don´t worry, I don´t need the covers for the next ESSENTIAL ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR post since I´m using the black and white pages for that. Which is appropiate. I think I might post some color pages to show how they compare to the black and white pages. But that´s it.

So. Pumpkinhead. Most VERTIGO readers will now be thinking about Merv Pumpkinhead, a supporting character from Neil Gaiman´s SANDMAN comic but this is not about him.

You know, it´s all Ami Dolenz´s fault. After my last movie related post about LOGAN´S RUN I thought I wouldn´t be doing another movie post so soon but as always life can be funny that way. Sometimes a certain theme or topic keeps popping up again and again and I´m wise enough now to listen when the universe is trying to say something. Now I called this post MIDNIGHT MOVIE MADNESS and not POP CULTURE ICONS since I´m not sure if PUMPKINHEAD is such a big icon of pop culture and because I started this post at midnight but I probably won´t be able to finish it before PUMPKINHEAD 4 - BLOOD FEUD starts which will be shown on PRO 7 at one o´clock tonight. A really weird case of sinchronicity since I just watched the first movie Today.

I mentioned the post about LOGAN´S RUN and in the post I put up a link for an extensive article about the movie from John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film / TV . You may remember - if you read the last post - that he was doing a LANCE HENDRICKSEN BLOGATHON and one of the movies mentioned there was - PUMPKINHEAD.

Now at that time I kind of remembered it in the back of my mind but there were other things to keep me occupied. So Yesterday I wanted to watch a bit from JAWS ( there was nothing better on tv ) but while zapping I chanced upon SHE´S OUT OF CONTROL with Tony Danza and Ami Dolenz who´s probably best known for her part in this movie.

In the movie she plays a girl that makes the transformation from ugly duckling to Playboy centerfold - much to the chagrin of her father - and this is also the movie where I saw my first bouncing action - before the term bouncing action was even invented.

Now besides having the voluptuous Ami in the movie it´s also pretty funny and Tony Danza is just brilliant as the father who suddenly sees his innocent daughter as the object of all perverts. Especially when he counterattacks by becoming the best friend of one of the candidates for helping his daughter lose her virginity - thus making him totally uninteresting for her.

Ami Dolenz also stars in STEPMONSTER, a funny comedy ( on which Roger Corman was executive producer ) that has a comic connection. Amy plays the busty main object of desire of our lead character in the movie.

In STEPMONSTER a boy finds out that the woman who is going to become his Stepmom is a monster called Kropotkin who will devour his father during the wedding night. And not in the way you read in those Dear Playboy letters. He tries to tell this but nobody wants to listen and those that do listen tell him it´s totally understandable to see his " new Mom " as some kind of monster. So he has to kill it himself.

Luckily there is a horror comic in the local comicshop about the Kropotkins and how to get rid of them. Now the Kropotkin monsters are totally invented for the movie and are not in any monster encyclopedia so don´t start looking. As is the aforementioned comic so there´s no need to annoy your local comic dealer. See, this is the first connection to comics in the movie. The second one is at the end of the movie when father and son talk about comics and which where their favorite heroes.

The son is a bit surprised when his father tells him that his favorite hero as a kid has always been Aquaman.

When asked why he says : As a kid you can´t bend steel and it´s dangerous trying to fly but anyone can swim underwater and pretend to be the king of Atlantis. I´m not sure if that was influenced by any parent gropus who wanted to put " don´t go jumping off any roofs pretending to be Superman " into the movie or not but it does make sense.

Another movie in which Ami Dolenz appeared is PUMPKINHEAD 2 and I´m not sure if I´ve seen this one. See, I knew we would come back to PUMPKINHEAD.

The 1988 horror movie was the debut of special effects maestro Stan Winston as director and has an impeccable Lance Hendricksen as the main character.

The role of Ed Harley fits HENRIKSEN like a well - worn, workman’s glove. Ed runs a small back road store. A humble sign declares " Harley’s Groceries " and it’s all kinds of charming when you notice the sign has been personally updated by hand to include " And Son. "

That´s just a short excerpt from the brilliant review you can find on KINDERTRAUMA which is, as the name says, a great blog about all those things that scared and traumatized you as a kid ( but you should have seen the movie before reading it since it contains some spoilers ). Although it wasn’t a huge success upon original release, PUMPKINHEAD’s reputation has solidified over the years and it’s easy to identify it now as one the stronger and more original ( not to mention atmospheric ) horror films of its decade that spawned at least 4 sequels.

I´m not sure about the one I just saw, PUMPKINHEAD 4 - BLODD FEUD but I think one of the movies was a tv production. As for the original movie if you haven´t seen it you should definitely check it out and sorry, no download link today since you should be able to find it in any good DVD shops. Not having one of the most original plots it´s still very entertaining and captivating mainly for the eerie mood it manages to convey and of course main man Lance Hendricksen. From all the PUMPKINHEADS movies this is the best one.

Now PUMPKINHEAD was one of the licenses DARK HORSE had together with TERMINATOR, PREDATOR and ROBOCOP. I have issue 1 of PUMPKINHEAD - RITES OF EXORCISM somewhere in the vastness of my comic collection but with the times I had to move from room to room I have no idea where it might have ended up.

For some reason I never got the next one and I´m also not sure if it told the story of the movie or not. I mainly got it for the art by the brilliant Shawn McManus.

The comic was supposed to be a four part mini - series but - at least according to my research - only two issues were published. The second one ended in a cliffhanger leaving readers with the prospect of a winged Pumpkinhead that would have appeared in the third issue. So, I can´t recommend the comic since I don´t remember too much of it but if you are a fan of Mr. McManus you should definitely give it a look.

And you should definitely give the first PUMPKINHEAD movie a look ( or watch it again like I did ). It´s a bit difficult to give a final verdict when you have only seen part 1 and 4 of a series but while the special effects are much better in the latter it doesn´t reach the horrifying mood of the first one. Even the old witch is much scarier in the first one. Lance Hendricksen also appears in part 4 so I´m making an educated guess that the writers at least tried to connect them somehow.

I can´t say anything about part 2 or 3 but if they are anything like part 4 heavy drinking before watching the movie is advisable.

pumpkinhead wikipedia / pumpkinhead imdb

Well, that´s all about PUMPKINHEAD and I hope we can continue with the Fantastic Four in our next post.

To close things out Today´s clip is - of course - the trailer to the original PUMPKINHEAD movie. Enjoy !

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

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