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Ultra HD : Recommended
Release Date: October 10th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1988

Pumpkinhead - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray [Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook]

Overview -

Spooky season continues with the return of Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead to physical media! This 1988 creature feature arrives in 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Scream Factory with a gorgeous new 2160p transfer aided by Dolby Vision HDR and a great selection of previously produced supplements for fans to enjoy. Although Scream hasn’t added any new supplements for this upgrade from their 2014 Blu-ray, the new transfer is a night-and-day improvement over the previous Blu-ray, making this a Recommended release!

When a group of teenagers inadvertently kill his only son, Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen, Aliens) seeks the powers of a backwoods witch to bring the child back to life. But instead, she invokes "the pumpkinhead" – a monstrously clawed demon which, once reborn, answers only to Ed's bloodlust. But as the creature wreaks its slow, unspeakable tortures on the teens, Ed confronts a horrifying secret about his connection to the beast – and realizes that he must find a way to stop its deadly mission before he becomes one with the creature forever. Also starring Jeff East (Deadly Blessing), Joel Hoffman (Slumber Party Massacre II) and Kerry Remsen (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge), this "atmospheric, moralistic tale" (TV Guide) delivers demonic horror at its blood-drenched best.



  • NEW 2023 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • In Dolby Vision (HDR-10 Compatible)
  • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Audio Commentary With Co-Screenwriter Gary Gerani And Creature & FX Creators Tom Woodruff Jr. And Alec Gillis, Moderated By Filmmaker Scott Spiegel


  • NEW 2023 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Audio Commentary With Co-Screenwriter Gary Gerani And Creature & FX Creators Tom Woodruff Jr. And Alec Gillis, Moderated By Filmmaker Scott Spiegel
  • Remembering The Monster Kid – A Tribute To Stan Winston – Featuring Interviews With Actors Lance Henriksen And Brian Bremer, And Special Effects Artists Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. And Shannon Shea
  • Night Of The Demon – An Interview With Producer Richard Weinman
  • The Redemption of Joel – An Interview With Actor John D’Aquino
  • The Boy with Glasses – An Interview With Actor Matthew Hurley
  • Pumpkinhead Unearthed (In HD) – A Five-Part Documentary On The Making Of Pumpkinhead
  • Demonic Toys
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Alternate Title Card – Vengeance: The Demon

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1/2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
October 10th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Full disclosure: This is my first experience with Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead. After reading up on it and talking with friends who have seen the film, it struck me how much this little creature feature was lodged in the brains of others. I found it to be rather thin narratively, though I’d even chalk that up to the type of horror films being released in the late 1980s and how they prioritized kills over storytelling. Stan Winston’s direction seems confident and the production design, special effects and lighting are all terrific, adding up to a scare tale that’s actually given weight by caring about the execution. While the story still let me down, the titular creature and its war on a bunch of rambunctious teens did not.

Pumpkinhead has a rather simple story. The movie opens on Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) as a small child in 1957, watching as a man is caught and killed by a monster after being turned away for shelter by Ed’s father. Flash forward to the present and Ed is a widowed father living in the country with his young son, Billy (Matthew Hurley). A group of teenagers riding dirt bikes stop at Harley’s store and decide to try out some tricks on the hills next to the store. Unfortunately, Billy is accidentally hit by one of the bikes and soon dies. Ed then visits a witch and offers her gold to revive Billy, but she cannot wake the dead. The witch proposes a different solution: revenge, but at a personal cost to Ed. Soon, Pumpkinhead rises from the grave to exact revenge on the dirt bike-riding teenagers.

I’ll give Pumpkinhead some serious points for cutting straight to the chase. It feels like Stan Winston deeply understands that money and time are better spent on the effects and sequences with the creature rather than the story, as it’s all a loose myth brought to the present. And when you have people like Lance Henriksen carrying out those trope-riddled story points, you luckily have the added benefit of someone who’s more than up for the job. Henriksen’s performance is a highlight.

I was probably most taken with the terrific sets and wire work they produced for the key creature sequences, as they really stand above similar horror films released during the same period. It actually reminded me a lot of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead in just how well every item was placed and utilized on the set, adding beautifully to the clearly artificial environment they’re working under. If this is a dark, twisted fairy tale, then Winston gives that idea weight by turning familiar environments into hellscapes. Much less can be said about Pumpkinhead’s peers, and I thank it for that.

For another take on the film, check out 2014 Scream Factory Blu-ray Review

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays 


Pumpkinhead is here to exact revenge in 4K with a two-disc release that comes housed in a steelbook with glossy art showing off an artist approximation of the Pumpkinhead creature in close-up. The 4K disc is a BD66 and only offers the feature and commentary, while the BD50 Blu-ray offers the standard feature and all of the supplements. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio and video, explore chapters and select bonus features.


Video Review


Our fellow HDDer M. Enois Duarte wrote about the 2014 Blu-ray release of Pumpkinhead way back then, and he remarked that the transfer didn’t exactly rise to high-definition demands of the time. That’s why I’m elated to report that this new HEVC-encoded 2160p presentation sourced from a brand-new 4K scan of the original camera negative is nothing short of a night-and-day upgrade over the previous release. From the opening live-action footage, I was taken with how much detail was able to be retrieved in a film that’s shot primarily in very, very low lighting. Smoke, flashes of light and dirt all fly across the screen during the heightened sequences, and the encode handles it all wonderfully without any detail getting lost. Flesh tones look terrific and tuned in just right, plus the titular Pumpkinhead truly looks remarkable in this presentation. The wire work to hold up the puppet was very well hidden in the production design, and the new transfer luckily didn’t expose any of it. 

Black levels are similarly terrific and the Dolby Vision HDR layer really pulls the most out of the shadows and darker colors here without blowing out any of the details. For such a darkly-lit film, I’d even argue that Dolby Vision HDR is crucial for presenting every little detail, and luckily the HDR grade pays deep respect to Stan Winston’s original vision. Outdoor location footage is stunning, with clear blue skies and a healthy layer of grain. Source looks to be in terrific condition, as I didn’t notice any damage throughout the presentation.

Some added context: I compared some caps from the 2020 steelbook Blu-ray edition from Scream that was sourced from a 4K scan of the interpositive and can confirm that this new presentation still looks much better overall.

Audio Review


Without taking a look at the 2014 Blu-ray that I do not have, I cannot confirm if the DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1 tracks presented here are the same from the previous release. I flipped back and forth between the tracks a few times during the film and both found them to be very clean, though I give the edge to the 5.1 track since it provides a better surround experience with effects being directed to multiple channels. This isn’t a film with a very boastful soundscape, but those heightened sequences with the creature show off just how well done all the audio design was for the film. I didn’t notice any hiss or differences in the added effects, and thought dialogue and the score were balanced very well in both tracks.

Special Features


Alright, now for some slightly disappointing news. Scream has ported over everything from their previous Blu-ray releases of Pumpkinhead, but they’ve only added a single new special feature – an alternate title card presentation with the title Vengeance: The Demon. That all said, the supplements package that Scream already produced is absolutely nothing to shake a stick at. There are hours of interviews with cast and crew to dig through, plus a great tribute doc dedicated to Stan Winston. While some may be disappointed by the lack of newly produced supplements, at least everything has been carried over from the previous releases.

Disc 1: 4K Blu-ray Feature

  • Audio Commentary with co-screenwriter Gary Gerani and creature & FX creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, moderated by filmmaker Scott Spiegel

Disc 2: Blu-ray Feature & Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with co-screenwriter Gary Gerani and creature & FX creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, moderated by filmmaker Scott Spiegel
  • Remembering the Monster Kid – A Tribute to Stan Winston (HD 49:11)
  • Night of the Demon – An interview with producer Richard Weinman (HD 16:28)
  • The Redemption of Joel – An interview with actor John D’Aquino (HD 14:02)
  • The Boy with Glasses – An interview with actor Matthew Hurley (HD 14:30)
  • Pumpkinhead Unearthed (HD 63:59)
  • Demonic Toys (SD 4:50)
  • Behind-the-scenes footage (SD 7:11)
  • Still gallery (HD 13:39)
  • Theatrical trailer (HD 1:39)
  • Alternate Title Card – Vengeance: The Demon (HD 2:32)

Pumpkinhead returns to exact vengeance, this time in 4K Ultra HD! Courtesy of Scream Factory, Pumpkinhead is here to ring in spooky season with a brand-new 4K scan from the original negative that easily beats out previous releases. Although there’s a single new supplement produced for this upgrade, fans will find much to enjoy in this Recommended release. Now, don’t make any shady deals with witches this season!

Standard non-SteelBook Pumpkinhead 4K UHD  Collector's Edition also available: