Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodnight, Pumpkinhead

Stan Winston, 62, Special-Effects Artist, Dies

The special effects genius Stan Winston has passed into SummerIsle. Winston is responsible for many memorable film monsters, such as the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park" the alien in "Predator", and the egg-laying 'queen' in "Aliens". His first big break came when he designed the reptilian makeup for the TV movie "Gargoyles", now a cult classic. He directed--and designed the creature in--one of my favorite films, "Pumpkinhead".

I really loved Winston's creations. Like the stop motion creatures of Ray Harryhausen, Winston's creations seem to have personalities or souls--qualities lacking in todays CGI dominated films.

According to Winston, the film "Pumpkinhead" was inspired by a poem by Ed Justin:

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.

(Note: Over at the IMDB, there's some interesting posts about this film from people with roots in Appalachia, who heard legends of such a creature.)

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