Dynamite Comics, February 2018
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Pumpkinhead is a new comic book series from American publisher Dynamite Comics. It serves as a spin-off to the same-titled 1988 horror film. The film performed poorly at the box office, but eventually built up a cult following and spawned several direct-to-video and TV movie sequels. It is written by Cullen Bunn, a writer whose work for various publishers we have considered many times before.
The original movie concerns a large spindly demon named Pumpkinhead, summoned by a witch for the purpose of meting out punishment. The creature is savage, and will kill anyone who hinders him in fulfilling his mission.
Pumpkinhead #1 mirrors the original movie’s story, in that it relies on a similar plot. Two small-town kids are run over by an out-of-town driver, who then fled the scene and refuses to surrender to the authorities. The children’s father then brings the victims’ corpses to a witch, and together they summon the vengeful Pumpkinhead.
However, the comic elevates itself from being a mere throwback to the film, by providing a couple of improvements. The first of these is by way of a flashback to the witch during her youth, depicting a ritual that explains the connection to the summoned demon. Second is the revelation that the driver that will be hunted by Pumpkinhead is not defenseless. It evolves that he is the son of a big-time criminal, and this criminal is influential enough so as to safely ignore the town sheriff, and, further, is able to hire his own witch in a defense of his son. The clues to the ongoing plot are planted throughout the pages: every witch has her own demon, and two demons will soon be in the field. We expect that the story’s climax, in issues yet to come, is a confrontation between Pumpkinhead and another demon.
There is also the matter of the price of summoning Pumpkinhead. This was the big plot twist to the original motion picture and will most likely be further considered in future issues. The comic’s story moves at a brisk pace but even within this first issue has managed to construct a fairly interesting scenario around the Pumpkinhead property. It is not particularly innovative, especially to veteran fans of the horror genre. But Mr Bunn has penned a serviceable yarn that at the very least significantly improves upon a B-grade horror film.