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June 11, 2024
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer

In This Episode

Halle and Alison find a witch to help them get revenge as they ruin Pumpkin Head.

Follow @ruinedpodcast on Instagram and Twitter for show updates!

Check out @theradiopoint and @crookedmedia for more original content!






[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Hello. Welcome to Ruin. I’m Halle.


Alison Leiby: And I’m Alison.


Halle Kiefer: And this is Ruined, a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you.


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. Halle. I did see you a few hours ago during this exact same thing. But how are you? What’s new? [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Nothing. Truly. Nothing. Just. Just working. Working on the railroad. I yeah, I have truly nothing new has happened. I saw Red Lobster is going bankrupt that’s unfortunate.


Alison Leiby: Oh, probably about time, but sad.


Halle Kiefer: I remember that was like, you know, you have something to celebrate. Like, you graduate eight grade.


Alison Leiby: Sure.


Halle Kiefer: That was always my. One of my brothers picks of a place to go. But my other brother hates the smell of lobster so much that he would have to wait in the car, which I did—


Alison Leiby: Through the whole meal?


Halle Kiefer: Well, and then we’d bring him food to take home. But it was very funny.


Alison Leiby: Sure. But I mean, what could he do? Also, it was like one of three options. It was like that TJ Fridays and then Chi-Chi’s, which has closed.


Alison Leiby: Oh yeah, I remember Chi-Chi’s.


Halle Kiefer: RIP Chi-Chi’s. As I always say.


Alison Leiby: Yes, constantly.


Halle Kiefer: How are you doing?


Alison Leiby: I’m good. I, Rizz has been very meowy all day. So I don’t know what that is. Sometimes he just gets really chatty. But I also like I. In the last couple of days, it did get warm enough to start turning on my air conditioners here.


Halle Kiefer: Oh okay.


Alison Leiby: And they are. I have those, like, weird, like. They’re not nice, but it’s a, it’s a level above a window unit. Like it’s like those, like those.


Halle Kiefer: Okay.


Alison Leiby: Like units that are like it’s still definitely is like coming in and out of just like a window, but there’s like something built around it.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. I like one of those in Greenpoint.


Alison Leiby: And yeah, yeah, yeah, heat and air conditioning.


Halle Kiefer: Okay.


Alison Leiby: Both come from the same device. So it’s like I have used it like more recently that night last used like my air conditioning. But I wonder if it’s been like kind of he’s been hanging out over, around it lately. And even when it’s not on I’m like, oh, is this just like puffing a bunch of weird smells and stuff into the apartment that, like, he’s really picking up on? I don’t know.


Halle Kiefer: Hey, maybe. Absolutely. I mean, you know, just so many pigeon mites and, you know, the.


Alison Leiby: Oh my god.


Halle Kiefer: Remember that time where when New York smelled like maple syrup.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: It turns I was like a fenugreek extract company—


Alison Leiby: From like a food—


Halle Kiefer: —factory in New Jersey or something.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Like a food, processing plant or something like that. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Listen it’s New York baby we’re enjoying all the smells of New York.


Alison Leiby: We’re on top. We’re all on top of each other. And that includes the factories. So, yeah, I don’t know. I, I really don’t want it to be air conditioning season yet, but it is getting warm here, and I, I do like to sleep. What? What’s your sleep temperature? Ideal?


Halle Kiefer: I sleep, I would prefer it to be hot. I did just buy a fan because I, I haven’t bought an air conditioning because this particular apartment is very cold. Like it it’s.


Alison Leiby: Oh yeah.


Halle Kiefer: There’s a lot of like shade on it.


Alison Leiby: LA apartments are weirdly like if they’re drafty and not a ton of direct sunlight, they’re chilly, like, for most of the year.


Halle Kiefer: 100%. That’s mine for sure. And so I did get a, Honeywell Turbo Force Power literally yesterday, Bi Friend of the Pod Dave drove me to target, and I got a fan. So for me, that’s it. I don’t I rarely need an air conditioning because I didn’t grow up with it like, I grew up with just like fans, and that was fine. What about you? Are you are you—


Alison Leiby: I prefer to sleep in the ice cold. Like, if the apartment is kind of warm during the day, I can deal with it. And a fan can be it for me. But, like, at night, I need freezing cold. I’ll set my air conditioner to 64 degrees at night. Just. Just to be freezing. I don’t know, I really need to be cold. And tis the season.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I’m like that in a hotel. If I’m in a hotel, I’ll turn it down.


Alison Leiby: Oh, yeah.


Halle Kiefer: As a treat.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Well, after this riveting conversation we did, you guys are just fucking chomping at the bit for more air conditioning talk.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Weigh in with how cold you like it when you sleep. In the comments. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And speaking of somebody who’s sleeping hot.


Alison Leiby: Okay, sleeping hot.


Halle Kiefer: The it hot daddy month continues apace. We are doing a movie I had not seen until I watched it for the podcast. And that is 1988’s Pumpkinhead. It is the directorial debut of special effects artist Stan Winston, and it has some incredible monster design. I, I hadn’t seen this.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: This is obviously a movie like I saw the cover of at blockbuster.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It sounded familiar, but I definitely don’t know anything about it, nor have I heard anyone ever talk about it.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s interesting because I really it’s it’s a really stood out. It’s like a perfect if you’re 11 and you know, and you played at somebody’s house, it seems like the kind of thing.


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes.


Halle Kiefer: But again, is it are they reinventing the wheel? No. Is there a disgusting monster named Pumpkinhead? There sure is.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, absolutely.


Halle Kiefer: And in case you love this, don’t worry. There is, there are two additions there. I believe three sequels.


Alison Leiby: Oh great.


Halle Kiefer: None of which actually went to theaters. There’s Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes, then Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud. So, you know, in case.


Alison Leiby: Well.


Halle Kiefer: We we love this. There is, of course. And it looks like they’re going to be rebooting it, which I, I guess I we shouldn’t be surprised, because they reboot everything.


Alison Leiby: Why would anybody want original ideas when you could continue to reuse IP?


Halle Kiefer: I just there is a movie as good as Pumpkinhead sitting in a thousand horror writers drawers right now.


Alison Leiby: Absolutely.


Halle Kiefer: And  instead of buying that those who are writers just sitting around in their drawers, you know, trying to, pick up work while they get it made, he also did, oh, he Stan Winston, he worked on Terminator, the first.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Three Jurassic Park films. Aliens.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: That makes sense.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Because Pumpkinhead is very xenomorph like has a xenomorph build. The thing, the first two predator movies.


Alison Leiby: Wow this guy’s been all over the place.


Halle Kiefer: And he has won, four Academy Awards for aliens. Terminator two Judgment Day. oh, that he won two for that. And then, Jurassic Park. My god. Wow. And I would say this is a pretty standout movie for the effects, but also I it’s a B-movie where they play everything very realistically, which always takes it up a notch to me.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: Alison, we always have Alison, watch the trailer for the movie. Alison, what did you think of the trailer for Pumpkinhead?


Alison Leiby: Well, I didn’t know what to expect when it started, but the first two seconds, there’s just like a horse running by at night. And I was like, I already hate the vibe of this entire film. [laughter]  I don’t quite get what’s happening from the trailer. I know that there’s like a witch,


Halle Kiefer: Great. Yes.


Alison Leiby: Who maybe is Pumpkinhead.


Halle Kiefer: Okay. All right.


Alison Leiby: But maybe not. It’s a lot of just, like, cuts between, like, different people and monsters.


Halle Kiefer: That’s absolutely correct.


Alison Leiby: I,  I didn’t enjoy looking at them. So the the monster is northern people. So scary overall. Scary, but complicated because I have also like, no cultural reference going into this and the way that other movies I’ve been like, oh, it’s this or like, oh, I know people talk about this. I’m just like, what’s Pumpkinhead?


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s interesting because I think of this as, I mean, at the time, I think this is a of a piece with, say, Nightmare on Elm Street. You know, it didn’t it doesn’t have the enduring legacy, but it’s certainly not worse than most of those films.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: There’s also a comic book series apparently that came out.


Alison Leiby: Oh.


Halle Kiefer: So I guess it was around, but it hasn’t endured. Perhaps that is why they are choosing to reboot. It’s also based on a poem called Pumpkinhead by Ed Justin.


Alison Leiby: Yes, we all know that the best, huge studio films are usually based on poems.


Halle Kiefer: I love that there should be more movies.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Based on poems. And I could read you the poem. I’ll read you when it comes up. Because the poem, of course, is a becomes a children’s chant, within the film. And we will read it. We always like to take a baseline scary from Alison and see where she’s at going into the film. Alison, how scary do you find the concept of. Seeking revenge, knowing what it might do to a man’s soul?


Alison Leiby: So. Like what? How scary do I find? Being the one demanding it? Or like.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Let’s go with that.


Alison Leiby: Or the or the soul being destroyed. Okay. I don’t, so I can’t tell if I like revenge.


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great.


Alison Leiby: I like, think that younger me, you know, when you’re younger and you just have less of an understanding of the world and the way other people might feel just because you exist within it and your actions have real consequences.


Halle Kiefer: Yes.


Alison Leiby: I think I was like more of a revenge person and like, more of a like, like this needs to be even and like, you did this. Fuck you. Like, I feel like I was more of that kind of person. And as I get older, I’m like, I don’t know, people make mistakes. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. And I think this is a movie where there is regret, but regret that comes after the, impact.


Alison Leiby: Revenge?


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Once revenge is set in motion, it cannot be. The motion cannot be halted. So I think that is we have to keep learning, which always seems like a great idea.


Alison Leiby: In in theory, it’s fantastic.


Halle Kiefer: In theory.


Alison Leiby: And in practice, I think it’s often.


Halle Kiefer: Two thumbs down.


Alison Leiby: Something people don’t wouldn’t do again.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And then finally, would you like to guess the twist in Pumpkinhead?


[voice over]: Guess the twist.


Alison Leiby: Is there a twisty twist? Or?


Halle Kiefer: I think at the end, yes, I think there is a, ah, at the very end that I really appreciated.


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay. I’m going to guess that based on the very unhelpful trailer and, what you just told me that. Pumpkinhead. Was turned into became Pumpkinhead because of someone else’s mistake. Somebody did something. This creates Pumpkinhead, Pumpkinhead is searching like trying to invent like avenge this kind of existence as Pumpkinhead forever. And I’m going to guess the revenge works. And they at the end, they, they do return to their original form. But that form is death.


Halle Kiefer: Great. Incredible an incredible guess once again, Alison.


Alison Leiby: Nice and vague and weird and kind of convoluted.


Halle Kiefer: And that, I think, does sort of sum up the plot of Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: Oh great.


Halle Kiefer: Right? Which of course it will center on a daddy, a daddy. We’ll meet, momentarily.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: For our Month of Daddies. Let us begin ruining 1988’s Pumpkinhead. We opened in 1957. We are out in the fuckin boonies, Alison. And we are out in the middle of God knows where. And we are with a man named Tom Harley. And he is, in his cabin with his wife and child. He is nervously loading his shotgun as you’re what to do. H is wife, Ellie urges our son Eddie to go to bed. He they all sleep in one big room. She’s encouraging him to say his prayers while his father is nervously waiting with a shotgun by the door. Obviously not a prime sleeping situation for a child.


Alison Leiby: I wouldn’t say so.


Halle Kiefer: Because something is outside in the woods. Alison.


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay.


Halle Kiefer: We see Tom go outside of his truck, and then while he’s gone, Eddie says, mama, what’s wrong with daddy tonight? Ellie tells her son nothing. Just close your eyes and go to bed again. You got it? It does. Either you don’t lie or you play it better. You know you can’t have it, but they can’t have it halfway, you know.


Alison Leiby: No you really can’t.


Halle Kiefer: But what Tom is actually doing is taking their horse and putting it from the pasture into the barn, because something is coming.


Alison Leiby: Okay?


Halle Kiefer: Tom goes back inside and Eddie watches his parents from his bed as his dad bar, puts a bar over the door. Ellie of course asks, Are we gonna be all right? Should we be afraid? Unfortunately. Alison. We see a terrified man sprinting through the woods towards their home.


Alison Leiby: Not great.


Halle Kiefer: We see him running through their cornfield, and he falls, gasping before a figure in the field. Don’t worry, it’s just a scarecrow. Just kidding. It’s some kind of horrifying creature that’s taller than a man and has the general shape of a Xenomorph from Aliens.


Alison Leiby: Taller than a man is a huge problem.


Halle Kiefer: Too much. Too big.


Alison Leiby: Though, I guess.


Halle Kiefer: Too much.


Alison Leiby: You know, it’s the mon– There’s no like. Is that Frank? It’s like, nope, it’s not Frank. You’re not going to like, stop and be like, I’m being silly. That’s clearly my neighbor. Like that’s I guess there’s some.


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah.


Alison Leiby: Kind of like instant fear that you can understand.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. It’s not my neighbor. It’s a 12 foot tall, demonic alien looking creature, with a long tail. And essentially, they took a Xenomorph from Aliens and they made it. It’s head a little bit more pumpkin like.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Makes sense.


Halle Kiefer: The man gets up, he’s is face is scratched, he’s bleeding, and he runs to the cabin door, starts pounding and he says. Alison he knows them. He knows the family and he pounds the door and he screams, Tom, please let me in. It’s going to kill me. Ellie, please. With her husband like we have to help him. We have to let him in. But Tom’s face is set in stone. He says this has nothing to do with us.


Alison Leiby: But. Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Well, it’s going to be a huge mess to clean off your porch. I mean, if nothing else.


Alison Leiby: His blood is going to be on your hands and deck. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And yeah, the man screams, what kind of Christian are you, for Christ sake? Eddie, of course, wakes up in bed and starts screaming. Why isn’t daddy letting the man in?


Alison Leiby: Oh, God.


Halle Kiefer: His mother runs to him and hugs him and said, he just can’t. He just can’t do it. Tom yells to the door. Get out of here. Leave my family out of this. The man screamed, that says it’s going to kill me. I didn’t do it. I didn’t kill that girl. Tom screams back. I don’t know anything about that. I don’t want to. I can’t risk my family for you, Clayton. And from behind the man in the darkness we hear a voice say, Clayton, it knows his name.


Alison Leiby: That’s not good.


Halle Kiefer: Alison, Clayton turns and runs back into the trees. And you’re not out riding Pumpkinhead, baby. The creature is on top of him, and we see a shot of Pumpkinhead lifting the man in the air like a rag doll, and we see little Eddie peering out the window. Oh God, seeing this man ripped apart, meeting his demise. We arrived not in the present or the 80s, where Eddie is an adult man. He’s now Ed and he’s fucking shacked. But he is loyal to his country roots. He still still lives in the area. We see him using a flamethrower to destroy brush. Around the farm. So you know they’re going towards the monster by the end. We just know the flamethrower’s going to come back. Couldn’t be happier.


Alison Leiby: Chekhov’s flamethrower.


Halle Kiefer: Excited to see it.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. We see Ed has his own adorable bespectacled son, Billy, who plays fetch with their dog Gypsy. And according to Amazon Prime, the dog’s real name is Mushroom, which I did think was.


Alison Leiby: Mushroom.


Halle Kiefer: A cute credit to the dog. We see Ed come up to the house and wash his hands with water from a barrel, and he has this very tender moment with Billy, where he has Billy come over to wash his hands, says, you know, growing up, my great grandmother used to wash my hands, and her skin was as thin as tissue paper, and it was so soft and it felt so good. And I just loved that. I was like, what a interesting specific from someone’s actual life.


Alison Leiby: Yes. 100%.


Halle Kiefer: That I just liked it because I was like, okay, so I maybe relate to these people and like evoked a real emotion.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And he says, last one in the house has to wash the breakfast dishes, and they run inside and they eat breakfast while Ed tallies up the farm expenses. And we see Billy feed Gypsy under the table and Ed says, which I think was like, this is a good pet thing. He’s like, you can’t feed it with a table if you’re gonna feed him, put it in his bowl. That’s just good advice.


Alison Leiby: That’s good advice.


Halle Kiefer: Billy tells his father that he made him a necklace and he hands it to him, and it’s like a little human figure, like a stick figure with a loop for a head.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And then the the loop is on a piece of twine, so again it looks like a kid made it, but it’s very cute. Ed loves it. He immediately puts it on and Billy asks for a story, and Ed tells his son tale of a grizzled farmer with a clever son who would grow up to do great things. Unfortunately, Alison it’s the beginning of a horror movie, so.


Alison Leiby: Probably not—


Halle Kiefer: Those great things are going to be the distant future if they happen at all. We see a caravan of teens driving up from the city to the sticks to go dirt biking, and in one oh, the truck that’s towing the trailer full of dirt bikes, we see Steve, Maggie, Chris and Tracey with Steve driving, and behind them is a convertible that is driving erratically.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Tracey is like, oh my God, can you not even drive? They say, no, Joel’s a great guy once you get to know him. Joel, the driver of the convertible and his girlfriend Kim immediately speed past the truck and veer into the lane laughing, having fun, driving dangerously like we all enjoy doing.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: And we of course in a bit of foreshadowing. Kim, the girlfriend of the convertible driving Joel, says, why do you always have to bring that rifle with you?


Alison Leiby: Oh God. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Joel says it’s like a Sylvester Stallone voice. He says, because you never know what you’re going to find in the jungle. Anyways, we know from the second Joel is introduced that he will meet his demise at the hands of Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. That rifle. That rifle is not going to save you from Pumpkinhead.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Meanwhile, we see Ed and Billy arrive at, Ed’s grocery store, like, sort of, what’s the word? I’m looking for a drugstore, but out in the middle of nowhere. Convenience store. It’s got it’s got groceries, but it’s also got.


Alison Leiby: Sure. It’s like a general store.


Halle Kiefer: That’s the word a general store with general things that it, the Harley and Son grocery, in their beat up truck. They pull in, and while the teens are driving, we see a man walking down the side of the road with a gun and a rucksack.


Alison Leiby: Great.


Halle Kiefer: And one of the girls asked Steve to pull over so she can photograph it again, it’s a human man.


Alison Leiby: Oy.


Halle Kiefer: And Steve says, I. Steve says I wouldn’t do that. People out here are weird. I heard a story where a guy killed his wife, and then ate her, just so the police wouldn’t find the body.


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay.


Halle Kiefer: A few points. First of all. What? [laughter] Second of all, That’s the craziest reason to eat a body, right? Like, okay, you’re a cannibal or something. You got an ulterior motive, but just to get rid of it.


Alison Leiby: But, like.


Halle Kiefer: Third of all. And here’s the question I was super eager to ask. Did you eat the bones?


Alison Leiby: Bones?


Halle Kiefer: Every goddamn one. Did you eat the body? You’re like, oh, that’s humiliating. I forgot about the bones—


Alison Leiby: Guess I got to eat those? Yeah. You can’t we can’t digest bones. But also, like, even if he didn’t. And I know that this isn’t a real story. That’s part of our world. Or technically, the movies.


Halle Kiefer: Yes.


Alison Leiby: Like, sometimes. Do you ever, like, look at maybe a plate or a bowl of food and be like, oh my God, I can’t believe all of that is like, inside of me. Like, I’m so full, like, like, you know, when you’re just like, oh, that sandwich was so big. And like, you do the volume to volume, like, now that’s part of my stomach. That must be my whole stomach. That sandwich was so big.


Halle Kiefer: I gotta be honest, I’ve never thought that [laughter] I deserve. I like that, that now I am thinking it. That’s very interesting.


Alison Leiby: I’ve like, had like a, you know, you hold a giant burrito and like, obviously it gets like crushed. There’s a lot of like physics and biology that like digest our food, but like I’m like, it’s it’s still all Matt like I didn’t.


Halle Kiefer: You cannot get larger.


Alison Leiby: I wait what?


Halle Kiefer: It’s not like you increase in size to accommodate a giant Chipotle burrito—


Alison Leiby: But I feel like. When I’m really full—


Halle Kiefer: Displaced your other organs.


Alison Leiby: I imagine a full burrito is just sitting in my stomach like a diagram. And like a medical ad for heartburn.


Halle Kiefer: That’s really funny, like Operation The Game.


Alison Leiby: But I think about, I mean, even if you ate everything but the bones off of a human, it’s the. From a volume standpoint, I feel like the police would beat you to the punch before you could finish it.


Halle Kiefer: I don’t think you be able to do the skull. I’m going to say it. I’m not going to challenge anyone on that.


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: It makes me think of when. When I was in high school, my brothers used to go to Chipotle because it was new.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: And so all the boys went and they would bring it home. I literally have to, like, take a 20 minute nap in between eating half of a burrito, take a nap, and then keep eating because it was so big. Human body was shut down because it was like too much.


Alison Leiby: Too much to digest. [laughs] Anyway.


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, the teens pull up to the general store. Joel and Kim pull up behind them. Billy opens a door. We see Gypsy run over and start barking at Joel immediately, knowing that Joel is the one who sucks, and we hear Joel say of Billy, look at this kids glasses. They look like Coke bottles. And everyone’s like, Joel, could you be an asshole to everyone we meet all the time?


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Maggie, goes over and asks, Billy, what’s your dog’s name? You know, try to be friendly. Joel runs over to the motorbikes and starts to unbuckle his bike from the trailer. It’s. He’s like, I thought we were going to get settled into the cabin, but Joel’s a bad boy and he fucking needs to bike. He needs to get on there and ride, Alison. So he takes off one of the bikes of the trailer and he drives off into the hills. Another truck with five tiny, filthy children in the back comes to the store as well, and their grandfather, Mr. Wallace, is there and tells him to stay put. Of course they do not. They immediately get out and start talking to Billy. When he goes inside to buy, groceries straight, Tracey starts taking photos of the children again. Rude. When their grandfather goes into the store, Steve is inside shopping. He said, do you have beers? He said, no, Ed says no, it’s a dry county. One of the boys, Jimmy Joe, takes Billy’s ball and the other kids are fighting over it. And his oldest brother, Bunt makes him give up the ball and say, you know who settles on bad ones when you act bad? And all the kids say in a chorus, Pumpkinhead. They say. That’s who got old, Mr. Foley. And he’s like, no. He moved away and his brother says, no, no, Pumpkinhead got him. He tore off his head and drank all his blood.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And then they are chanting the Pumpkinhead rap rhyme, which I found on deviantart.com, thank you @ChimeraLord2000.


Alison Leiby: And this is the poem.


Halle Kiefer: This is the poem that they are chanting as a nursery rhyme. 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 without a eraser plot, a plot that he is brewing. It’s when you think that he’s forgot. He’ll conjure your undoing. Bolted doors and windows barred. Guard doors prowling in your yard won’t protect you in your bed. Nothing will from Pumpkinhead. [applause] Inside. Thank you.


Alison Leiby: Beautiful reading.


Halle Kiefer: Inside. Ed hears them. And he flashes to that night that he was a child when he saw a Pumpkinhead haul that poor bastard off the ground and kill him.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: The kids keep chanting, and Tracey eventually says, stop it, stop it. Because all the all the teens are also freaked out.


Alison Leiby: It would suck to know it’s a real thing, and to have seen it with your own eyes and have it be like a thing that kids are rhyming about, whether they believe it or not. Like it’s just like, oh, can we not have like a rhyme to go with the horrific murder I watched at the hands of a demon?


Halle Kiefer: The kids all jump climb back in the truck inside. Ed brings up Mr. Wallace and Wallace says, oh, do you have my feed too? And it’s like, damn, I left it up at the house. Give me a couple minutes, I’ll run up Mr. Wallace is like I can’t. I don’t have time. Ed says, how about I drop it off at your door? You pay for this, and then I’ll. I’ll drop off the feed. I’ll go run and get it now. Wallace says great. I’ll meet you back at my house. Outside we see Joel driving back and forth with his motorbike. He does a wheelie, which is very impressive to Chris and Steve Tracey’s like, this guy’s just an asshole. Like, okay, like we got to deal with him all weekend.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Ed calls Billy into the store and says, you stay in here while they’re out there? You know I’m going to be gone for 15 minutes. I’m going to run. We’ll get a feed and we’ll go for. We’ll close up. We’ll go for a drive outside. Steve gets his bike off the trailer to join Joel, and Maggie says to him to encourage him. Steve says, well, he’s my brother. So Steve is Joel’s brother.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, Alison, as Steve and Joel start motor biking around these sort of. They’re like, hill foothills, grass covered foothills of the mountains. They’re doing wheelies they’re jumping off the hills. They’re going nuts.


Alison Leiby: Sure.


Halle Kiefer: Gypsy bolts out of the store. And this is seconds after Ed has driven off to go buy the feed. So Mr. Wallace is gone. Ed is gone. It’s just the teens. Billy was supposed to stay in the store, but of course, Gypsy runs out of the door and into the field where Joel and Steel see her biking. Billy runs after him. Maggie sees it, runs after him, trying to get him away from the bikes. Alison, not seeing Billy, Steve, jumps off of a hill and is barely able to miss Billy like basically has to like moving in fall in real time to not hit the kid.


Alison Leiby: Okay?


Halle Kiefer: Joel leaps off the jump and lands on top of Billy. The gang runs over to him, but things do not look good. Joel because he’s a piece of shit as previously established. Grabs his bike and runs back to his truck. Grabs Kim, throws her in. Steve is running after him like, what the fuck are you doing? Joel says, if we say I’m fucked, I’ve been drinking. They’ll fry me. He said he screams, Kim, get in the fucking car! Chris runs to the store, but there’s no phone, and Joel and Kim peel away in their car, ostensibly to go to the cabin they’ve rented.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Chris and. Chris and Steve run back over to Billy, where Maggie and Tracey are looking after. Maggie is traumatized. Maggie could barely talk. She’s so horrified about what’s happened. They decide. We’ll go to the cabin. There’s a phone there. We’ll call the police. Call an ambulance. Steve is going to stay with Billy.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And Chris, Maggie and Tracey get into the truck and drive up to the cabin. Billy is unconscious and is. His nose is bleeding, but is still alive. And Steve, not knowing what to do, puts his jean jacket. Alison. Ed returns to the store. He goes inside and sees that his son and the dog are gone, and of course he immediately starts to panic. He’s like, I haven’t got ten minutes and these teens are gone and my child is gone. He comes around the side of the store and he sees Steve standing in the field in the tall grass, and as he approaches him, he sees Billy’s body lying at his feet. Blood pouring out of Billy’s nose. Ed runs over to Billy’s body and runs back to his truck. Steve tries to explain it was an accident. Nobody saw him. Can I help? And Ed turns and just glares at him with this look of hatred.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And he puts Billy in the car and he drives away, leaving Steve standing there in the middle of nowhere. At the cabin, the gang parks and they have to go up a trail to the cabin. Tracey says, I’m not waiting around. She starts running up to the cabin to get to the phone. She opens the door. Joel and Kim are already there and she’s like, did you call for help? They haven’t. He she goes to call 911. Joel rips the phone cord out of the wall. Chris and Maggie join them. And Chris sort of puts Maggie in the couch. Maggie’s basically catatonic. Like she’s traumatized by watching this. Obviously.


Alison Leiby: That’d be me.


Halle Kiefer: They just watched a child get crushed by a motorbike. Maggie. Sorry. Tracey grabs the keys and says she’s going to drive and find a phone. Joel grabs the keys out of her hand. Chris goes to intervene and Kim stops him and says, please. Joel was in another accident a few months ago and a girl was hurt. He’s on probation. If the police finds out, he’ll go to jail.


Alison Leiby: Well maybe he—


Alison Leiby: That’s a huge old.


Maybe he needs to go to jail.


Halle Kiefer: This motherfucker should be in jail. This keeps happening. That’s on you.


Alison Leiby: Stop hurting young people or any. Any people.


Halle Kiefer: Chris and Tracey are basically like, well, fuck you. We’re going to go, well, then we’ll walk and find a phone. Like, maybe there’s not a cabin around here. And Joel tries to physically stop Chris from leaving. Chris shoves him and Jill picks up a log from the fireplace and bashes Chris in the face, knocking him out cold. So now Tracey and the girls are terrified of him, so they’re like, oh, things are escalating quickly. Meanwhile, Ed takes Billy home and puts him to bed. And I think we are to think Billy is too injured. He’s going to die. So his father is taking him home to die. He takes off Billy’s glasses and wipes blood off a lot of his face, and tells him a story about the old man and his wonderful son. And it’s genuinely so sad.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And they’re playing it very realistically. And Billy says, daddy, and he dies.


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: Steve finally makes of the cabin to, of course, be like, did, you fucking call number one. And Joel has physically trapped Tracey and Chris in a bedroom, so he is literally trapped them in there. They cannot get out. Steve says the dad came back and I told him was an accident. He looked like he wanted to kill me. We have to do the right thing here. Like we can’t pretend this didn’t happen. Also, that motherfucker saw all of us. What is the plan here?


Alison Leiby: Right. We’re all implicated in this at this point regardless, because he knows we were all together.


Halle Kiefer: I see that.


Alison Leiby: I hope that Pumpkinhead comes and just rips Joel’s head off and drinks all of his blood.


Halle Kiefer: Well, I have great news about where this movie’s headed. [laughter] We see that Ed wasn’t able. He stopped at the, general store, because he was gonna pick a Billy and then go to Mr. Wallace’s. So he still has all the feed in the back of the truck. So we see Ed put Billy’s body in his truck and cover it with a blanket, and they drive up to the sticks. So up into the foothills where the real country folk live. So it’s like cabins, dirt roads, you know, goats, horses. We’re all living up in the foothills, and he drives down and basically like, Mr. Wallace has a huge extended family, so he’s got the grandkids we’ve seen. And then, he has his adult children who live in other cabins around there. And he asks his adult son Ethan, who is this, father of Bunt and some of the other kids, at least.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And he said Ethan can you get your father? Ethan goes in, the, Bunk, comes over to unload the feed, Mr. Wallace comes out to pay, and Ed says, keep the money if you can help me. Do you know where I can find the old woman that supposedly lives in these mountains?


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy.


Halle Kiefer: The one that’s supposed to have powers. Mr. Wallace says. I’ve never heard of that woman. Ed says, I know you have. You’re from around here. Please tell me what you know. Wallace says. I gives him the cash and says, I can’t tell you what I don’t know. I don’t know anything about her. Ed leads in and he lifts the blanket and shows him Billy’s corpse. And he says, Wallace, please. Wallace tells the kids get inside, tells the kids don’t worry about the feed, just get inside.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: He says, well, who killed him and Ed said, there’s the city folks that you saw. Tell me where she is. I need to go find her. And, Wallace, says she can’t help you. All she can do is send you straight to hell. Alison, I got to ask you, what would you do?


[voice over]: What would you do?


Alison Leiby: I’ll go right to hell.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah.


Alison Leiby: I this this is too. Like. This is too much for a man to like. You already witnessed Pumpkinhead and a brutal death as a child. You now have lost your son in an incredibly tragic. I mean, there is no non tragic way, but, in a very tragic way. Yeah, I’m going to be like, tell me where she lives. I’m going like, I don’t I’m going to follow through with whatever I think is up there, because that is the only path for me moving forward.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. It feels like if you knew someone had powers, it would. How would you resist going to at least talk to her about the situation.


Alison Leiby: Especially in like, this moment, like the immediate grief of what’s happened?


Halle Kiefer: Yeah.


Alison Leiby: You would have to. I would.




Halle Kiefer: And, well, we’re all on the same page. Wallace says to him. I’m not telling you where she is. Go home and bury your boy. So Ed gets in the truck, he starts driving away and Bunt, the eldest grandson steps out basically further down the road and stops the truck and says, I know what you’re looking for. What’ll you trade me and Ed gives him a $10 bill, and Bunt says she’s up on Black Ridge. Her name is Haggis.


Alison Leiby: Of course it is.


Ed says, I want you to come with me and show me how to drive up there. And Bunt says, I’ll go part of the ways, but this woman scares the piss out of me. I’m not going to her out. So we see them start driving up into the mountains and at certain point, Bunt says, we’re on the road, I want out. Gets out of the truck and says, just keep going up this road. And when you find the cabin at the end of the swamp, that’s her. And then Bunt turns and runs straight down the mountain. Ed  arrives at a swamp cabin and he takes Billy’s body out and he opens the door inside there is an elderly woman staring into the fire. Her name, of course, is Haggis.


Alison Leiby: Okay, great. Love her.


Halle Kiefer: Her hair is blowing in a non-existent wind, which we love. We love to see it.


Alison Leiby: I love just a permanent wind blown look.


Halle Kiefer: And without even turning around, she goes. I’m afraid raising the dead ain’t within my powers. He’s he comes to her and he basically says, I’m not looking for that. And he takes all of his earthly possessions. He’s got jewelry, family jewelry, has coins. Money, pours it into an ivory cup that’s sitting next to her. And she tells him again, I can’t, I cannot bring him back. So what do you want, Ed Harley? He says, you know, when I was young, he would talk about you. If a man had been wronged, if someone been killed, you would call upon something in his name. I’m here because they killed my boy.


Alison Leiby: Hmhm.


Halle Kiefer: She says, have you ever heard of Razorback Hollow. There’s an old cemetery that people used to bury their kinfolk in. Their folk say is ashamed of. It’s in there. Bring a shovel and bring it back here. There are some things I gotta do to it before it’s of any use to you. Leave the boy here and just go. So Ed heads up to the cemetery at Razorback Hollow to dig up some sort of undead creature.


Alison Leiby: Sounds like a chill thing to do while you’re mourning the death of your son and doing business with a witch.


Halle Kiefer: We see a buzzard flies out of the cemetery at him, and he walks into an archway covered in human bones, just a skeleton arm hanging down, and he climbs up onto it. I love the design. It’s like this raised knoll in the middle of the cemetery, covered in pumpkins. So he climbs up on to when he starts to dig, and he unearths sort of a humanoid body, all dehydrated in a in a fetal position, and he drops it in horror. Sort of like, what am I doing? Yeah. And he slides down the knoll, but then he just shakes his head and he climbs back up and gets it back to the cabin. Joel waits near the door with a gun because now they’re afraid, like, oh, this crazy hillbilly is going to come and kill us because we killed his son.


Alison Leiby: Understandably.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Steve paces around. Tracey and Chris are still locked in the bedroom, pounding on the door. Tracey’s like, when we get out of here. Joel’s going to carry his balls home in a knapsack. Steve tells Joel. I’ll tell them it was me. I’ll take care you if you’re on probation. I’ll. They’re going to give me a slap on the wrist, but Joel says no. And Steve’s a real cuck. He can’t say no to his. His brother, unfortunately. Kim comes over and says, I’m starting to worry about Maggie. She’s still catatonic on the couch.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, we see Ed bring the body. He has dug up from the cemetery to Haggis’s cabin, and she has him put it on her big, witch’s table, you know, like a big table a witch would have covered in herbs and spices and stuff.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, kind of like a KFC situation.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Puts it down. And she says for each of man’s evils, a special demon exists. You’re looking at vengeance. Cruel, devious, pure as venom. Vengeance. Oh, okay.


Alison Leiby: Got it.


Halle Kiefer: Haggis lifts a knife and stabs it into the top of Ed’s hand and cuts it and starts draining his blood into a bucket, which he then starts using to resurrect Pumpkinhead. We see Ed collapse, faint onto the ground, and we see Pumpkinhead sort of start to rehydrate, and his scaly skin starts to split open like a cocoon in his big old Pumpkinhead burst through.


Alison Leiby: Okay, great.


Halle Kiefer: And again, he’s basically Alien from Aliens, but with, like, a pumpkin ish head.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: Which is horrifying.


Alison Leiby: It is.


Halle Kiefer: Hours later in the morning, he wakes and Pumpkinhead’s gone. And Haggis tells him, you can go now, Ed Harley. Now it begins. In the early light. He drives home and he barely misses being hit by an oncoming car. He stops his truck and we see Billy sit up in the passenger seat and he says, what did you do, daddy? But Ed looks at him and Billy is still dead. Back at the cabin. I’m sorry. It’s not daytime. I don’t know why I wrote that. It looks like it was daytime. And I meant to correct that. It is still obviously nighttime.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: This movie does go in and out. It does have, like, a daytime in the middle of the night situation. Visually.


Alison Leiby: The lighting, even in the trailer, is very kind of like warm backlit, just kind of like, oh, that must be day. But like, why would any of this happen during the day?


Halle Kiefer: Ed looks over and Billy is still dead. He has just seen a a vision back at the cabin. Maggie starts to come out of her, catatonic state. Steve says, fuck it, let’s kidnap Chris and Stacy and go to Mexico. So that’s the plan, Steve.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: You’re gonna all go to Mexico.


Alison Leiby: Sure.


Halle Kiefer: Abandon your lives. Also, again, people still saw you there. Even if Ed hadn’t seen you, Mr. Wallace and all those kids saw you. Sorry.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Maggie walks out of the house to get some air, and Steve follows. They’re telling Joel, you got to do the right thing and you got to do it now. And he runs out after Maggie. Meanwhile, Ed goes to his wife’s grave and we see on the stone, budded on Earth to bloom in heaven. Betty Lynn Harley, he tells her they killed our boy Lynn, and now they’re going to pay. And he digs his little Billy a grave next to hers while thunder starts to roll in. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Steve catches Maggie and she’s praying and she’s holding a cross on her necklace, and he says, Maggie. You’ve taken strength from this. We’re going to be fine. Which again, even if they even I don’t go Pumpkinhead, clearly you’re not going to find you all collectively covered up the death of a child, right?


Alison Leiby: Like you won’t be fine. Nor should you.


Halle Kiefer: And she could, but she. Yeah. And she looks at him and she starts crying, and he tells her. I’m sure that boy is fine. Alison Pumpkinhead reaches down out of the trees and hauls Steve up into the air.


Alison Leiby: Woah, Pumpkinhead is here.


Halle Kiefer: Pumpkinhead’s here. And Ed is connected to Pumpkinhead, presumably because his blood was used to resurrect Pumpkinhead. So when Pumpkinhead attacks, he then gets sort of a sepia toned vision, like a shuddering image. He can see the attack and he falls to the ground because it physically hurts him. This like sputtering.


Alison Leiby: In the at the same, like simultaneously.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He has like a psychic vision of Pumpkinhead. And so his revenge begins in the cabin. Joel tells Kim I’ve been a fuck up my whole life, but I guess that stops now. He’s going to do it. He’s going to call the police on himself. He’s going to make it right. He opens a door to let Tracey and Chris out. But just then Maggie runs the door screaming. It’s killing him! Maggie, understandably, as someone with a cross around her neck, we saw her praying earlier. She’s like, that’s the devil or something. That and it is a demon. So Maggie says, you know, there’s some sort of devil out there. Chris grabs Joel’s gun and runs out looking for Steve. They both run. Joel runs out after him and says, lock the door to the girls. Maggie starts praying and Tracey and Kim try to tell her what you saw out there. It wasn’t the devil and Maggie’s. Maggie’s like, you don’t even see you, bitch. It was. It was something like that. And they say, don’t worry, Chris and Joel. They’ll get Steve. They’ll stop whatever’s out there. And Maggie says, God’s the only thing that can stop what’s out there. Through the window as they’re talking, as Tracey goes to the kitchen to pull out a few knives to.


Alison Leiby: Smart.


Halle Kiefer: So they at least have a weapon.


Alison Leiby: Something.


Halle Kiefer: We see Pumpkinhead stalking around outside the window.


Alison Leiby: No, that’s so scary. It’s so large.


Halle Kiefer: It’s so good. Tracey looks at the knives and says, well, in case God doesn’t show. The boys come back sans Steve. They cannot find Steve. And Tracey says, rightfully so. We got to get out of here. But Joel and Maggie refused to leave without Steve again. It’s been a minute. You gotta leave without Steve.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s. It’s time.


Halle Kiefer: Leave without Steve. It just. And it’s a it’s a rhyme you can live by.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: Leave without Steve.


Alison Leiby: Leave without Steve.


Halle Kiefer: Nobody wants to. But in this case, it’s going to have to. They all walk out to the porch and we see Steve’s corpse dangling from the roof, held up by Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: So now at least everyone’s seen it. And he drops Steve’s body, and then he reaches down and grabs Maggie, and hauls her over the roof.


Alison Leiby: Oh.


Halle Kiefer: So Steve’s down. Maggie is now in the clutches of Pumpkinhead. Tracey runs around the house, with Chris following with the gun to try to figure out what the fuck’s going on.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Back at his cabin. Ed is having the vision of Maggie’s death. He sees Pumpkinhead carve a cross into Maggie’s face.


Alison Leiby: Pumpkinhead is religious.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. I think he specifically is evil.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: In a, oh, I guess, Christian or Catholic sense of the word.


Alison Leiby: Yes. That’s. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He’s not the devil. He’s a fictional kind of demon, but he’s a demon nonetheless.


Alison Leiby: Still. Yeah, it’s still kind of in that realm. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: But again, Ed is and can see psychically Maggie’s death in a vision. He’s getting his revenge, but it is physically horrible for him to see it. Also, we’re to understand, like Ed’s a good guy. He was just. He acted out of a sense of rage, which he shouldn’t have. Ed gets in his truck and he starts driving. He’s starting to, like. His nose is bleeding. He’s starting to, like, choke on blood. He’s physically experiencing it, and he drives. He makes it past to Haggis’s house, and he busts in on her and says, you have to stop this. And she says, oh, it’ll pass Ed Harley. This is what you wanted, wasn’t it? He says, no, this is wrong. I was I was wrong to ask for this. Can you stop it? Haggis says nothing I can do. It’s gotta run its course. And Ed says, if you won’t—


Alison Leiby: It’s not the flu like.


Halle Kiefer: It might be, though the way she says, look, it can’t be stopped. It has to run its course. Ed says if you won’t stop it, that I will. Haggis shrugs and tells him, then you’ll die too. And you’ll meet your final judgment all the sooner. Ed starts screaming at her. Damn you, damn you! Haggis and Haggis, replies the laugh. He already has, sir. He already has. And at this point, Alison, I got to ask you, who will survive?


[voice over]: Who will survive?


Alison Leiby: All right, here’s my theory. All the kids are going to die, like all the teens or whatever. And then Ed is going to. Kill Pumpkinhead or try to destroy Pumpkinhead.


Halle Kiefer: Great—


Alison Leiby: And then it will be like actually seem like it’ll backfire and he’ll die. But, like, I think it’s going to be like, there’s some story with him and Pumpkinhead from the original, like storyline we saw that’s going to be like, oh, and it completed this circle thing. And so Ed will survive.


Halle Kiefer: Great. Fabulous.




Halle Kiefer: Inside the cabin, Joel and Kim watch in horror as Pumpkinhead holds Maggie’s corpse and, like, smashes her face against the kitchen window and then rears back and smashes her head through, throwing her corpse into the kitchen.


Alison Leiby: Cool.


Halle Kiefer: Joel runs for the shotgun. Kim passes out straight onto the ground, unfortunately. Pumpkinhead then enters the cabin and grabs for Kim’s body. Joel attempts to stop it, but it’s simply too late. It’s simply too strong.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: It’s throws Joel across the room and then it grabs Kim. So we are down two. He has grabbed a third third for revenge. He stumbles out and we find Tracey and Chris running back into the cabin. He tells them it has Kim. They run outside and Tracey’s like well, where is it? They all look up and they see Pumpkinhead sitting at the top of a tree holding Kim’s body, and it drops her. Now it’s gotta be at least 50ft. It’s a huge tree. And she falls spine first onto a boulder. Breaking in half backwards. Now we’re down to Joel, Chris, Tracey, and Ed Harley. Ed arrives at the now empty cabin because as we’ve just seen, Joel, Chris, and Tracey, after seeing Kim’s body be dropped by some sort of demon, have run into the woods. They are like, fuck this.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: We have to get some distance between us and the demon.


Alison Leiby: I mean, go ahead and try.


Halle Kiefer: They do and they end up back. They end up in the sticks. So they’re near the Wallace’s cabins and they run up to a cabin. The person inside is credited as Old Hill Woman.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: But these people are from this area. They’re not fucking answering the door.


Alison Leiby: Yeah no door.


Halle Kiefer: They’re like okay.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, like some teens are here. They committed a murder or something happened, and now they’re saying something’s after them. We’ve lived through this before.


Alison Leiby: Yes. I don’t want to be a part of it. That’s not my business.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. They find a truck. They’re about to break into it when a hill man approaches them and fires a shot into the air and says, empty your hands, son. And Chris drops the gun and they try to beg him like, please, sir, something is chasing us. We just want to use your truck to get out of here. Do you have a phone? Tracey begs him and says, we need your help. Man says, I’m sorry I can’t help you. You folks is marked. Tracey says. What do you mean marked? Suddenly Pumpkinhead is there.


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay.


Halle Kiefer: He approaches them or it it approaches them.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And a shotgun blast rings out. They turn around. It is Ed Harley. He is a man of his word. And he’s going to try to help them.


Alison Leiby: Wow.


Halle Kiefer: Joe walks over to it and like a fucking idiot, starts to poke at Pumpkinhead, which is just on the ground. We’ve seen it shot once. It’s a demon, and everyone else says, don’t go near it. You don’t know if it’s dead yet. Joel takes his shotgun and shoots Pumpkinhead and says, it’s dead, of course. Bad news it’s not dead.


Alison Leiby: No it’s not.


Halle Kiefer: Pumpkinhead lunges up and grabs Joel’s shotgun out of his hand and rams the shotgun through its chest, through his chest, skewering him and lifting him up in the air.


Alison Leiby: Pumpkinhead is, like, active.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He’s— [both speaking]


Alison Leiby: It’s not just like I’m going to fling you over here or I’m going to, like, tear something off and, like, leave you. It’s like I’m going to make a little bit of a spectacle.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Meanwhile, a dog attacks Ed and drags him to the ground as if he wasn’t dealing with enough. But he’s able to shake, shake off the dog. Tracey and Chris in this chaos. Run on, run to the next cabin. It is, of course, Mr. Wallace’s cabin. And the entire Wallace family has, like, battened down the hatches. Bunt the son that showed Ed to the grandson that showed Ed to Haggis this place says, are you sure that thing won’t hurt the animals? Wallace, says. No, no, it only kills what it’s summoned to kill that and whoever gets in its way. But don’t worry. It won’t hurt animals. Ethan tells Bunt, just go to bed again, paralleling the beginning scene. So we’re seeing again another father, Ethan, telling his son, Bunt go to bed. Ignore it.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: You know, 40 years later, whatever. Chris and Tracey continue pounding on the door, but no one will open it, Bunt goes into his room that he shares with his siblings and his sister. Hessie wakes up and sees him getting dressed. She’s like, where are you, where are you going? He says, I’m going to help those folks. Plus, I need to know if it’s real or it’s just a story. Hessie says, okay, well, grandpa is going to whip you and Bunt says, don’t worry, he’s not going to find out. He obviously will find out.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: When you disappear to go fight Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: And you, dad.


Halle Kiefer: Harley and die, Chris and Tracey, leave to go to the next cabin and are confronted with Bunt, Bunt runs over to them after sneaking out a window. They don’t trust him at first, but he explains, look, they’re not allowed to help you. They’re not going to come, but I’m. I’m going to try to help you. Back at Joel’s body, Ed has gotten rid of the dog, and Ed pulls the shotgun out of Joel’s chest. So now he has a weapon. Chris has a weapon. And this is really great moment where he picks up Joel’s head and he almost like cradles it like puts it to his head. This movie slaps. This is a great movie.


Alison Leiby: I can’t believe that like this. Had, like, no kind of like cultural propulsion. Like even like.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah.


Alison Leiby: For you not to, like, have, like, a lot of context for it. Like is a bummer because it feels like it should have been on par with some of the other movies around that era.


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. I, I think it’s of the same quality.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Especially the first one I don’t know about. The sequels, of course, might be horrible, but.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, are they all.


Halle Kiefer: Bunt takes Chris and Tracey to a nearby old abandoned church and it’s not even a church anymore. It’s like barely a structure of a falling down building. And he says, you know, 40 years ago they tried to start a congregation up here. Guess it didn’t work out. But this is a holy place. So I was thinking maybe we’d be safe here and Pumpkinhead couldn’t come in. So we at least rest for a minute. And Tracey says, okay, so what do you know about that thing that’s after us.


Alison Leiby: Right.


Halle Kiefer: And he says, well, it’s some kind of demon. Is the story. I didn’t think it was real. And then the sun went down and grandpa said that some, some out of towners did something bad. So we need to stay inside until Pumpkinhead is done. And according to legend, around here, if someone does something really bad, like killing someone, Pumpkinhead can be summoned. And they said, yeah, we were involved. There was an accident. A little boy got hurt and he’s like, oh, is that Billy Harley? Oh, I took his dad to see someone piecing together that. He had inadvertently helped get some access. [both speaking] And Tracey has the hilarious audacity to say, well, is his son okay? And Bunt says, well, I mean, if Pumpkinheads after you, no.


Alison Leiby: He’s dead.


Halle Kiefer: He’s really not. Chris, do you know where the car park is on Bradley Mountain? So basically where they park their cars. Can you take us there? We’ll get in our cars, will drive down the mountain, try to get some distance between us. Alison. Just then, Pumpkinhead enters the church, the skeleton of the church and starts stalking them through the darkened ruins. The trio is able to escape in the woods, and we see Pumpkinhead. Notice a cross at the back of the chapel, and he reaches up and grabs it and smashes it on the ground.


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: Pumpkinhead hates hates Jesus, hates the story of Jesus Christ.


Alison Leiby: But loves spectacle.


Halle Kiefer: He is a drama queen. It is a drama queen.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: He feels male. I’ll just say that I.


Alison Leiby: Yes I I yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And pounds on Wallace’s door and says we have to help them. Wallace, open the door. I’ll blow it off the hinges. Suddenly we hear gun cock behind him. And it’s Ethan Wallace’s son, Bunt’s father, and says, you’re not going to do anything of the sort. Wallace opens the door and says, get away from me and my kin. We are not helping you. Meanwhile, the trio gets to the car park and of course, Pumpkinhead has wrecked their cars and the dirt bikes. They the cars are literally torn apart by Pumpkinhead. I guess Pumpkinhead knows what cars is. It’s what I suppose is the takeaway.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. That’s interesting.


Halle Kiefer: There’s one bike that is still standing. Chris jumps on it to try to drive away, and Pumpkinhead appears, holding up the bike chain, doing his version of laughing. Pumpkinhead then does his thing and grabs Chris while Tracey sobs and throws Chris to the ground, Bunt is able to pull Tracey away and they run off into the darkness. Suddenly appear, Ed appears in front of them and says, come with me, get now get in my truck. So he’s get them in the truck. Abandoning Chris. So we are down to Ed Tracey and Bunt. They make it back to Ed’s cabin alive. But Tracey is now starting to, like, shut down. Like go catatonic is losing her mind. Understandably, Tracey finds Ed in the shed and she tells him, Mr. Harley, it was an accident. Nobody saw him until it was too late. I’m so sorry. And he shrugs and says he’s dead. She begged him. Can you stop this? Can’t you call it off? He says nobody can call it off, but I’m going to send it back to whatever hell it came from. And we see him pick up the flamethrower and fucking sparks that flame.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: Good to go. So? So as of right now, Bunt is inside the cabin. Sort of like trying to keep him safe. And then Tracey and Ed are in the shed where he is equipping himself for this final standoff against Pumpkinhead. Unfortunately, in the shed, Ed’s eyes suddenly roll back in his head, and as Tracey watches, they become yellow and bloodshot.


Alison Leiby: What.


Halle Kiefer: Like Pumpkinheads? Eyes?


Alison Leiby: Oh, no.


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Pumpkinhead arrives at the cabin and basically punches the door and grabs Bunt, dragging him outside. Fortunately, just the same time, Chris has crawled his way to them. He’s in bad shape, but he has. Chris is also there. Tracey runs to Chris and Ed starts to emerge from the shed with the flamethrower, only to knock over a pitchfork which stabs itself into his shoulder, kind of pinning him against the door.


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: So he’s stuck there. He can’t really use a flamethrower, he can’t get out, and when the pitchfork pierces his arm, we see Pumpkinhead also recoil in pain.


Alison Leiby: Oh, because they’re connected.


Halle Kiefer: Connected.


Alison Leiby: From blood.


Halle Kiefer: And magic. Ed looks into Pumpkinhead’s face and we see they now have the exact same veiny yellow eyes. And Ed’s face is becoming more monstrous by the second, and Pumpkinheads face begins to bear a striking resemblance to Ed. Ed is able to unstick. He he throws his flamethrower on the ground. He’s able to pull the pitchfork out of his arm, and Pumpkinhead screams in pain when Ed pulls the pitchfork out of himself.


Alison Leiby: Ed being the Ed we’ve been following this whole time.


Halle Kiefer: Yes.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: Ed is transforming, but so is Pumpkinhead. They’re they’re rounding out they’re becoming an average of them. Ed runs to his truck looking for a handgun, and we see Tracey pick up the flamethrower and fucking spark it up and hit Pumpkinhead. It doesn’t do anything. Alison.


Alison Leiby: Oh, what.


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, Pumpkinhead advances on her as Ed finds his handgun in the truck and we hear the gunfire. And he staggers into view and realize he didn’t shoot Pumpkinhead. He shot himself. And he falls to the ground because he realized that was the only way to stop Pumpkinhead. Suddenly, Ed wakes up. It didn’t take, and he literally is a bullet hole in his fucking temple. But he’s still alive.


Alison Leiby: Oh.


Halle Kiefer: And Pumpkinhead awakens, too. As soon as Ed opens his eyes, Pumpkinhead opens his eyes and grabs Bunt by the leg and lifts him up. And Tracey picks up Ed’s gun and. And much like in the fly, Ed asked Tracey, kill me. And he stands and we see his eyes have our demon’s eyes. And she fires several rounds into Ed. And when he falls, he hits the ground and his eyes flutter open. They’re normal human eyes again. And she and but look over at the destruction and Pumpkinhead’s body hits the ground and bursts into flames. Also. Chris has died.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Chris shows up just to die. Alison. Sometime later, Haggis reburies a body. In the cemetery up at Old Razorback Hollow. And when we see the body, which is desiccated and burned and gold, curled up in a fetal position, and it has some of hills of dirt hitting it, we see around its neck. It wears Billy’s necklace because Ed Harley is now the new Pumpkinhead. The end.


Alison Leiby: So. The Pumpkinhead that was fighting everybody like, disappears.


Halle Kiefer: Yes. It ignites. It totally burns up. And he becomes—


Alison Leiby: So there’s no like, second body. It’s just Ed’s body that is going to. Okay, so that’s wow.


Halle Kiefer: So apparently I think it’s like if you if the revenge is not it doesn’t simply drive you insane. It turns you into Pumpkinhead. You become a demon by seeking revenge through Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: And you’re only. Okay. But like so if somebody else summons Pumpkinhead like, let’s say ten years from now, there’s somebody like, I need revenge, blah blah.  She goes and digs up Ed’s body. That person’s blood goes into Ed’s body and he becomes Pumpkinhead when, Pump— Does that ed kind of cease to exist?


Halle Kiefer: I guess that’s a good question because, the implication is like, Ed was a good enough person to try to stop this. Hypothetically he hadn’t. It would have just killed, but it would have turned him into this, I guess. Yeah. So I guess so. I guess the next person.


Alison Leiby: Right.


Halle Kiefer: The corruption of seeking revenge turns you into a demon and you become Pumpkinhead. So I think, yeah, it’s a cyclical thing.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: And of course, Haggis isn’t going to tell you that. Because she’s a fucking bitch—


Alison Leiby: No of course not. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but yeah, I think you’re exactly right. I think that’s he will then be replaced.


Alison Leiby: I that make that quote unquote “makes sense.”


Halle Kiefer: That it’s like great. I guess you go to hell, I suppose. I, I don’t know if you’re in heaven after all this.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, because I’m like, did the reason Pumpkinhead, like the Pumpkinhead they dug up, was that because someone else tried to destroy Pumpkinhead and, like, swapped places with them, or was that, like, the one being like, you know what I mean?


Halle Kiefer: Well, I think so. When when he saw, Pumpkinhead as a child, the.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Man who said that he didn’t kill that girl. So I think we’re I think somebody evokes that Pumpkinhead. So my guess would be.


Alison Leiby: As revenge for that guy. Probably killing that girl.


Halle Kiefer: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking.


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: So. Yeah. So I think it, I think this is a cycle that has started a long time ago and have been okay. Pumpkinhead has been replaced several times, I think.


Alison Leiby: Okay. Got it.


Halle Kiefer: I could be wrong, but that feels right to me.


Alison Leiby: And that feels right to me.


Halle Kiefer: And let us know your thoughts, because we’re always could be wrong and and.


Alison Leiby: Literally always.


Halle Kiefer: And there’s simply no way for us to know anything other than what I’ve I’ve interpreted for the movie and then told Alison and, it’s like copying a VHS tape, you know, eventually.


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes.


Halle Kiefer: The whole thing starts to breakdown.


Alison Leiby: Fall apart.


Halle Kiefer: Alison. Are there any fatal mistakes other than the big one that you think that that was made in Pumpkinhead?


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes.


Alison Leiby: I mean, obviously, like, the seeking of revenge is the biggest one. But there are some other kind of more like I. If I witnessed Pumpkinhead existing as a child. I. When I became like, if my parents wanted to keep living there. Sure, the second I could leave, I would go live somewhere that Pumpkinhead wasn’t.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s that was my thought. It’s like you’re going to stay there, but I guess it’s like, you know, you’re born there. You’re from there, everyone you know, is there, you know, you want to keep your roots there, even if, you know, Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: It’s true.


And I guess if you only see Pumpkinhead, the once, maybe you’re thinking, okay, maybe that was.


Alison Leiby: That was a one time thing.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, hallucination. Or there’s something you can sort of explain to yourself why it’s not a problem.


Alison Leiby: I would say also the kids not calling for an ambulance when they hit Billy.


Halle Kiefer: Yes, Billy.


Alison Leiby: When they hit Billy. Because that could have then like, you know, become a whole other, like. Oh, and then the ambulance came, and then like, Ed goes with the ambulance, like maybe it became more about saving his life and less about revenge. So I feel like those kids also like in general, they should have contacted somebody and not just left.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And that way they have. They had doomed themselves from the beginning.


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes.


Halle Kiefer: You know, so there really is no possible other option. Like once Joel made that decision, forced everyone into it, then they were all going to be killed. And frankly, Ed Harley, I mean, he was punished for seeking revenge, but he did do the right thing and he did save.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: You know, I mean, he did he did the best he could at a certain point.


Alison Leiby: Yes.


Halle Kiefer: And you think that redeem you in some sense, but I guess not. I guess the rules of Pumpkinhead are set in stone.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. But other than that, I feel like once Pumpkinhead arrived. Everybody did the best they could to avoid. But like, Pumpkinhead is a, you know. Pumpkinhead is Pumpkinhead.


Halle Kiefer: Pumpkinhead is Pumpkinhead.


Alison Leiby: Old PH.


Halle Kiefer: Old PH.


Alison Leiby: Old PH.


Halle Kiefer: And then finally, where would you place Pumpkinhead on the spooky scale? Alison?


[voice over]: A spooky scale.


Alison Leiby: I think, the emotional sadness of this brings it up in scariness. I feel not down. So I would give this a five.


Halle Kiefer: Oh, okay.


Alison Leiby: Pumpkinhead’s pretty grotesque. Those deaths are. Super violent. But also it’s a demon being summoned by a witch who digs up a grave. So I know that that’s not like something I need to be afraid of. But. But from a film standpoint, a five.


Halle Kiefer: I think I’m gonna to say a four. I think that Billy’s death is horrifying. I love the effects. I love the witch of it all. I agree. Once you bring in a witch, it’s less scary.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: But I found it unnerving. And even the conversation with Joel and everyone in the cabin, it’s like, oh, this guy’s crazy. Like there’s some. There is something scary about him. And menacing in a way that worked for me. And yeah, just the idea at the end where you see, poor Ed in the grave and know that it’s him being buried until whoever, sees revenge again. I, it got me, you know.


Alison Leiby: Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: Oh, yeah. And this is apropos from nothing. We’ll have to do it eventually. But if you if you’re listening, there’s. Please go see, I Saw the TV Glow. And see it in theaters if you can.


Alison Leiby: Oh yes.


Halle Kiefer: It’s not scary in a traditional sense. It is very sad. And it is very like. It’s like an emotional gut punch. I thought, like, it’s not a tradition. It’s not a scary movie in a traditional sense. It’s like dread, existential fear, if that makes sense.


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I saw the trailer. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I was like, oh, I think I want to see this.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I think it’s on my I think if you’re someone who is, there aren’t a lot of jumps. There aren’t any jump scares or anything like that. It’s more of a contemplative, eerie. Yeah, yeah. Look at it’s sort of what what’s what life is and what is asked of us and what we are asked to put on the shelf of ourselves. And it was really good. So just a shout out to that movie and telling everyone to watch it.


Alison Leiby: That’s exciting. I want to see it.


Halle Kiefer: And then, I guess other than that, everybody, thank you for listening. And please.


Alison Leiby: Yes. Keep it spooky. Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re just as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat lossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy and Ewa Okulate.