In 1958 in Ferren Woods, a small backwater town, an old blind witch, Ms. Osie, feeds a deformed orphan named Tommy; he is the offspring of Pumpkinhead. As Tommy eats, a car of six teens pull up and notice him. Convinced that he is some demonic monster, they chase him with switchblade knives and baseball bats; eventually, they corner him at an old iron mine, where they bludgeon him and drop him down into the mine, killing him.
Thirty-five years later, Sheriff Sean Braddock(One of the greasers who killed Tommy in 1958), his wife, and his daughter Jenny have come into town. Sean grew up in Ferren Woods and returned when offered a job as the local sheriff. Jenny has often gotten herself into a lot of trouble with the law, especially with her father, who was once a police officer.
At school, Jenny meets a group of wild kids, one of whom is Daniel "Danny" Dixon, whose dad was one of the teens who had taken part in Tommy's murder 35 years ago and has since become the town judge. The teens sneak off one night and pilfer Sean's car. Danny inadvertently hits Ms. Osie, and when they go to her cabin to check on her, they find a spellbook and vials of blood, which she is planning to use to resurrect Tommy. After Ms. Osie catches them, she orders them out. Danny knocks her down and escapes with a vial of blood.
Danny and his friends attempt to resurrect Tommy's corpse. Jenny notices Ms. Osie's cabin on fire and Danny and his friends flee. Ms. Osie is badly burnt and ends up in the hospital. Unbeknownst to Danny and his friends, the spell they'd attempted worked, resurrecting Tommy in the form of Pumpkinhead. Soon, Judge Dixon's friends begin to meet grisly deaths.
Jenny's father investigates and begins to come to terms with the fact that Tommy is responsible for the murders. Ms. Osie dies, but not before revealing to Sean some clues. Sean discovers the connection between the victims and Pumpkinhead, realizing that the judge is next.
Judge Dixon calls his posse to assist him in killing whatever is murdering his friends. Before they can arrive however, Pumpkinhead brutally murders Judge Dixon. Now that Tommy has avenged his own death, he begins going after Danny and his friends (for fleeing instead of helping Ms. Osie). Sean and the town doctor go into the woods to find Jenny. By this time, Pumpkinhead (Tommy) has murdered Danny and his 3 friends.
He then chases Jenny to the iron mine. Since Sean had saved his life years earlier as a boy, and because Jenny was innocent of hurting Ms. Osie, Tommy allows Jenny to step down to her father safe and sound. However, the judge's posse arrives and shoots Tommy back into the mine, where he had died 35 years earlier. Jenny later apologizes to her father for all the trouble she caused. Just then, Sean finds an old toy fire truck near the mineshaft that he gave to Tommy as a gift for saving his life.
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