United Artists/Everett Collection
August 02, 2016 at 04:31 PM EDT

EW can exclusively reveal that Saw franchise executive producer Peter Block has acquired the rights to the Pumpkinhead franchise and plans on shooting a reboot of the horror series in 2017. Block is currently looking for a filmmaker to direct the project, which he will produce, and which he plans to be a theatrical release.

The original 1988 Pumpkinhead starred Aliens actor Lance Henriksen as a man who summons the titular, terrifying creature to wreak vengeance on the teenagers responsible for his death of his son. The film was the directorial debut of late makeup effects legend Stan Winston and has over time accrued a large cult following. Pumpkinhead spawned one straight-to-video sequel, 1994’s Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, and a brace of Syfy channel movies, 2006’s Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes and 2007’s Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud.

Pumpkinhead is one of my favorite horror films of the late ’80s, early ’90s,” says Block whose credits also include producing John Carpenter’s 2010 film The Ward. “Stan Winston sits on that Mount Rushmore of iconic filmmakers because of his creature designs, and that was his first directing effort. The creature’s great but the emotional story is wonderful as well. I got the rights to Pumpkinhead, and hooked up with a great young writer called Nate Atkins, and we developed our script, which is really solid.”

Block describes the new film as having a lot in common with the original but not being a point-by-point remake. “There is a similarity of theme and a similarity of story,” he says. “There’s a lot of Easter eggs for people who know the original — iconic shots and iconic lines that we’re going to use. But we’ve enhanced the setting, and we’ve expanded the characters somewhat, to give it a different kind of experience.”

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The producer hopes to start shooting early next year. “We’re just about to start going out looking for a director for it,” he says. “[We need] somebody who really understands why the first one is terrific, the emotional beats of ‘Is the revenge you seek worse than whatever befell you in the first place?’ But it’s also somebody that wants to embrace what I think audiences really want these days — a really scary, fun thrill-ride. You get a lot of people who want to be in this genre because they see the commercial opportunities. I’m looking for a director who has a love for the genre and knows how to get those beats for the audience.”

Block says the new film is currently titled Pumpkinhead and he is also looking to follow the lead of Winston’s first movie by using as much practical effects as possible. “I am a big proponent of practical effects,” he enthuses. “That was the great thing about the original. A lot of the films I still respond to most today, it’s because of the practical effects. We think that it’s going to be a nice slow reveal, lots of scares and lots of action in the beginning, and a great creature in the end, which everybody should be able to look at and say, ‘Oh, that’s Pumpkinhead!’ It’s not like you’re all of a sudden going to find that it’s some amorphous, nebulous, CGI wispy thing. You’re going to know it came from the Pumpkinhead family lineage.”

You can see the trailer for the original Pumpkinhead below.

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