Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer of Slash: The Boogeyman (1980)

“They say that when you break a mirror, you unleash everything it’s seen.” That is your premise for this wacky, supernatural horror film that is more indebted to the slasher film than you would think (hence it appearing in this summer series). If you can get past the bizarre, somewhat grotesque opening (an opening that definitely earned its Video Nasty label, and something I don’t really want to type out), The Boogey Man settles into a pretty fun, goofy horror movie. The film has the charm of an early ‘80s horror movie that is so shamelessly ripping off more successful horror movies (I can count at least six different movies The Boogey Man is trying to be), and it if it weren’t for the horribly misplaced tone of the film’s opening, then The Boogey Man would be somewhat of a under-seen classic of the genre.

One of my favorite things about this odd entry into the genre is how out of nowhere, and with about 20 minutes to go before the film is over, the film takes the oddest of detours. And it is here that The Boogey Man really does become more than just a supernatural horror film and becomes more of a hybrid supernatural slasher. The scene in question predates Friday the 13th and wears its Bay of Blood influence on its sleeve as four college students party on the beach (complete with fake hot dog cooking…I don’t know why that caught my eye, but the way this actress poked and prodded that hot dog as if we were to believe that’s how she cooks it…well, that was some of the lamest acting I’ve seen in a slasher movie) and are inexplicably slaughtered for their “troubles.”

The scene is complete with lame slasher clichés (before they became clichés!) like guys trying their hardest to get it on with their girlfriend in an abandoned something or other (located near the beach, naturally, since these types of slaying always seem to occur near water) before she puts the kibosh on his attempts by giving him the old, “Let’s get out of here…this place gives me the creeps” excuse. It’s odd that a film that spent so much time trying to set up its plot and trying to come off as a legitimate supernatural horror flick turns into a full-fledged slasher film halfway through.

The Boogeyman is schizophrenic; it’s trying to be a million different kinds of horror films (The Exorcist, Halloween, Black Christmas, Patrick, The Amityville Horror, Bay of Blood, and Carrie), yet I kind of loved it. For a horror film made in 1980, this movie sort of earns its reputation as a Video Nasty; it’s a gonzo horror film that still has that drive-in aesthetic that seemed to go by the wayside once studios started to figure out there was money to made by producing movies like this. I don’t know what the film was about, I didn’t know who the characters really were or what their motivation was, and I certainly didn’t understand half the time what the hell was going on. But, man, The Boogey Man is kind of charming in that regard. It’s a helluva a horror movie with energy and wackiness to spare, and considering the recent state of American horror films, The Boogey Man is a pleasant reminder of when the genre didn’t take itself so damn seriously.  Except that opening…you have to just forget about that opening.


  1. Now I'm intrigued about that opening scene AND the hot dog cooking. Will have to watch this soon.

  2. Yeah...that opening. Ugh. I guess it's rather tame by today's standards (and we're so jaded that I'm sure it won't really gross you out), but there's just something about using children in the way the opening does that really creeps me out.

  3. I've never seen this one, and damn if your 'it's not that great but sort of interesting here and there' review doesn't make me want to seek it out.

    The passing mention of another I've never seen, 'Patrick' is interesting too.

    I should let you and your brother know that I'm currently trying to compile a personal top 500 horror list... which is quite absurd and obsessive but it has me tracking down all the shit I can!

  4. I just finished watching this -- what the hell happened???

    (Okay -- as I typed this I realized I missed part 5 of 6 while I watched this on YouTube. THAT probably explains why they suddenly cut from the lake to the cemetery with nothing in between!).

  5. Wow, that part I missed was easily the highlight of the film, well, except for the guy in the "Triumph" shirt.

  6. Let's not forget that in this movie you can also die when the door to your medicine cabinet smacks you in the face; hard enough to knock you down but not enough to crack the mirror.