Monday, April 3, 2017

The Boogeyman

The Boogey Man. Directed by Ulli Lommel. Starring Suzanna Love. 1980

Reviewed by Mike Hauss

I first saw this film many, many years ago, on VHS. It was on the fabled video company label Wizard Video and was, if memory serves me correctly, a very good transfer. The film was originally distributed by the notorious producer/distributer Jerry Gross, he is most infamously known as the producer of the rabid-hippie film; I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (which was released by Gross’ distribution company, Cinemation Industries). Upon release I DRINK YOUR BLOOD was paired up with the Del Tenney film Voodoo Bloodbath; which Gross had acquired and it was renamed I EAT YOUR SKIN, creating one of the most memorable double bills ever.

2 Roman Catholic thumbs up! 

Let me get this out there right now, I am a fan of the film and have been since that first view all those years ago. I think that it’s a thought provoking tract on fantasy and reality merging, and while it does borrow here and there from other horror films, what fucking film doesn’t? And I honestly believe that the film has improved with age and was an adroitly directed film with some interesting angles and eerie scene compositions. The fact that a spirit is trapped inside a mirror, which is off-putting to some people, is a point of interest to me as the mirror has been used through the ages as an instrument of captured souls, so why not in a horror film?

And really wasn’t Snow White a horror film after all with its elements of sorcery and not lest the mirror featured, that had been a confessor and soothsayer of the truth to its dark lord, the evil queen. Another point is the title, which incorporates another fairy tale staple along with the mirror and manufacturers a malevolent presence into the film in its contemporary setting. This is one movie that can’t escape it’s past, which is ultimately what the two-young people in the flashback can’t do. In my mind, The Boogeyman while at times amazingly crass, is a bold mixing of elements of reality and imagination, steeped in the fairy-tales of our youths, to create a jarring juxtaposition of extremes to really infuse a wicked sense of deceptive reality.

A young girl named Lacey and her brother Willy are spying on their mother and her boyfriend preparing to do some shagging when they are noticed by their mother and Willy is taken into his room and tied to his bed by the boyfriend and Lacey sent to her room.  The children young as they are, were watching in fascination as the grown-ups were looking to play games of an adult nature, the boyfriend had a stocking placed over his head by his lover and their sexual games were going to turn dark and violently forbidding.  Lacey slips out and unties her brother, bringing him a large knife from the kitchen, he thus slips into the bedroom of his mother and repeatedly stabs the man over and over, in front of a large dressing mirror. The two young sibling’s co-conspirators in the death of this man, must carry this heavy burden through their remaining years. The boogeyman may be the evil spirit that eventually harasses them, but the ultimate burden of that night, is what controls these two, and is the real evil entity in this story, the traumatic scar from their youths, they can never outgrow or escape.

Texas Chainsaw window washer must've cleaned this.

The film jumps forward twenty years and Lacey (Suzanna Love) has married a man named Jake (Ron James) and has a son, they live on her Aunt and Uncle’s farm along with the now speechless Willy (Nicholas Love). He has not spoken a word since that dreadful night twenty years ago. Lacey has reoccurring nightmares, where she is tied to a bed and stabbed by an unseen entity. As the two siblings fight their way through the web of remembrance of that faithful night, Lacey’s husband Jake, after attempting to help her with a visit to a psychiatrist (John Carradine), decides that she must face the house where this dreadful occurrence had taken place. While at the house, which is under new ownership, Lacey sees the evil entity within a mirror and reacts by breaking the mirror with a chair, sending broken pieces flying about. Jake takes the mirror with them to fix it, but a shard of glass is left at the house, which unleashes the killer who murders those in the house. The shards of glass hold the entity inside it and he begins a bloody rampage, using Lacey's body, until a local priest is brought in after that shard of glass that had lodged in Lacey's eye, and taken control of her is removed by the priest, costing him and Jake's life in the process, The priest before dying thus destroys the glass, by throwing it into the sink, destroyed by water, as are the other pieces that are thrown down a well. A final shard of glass has not been destroyed and the ending allows the piece to take control of Lacey’s body again, leaving the film open ended and begging for a sequel.

1980's cocaine eyepatch accessory

The film is not perfect and some of the kills seem a little tacked on to help boast the kill count. When the flick stays on the dysfunctional family unit, the plot is very cohesive and the action plays out well, but the additional kills, while being performed by the mirror bound killer, have a bit of a distractive effect on the movie overall. I though, highly recommend it, and think that while some lag may happen throughout the proceedings, the mixing of reality, fairy tales and urban legends, help make this film an interesting attempt, that while wavering a bit, does ultimately succeed!


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