Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Boogeyman, The (1980)

Directed by:
Ulli Lommel

Before becoming one of the most hated directors of the new millennium with a very long series of downright awful direct-to-video dreck (usually based on real-life serial killers), German director Ulli Lommel was actually a filmmaker of some promise. THE BOOGEYMAN was made and released during that very busy period in the U.S. and Canada when slasher movies were all the rage. Borrowing elements from Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (including an eerie, similar sounding music score) and a few other movies, it's actually a more interesting, more ambitious and better-made film than most conventionally-plotted slasher flicks that flooded the market in the early 80s. Not to say this isn't without problems, because there are many of those here, but it's certainly a unique, vivid and original enough film attempting to merge slasher horror with supernatural themes. BOOGEYMAN also marked the first of several horror collaborations between Lommel and his then-wife, Suzanna Love. Love was a Dupont heiress who financially backed all of these projects as well as starred in and wrote or co-wrote them.
In the opening sequence, a traumatized little boy named Willy stabs his abusive/neglectful mother and her lover to death. Many years later, the now-adult boy is a mute (Nicholas Love) living on a remote farm with his adoptive parents and is having a hard time getting over his past trauma. Willy's younger sister Lacey (Love), who witnessed the crime, seems to be getting along a little bit better and is engaged to be married, but still has her emotional issues. Trouble begins when an antique mirror, which was in the bedroom the night the couple was murdered, turns up again in the home. The spirit of mom's lover somehow became trapped inside and now it wants to kill; using shards of glass from the mirror as both a conveyance and a way to lash out at victims.
Highly uneven in terms of acting and writing (and sometimes even unintentionally funny), but some of the directorial touches and visual effects are highly inventive and the cinematography and use of color are both excellent. John Carradine has a small supporting role as a doctor. Followed by two sequels; BOOGEYMAN II (1982) and RETURN OF THE BOOGEYMAN (1994), both of which liberally reused footage from the first film.


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