Monday, July 18, 2016

She's Got Boogey Laser Eyes

Ulli Lommel’s The Boogey Man was one of those ‘80s VHS rentals that I always remembered in fragments. In an age before IMDB, trying to recall what “that boogeyman movie with a lot of mirrors” was called was a challenge that kept me up nights (or more realistically, occasionally really bugged me). Thankfully, there glorious era we occupy now not only lets me find that the boogeyman movie in question is indeed titled “The Boogey Man,” it also lets me rewatch it via Amazon Prime. 

Quick Plot: As children, Lacy and Willy watched their mother get it on with her boyfriend with a few too many giggles. As punishment, Willy is tied to the bed, leaving Lacy to free him with a kitchen knife and Willy to respond by stabbing the adults to death in front of a mirror. 

Twenty years later, Lacy and Willy are living on a sprawling farm with Lacy's in-laws and her young son. Willy, now a strapping young man in overalls, hasn't said a word since that fateful night, while Lacy has repressed the memories but is now suffering from horrific night terrors. Her husband convinces her to see a therapist, who hypnotizes Lacy into some sort of possessed state. Back home, Willy thwarts off a seduction by nearly strangling a horny neighbor, then proceeds to paint over every mirror in shame.

To get to the root of the problem, Lacy revisits her childhood home, now occupied by a pair of teenage girls and their younger prank-pulling brother (because it is the '80s and there was no other kind of kid brother in the horror genre). Convinced she sees the ghost of her stepfather, Lacy smashes a mirror hanging in the new occupants' bedroom.

Amazing death scenes commence.

Written and directed by the infamous Ulli Lommel, The Boogey Man is quite the product of its time. In her hypnosis, Lacy's a dead wringer for Linda Blair by way of Margaret Hamilton's vocal chords, while the main location may as well be located in Amityville, NY. Naturally, these kinds of time stamps are fairly endearing.

Half slasher, half ghost story, The Boogey Man is an oddly paced little thriller that doesn’t quite seem to understand its own story. We learn next to nothing about Lacy and Willy’s upbringing, including how the authorities dealt with a juvenile double murder. Why their mother’s boyfriend somehow turned into an Oculus channeling ghost twenty years after his death is never explained, which would be acceptable if the film didn’t spend so much time playing around with the mystery. At some point, the script all but throws nubile teenagers at the camera in order to up the death toll. Shakespeare, this ain’t.

But hey, poor storytelling doesn’t always result in an unwatchable movie. The Boogey Man is a mess, but it’s a neat one, especially if you’re harboring any form of nostalgia for late ‘70s horror tropes. 

High Points
Aside from the rather shocking youth massacre, the most unique feeling aspect of The Boogeyman is its super '80s, super synthy score, which casts a very offbeat yet welcome tone over the action

Low Points
So about that logic?

Lessons Learned
Always check your shoe for sticky evil mirror fragments

Never put your head under a window that doesn’t have a stopper, particularly if said window is in a room with sticky evil mirror fragments

Leave the split end trimming to the professional hairdressers, particularly if, you know, said split ends are in a room with sticky evil mirror fragments

As Netflix Instant seems to now focus most of its horror offerings on modern content, Amazon Prime has become a better source for earlier, easily-forgotten flicks. The Boogey Man is no classic, but it’s certainly not dull. Give it a go when you’re looking for some second tear ‘70s horror fun. 


  1. As everyone knows,THE BOOGEY MAN was released to theaters in 1980 where it became a literal monstrous success. And THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR has that insane finale of Suzanna Love spinning on the burning stake and shooting lasers out of her eyes(to split apart,explode,and meltdown heads) going for it(alongside its dark atmospheric look[and presence]),showing that Ulli Lommel is indeed the Albert Pyun of horror cinema.

    1. The world really does need more laser eyes. I had no idea that was Ulli Lommel's trademark!