The Boogeyman (1980)

The Boogeyman (1980) movie poster

director Ulli Lommel
viewed: 09/20/2015

As I said, in writing about Island of Death (1976), “(a)fter you watch the documentary on Video Nasties (2010), it’s time to watch a “video nasty” (or two.)  A video nasty (or two) from the notorious list of 72 films cited by the Department of Public Prosecution.

The Boogeyman would be that “or two”.

Written, directed, and co-produced by German-born Ulli Lommel (who interestingly also made Blank Generation (1980)), The Boogeyman is an oddity even in the wonderfully weird world of 1980’s horror films.

It opens with a scene in which two small children watch through a window as their mom drunkenly tries to get it on with a man on her living room couch.  She’s slipped off one of her nylons and has placed it on his head, mashing his features as was once common with bank robbers.  The kids are caught out and the older boy is tied up to his bed.  The three year old sister gets a big kitchen knife and cuts him free, which the boy then takes to the mother’s bedroom and stabs the man to death.

While it has echoes of the opening of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), this film isn’t really a slasher in the purest sense.  In fact, it’s going to go off the rails of logic and expectation.

Long story short, the film moves into the present and the children are now adults, the boy mute since the incident.  Haunted by the events, the girl goes back to the old family home, and sees in the mirror of the bedroom in which the murder happened, an image of the dead man.  She smashes the mirror, which releases the spirit and for unknown reasons, her husband takes the mirror home to reassemble it.  The unseen spirit commences to kill people in a weird variety of ways.

The film is full of logical ellipses, jumps in story, suggesting either some real issues with the script or editing or who knows.  Some of the film is unintentionally funny (quite funny in fact) and then it also gets really bizarre at the very end.  I don’t care to spoil any of that for you.  It’s very odd.

As the film is actually not amazingly made, but occasionally evocative, sometimes quite evocative, and occasionally hilarious, I have strangely mixed emotions about it.  It does go to show how random that list of 72 “video nasties” really was, though.

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