on August 9, 2012
The Boogens is a 1981 horror flick that has become a bit of a cult classic partially due to it's unavailability for almost 2 decades and partially for it's amusing title. It's just fun to say "Boogens". The film also has sentimental importance to me, as it was one of the horror flicks I saw with friends at the legendary Oritani grind house in Hackensack, N.J. A time when B movies were still released in a theater, where they belong, and a time I now cherish in this direct to DVD and VOD age. Now being given the chance to revisit this low budget chiller, it's time to answer the question of whether it's as fun as I remember or has time and nostalgia created a far better memory then it was a movie. And I'm happy to report it still is a fun flick, although 80s nostalgia does play a part. In a way, "Boogens" is a quintessential horror for the late 70s, early 80s with it's slow burn, creepy old man with ominous warnings, and nubile girls in skimpy bathrobes investigating noises in dark cellars. This is exactly the type of movie Ti West paid homage to in the recent "House Of The Devil". A few months later Evil Dead would arrive and crank horror flicks up to 11 and Jason was just getting started on his body count.
This 1981 horror stars Rebecca Balding ("Silent Scream") and takes place in rural Silver City, Colorado, a small mining town where the mines are being reopened for the first time since a supposed cave-in 70 years previous. But, unknown to two college grads (Fred McCarren and Jeff Harlan) working on the re-opening and their two nubile young ladies (Balding and the equally cute, Ann-Marie Martin), the mines were caved in on purpose and unsealing the tunnels unleashes our title creatures and they are quite hungry.
Boogens is well directed by James L. Conway who also directed pseudo-documentaries like "Hanger 18" and "In Search Of Noah's Ark" and who went on to direct a lot of genre TV including episodes of all the post-original "Star Trek" series and the current, "Supernatural". He directs with a leisurely pace but, builds some nice suspense and also knows to keep his monsters hidden until the very end. And when we do see them, they are good old fashioned prosthetics, there's something charming about prosthetics that CGI rarely matches. He gets good performances out of his cast and the fact that they are all very likeable helps add suspense when they are in danger. There is some nice gore but, it is used sparingly and the body count is low. This movie was made just as the slasher sub-genre started to gain momentum and before body count became crucial to the proceedings.
Sure, by today's standards "The Boogens" is tame, slow and cheesy but, it is the type of horror that they made when I was in high school and I will always have a soft spot in my movie geek heart for them. The transfer on blu-ray is absolutely beautiful and it`s worth a look for horror fans, especially those who enjoy horror from this era. Welcome back, "Boogens".
on July 11, 2012
Well, I wasn't exactly a kid when this gem of a film came out, and it didn't give me nightmares or make me afraid to go in the basement, but it was one of the most enjoyable movie dates ever with my future husband in December 1981. We liked it so much that we bought the VHS version as soon as we found that it was available in the 1990's, and made an anniversary tradition of sending the kids to grandma's, lighting a fire in the fireplace, turning out the lights and popping some Boogens into the VCR (we even brought it along to a hotel once). The tape lasted about a decade before becoming unwatchable a few years ago, so it will be terrific to be able to revive the tradition for our upcoming 30th anniversary. Thanks for releasing this long-awaited treat in DVD format!
on June 19, 2000
Wow! That's all I can say about this one. I first saw the Boogens when I was nine years old and it scared me so bad I couldn't even look under my bed for a week. I had to wait more than half a lifetime to find the movie again on VHS, but when I did it hadn't lost any of its gruesome charm whatsoever. Set in the majestic Rockies (my native territory) The Boogens focuses on four twenty-somethings who move into a nice, if somewhat sinister cabin in the woods which was the site of a brutal killing in the beginning of the film. The four soon split up for various reasons and go about their own ways. The story kicks into overdrive when the first of them is dragged under his vehicle and sliced open by the nasty claw of the Boogen. We see this only in quick flashes of ingenious editing that gives us only a "taste" of the real thing. Dark, cramped, sometimes unbearably spooky, the Boogens sent a message to us in the early eighties: Horror is not dead, not even sleeping, we just have to know which cave to look in to find the scariest monster, and The Boogens provided it. I thank the director and the cast for giving a nine-year-old boy the scare of a lifetime!
on August 14, 2012
In the small mining town of Silver City, an evil has been unknowingly unleashed on its unsuspecting residents. The old mine has been sealed up and abandoned for over seventy years but now some outsiders are about to make a big discovery and it isn't silver or gold. What unspeakable horror lives in the mine? Is there any way to escape it? What is a Boogen?
The Boogens is a slow paced horror film that relies on its ability to build up the suspense for most of the film and then unleash everything it has on the viewer in the last 20-30 minutes. If you're a horror fan looking for a high body count and plenty of gore and nudity then this film may not be for you. There isn't a high body count, there's very little gore and barely any nudity to speak of. Fans get a brief glimpse of Rebecca Balding's butt in one scene and her breasts in another, that's it. As for the creatures; we never really see them until the last 20-30 minutes of the movie.
Thanks to Olive Films the "Boogens" has finally seen daylight on Blu-ray and DVD. I don't know what type of restoration Olive Films did to the print if any, because the film still suffers from embedded artifacts, speckling and a certain amount of graininess throughout. Don't get me wrong, the video image is clear and definitely viewable.
Aside from the old school non CGI creatures and effects this film also benefits from an eerie music score, so the mono soundtrack provided on this release was a bit of a disappointment for me. The mono sound is clear and crisp but I had hoped for a 5.1 sound option as well. I expected this Blu-ray release would be filled with tons of bonus features and extras, it isn't. The only extra included is an audio commentary from director James L. Conway, screenwriter David O'Malley and actress Rebecca Balding.
Rebecca Balding / Trish Michaels
Fred McCarren / Mark Kinner
Anne-Marie Martin / Jessica Ford
Jeff Harlan / Roger Lowrie
John Crawford / Brian Deering
Med Flory / Dan Ostroff
Jon Lormer / Greenwalt, the old man
Peg Stewart / Victoria Tusker
Scott Wilkinson / Deputy Blanchard
Marcia Reider / Martha Chapman
on August 9, 2012
This blu-ray of THE BOOGENS is a treat. Though a low-budget affair with an extremely simple story, the film was skillfully made, with some creepy music, effective locations, and creatures' point-of-view shots. The anamorphic image is quite bright and grainy in both daylight and night shots. It's interesting to finally see what 'the boogens' really look like (for better or worse), as my old VHS copy was never too clear when the creatures finally appeared near the movie's climax.
The only extra is a running commentary from director James L. Conway, screenwriter David O'Malley and actress Rebecca Balding- it was interesting to hear their frequent friendly conversations about the chilly six-week shoot in Utah, who married who in the production (one actress married writer Michael Crichton), the origin of the term 'Boogens', the nudity issue, and comments about the creature effects (including the producer's reaction to the creatures' appearance). This film was also the first adult/horror film to be financed by the now-defunct Sun Classic Films, which produced a number of religious and documentary films during the 70's.
Watch the film without commentary the first time, then replay it with the commentary- enjoy it both ways, especially you viewers who were ever intrigued by the original BOOGENS poster. THE BOOGENS is a simple, not-too-demanding horror flick.
on October 20, 2000
The Boogens, despite its name, is a well paced horror film which pays justice to the cult monster movies of the 1950's. The editing style gives the viewer a well balanced blend of suspense, shock and gore to make the film both eerie and frightening. I originally saw this movie on cable about 18 years ago and was equally entertained after watching the VHS copy I recently purchased. The "Boogens," themselves, are a bit cheesy looking and were designed after a sheep's brain with slashing tenticles for legs (I learned this from the make up effects person in charge of creating the creatures for this film). The directing coupled with the editing style are what save this movie by giving us only a glimpse of the the creatures, keeping us on the edge of our seat for the majority of the film. This is one of the few real monster movies that are a credit to the monster genre.
I know 3 stars may not seem like much but only the best films are worthy of 4 and above.
on July 8, 2014
I never saw, or heard of this film back in the day. I stumbled upon it after I got a Blu ray player a couple of years ago and figured I'd give it a shot, after initially passing due to what I thought was a corny name. Well, since I got it, I play it whenever I need to be cheered up. Last night was one of those nights and I figured I'd give this movie a plug, seeing its serving me so well. The movie is a retroslasher (or should I say was...), situating a creature feature (circa 50s heyday) in a slasher setup (in the slasher heyday). This is what sets it apart and makes it memorable, scoring it a blu ray release 20 years after the fact.
While its a well done film, in terms of production and acting, as well as story development (good character development with above par dialogue, as well as pacing; otherwise its thin, a basic survival film), what I love most about the film is the actual Boogens. I know it sounds strange but I think they are so cute, they make me smile instantly. I love their round heads, round eyes, and their smiley faces, as well as their huge teeth and long tensile tails that have barbs that shred through human skin like cats shred toilet paper. I love the sounds they make. This, of course, makes me go "Aargh!" when the humans fight back and slay some Boogen. I like these guys so much that one of my dog's many nicknames is "Boogen", or "Boog Boog" or even "Boogie". That's why I said that I have one. But not the original kind! Sadly, there aren't too many appearances by the Boogens. The early scenes do not show you what is dragging off the latest victim. And its a contained story, so there are only a few people, aka victims, in the cast. So, take it for what its worth. These creatures are a hit with me. Kinda like the creatures from "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" (the original) that were not really cute but very memorable nonetheless.
on January 21, 2014
I discovered this movie late in life. I always passed it by in the video stores back in the day, mostly because of the "silly" title. Shame on me! This is a very well-done little monster movie. Granted, it doesn't really break any new ground; we've all seen this before. Basically you could replace the title creatures with a masked killer and it'd be almost the same movie. That said, even though it's not a ground-breaking horror film, everything it sets out to do it does very well. Competent on every level: direction, lighting & cinematography, creepy music, script with funny, realistic dialogue and, hey! real acting!! What a pleasant surprise to watch actors with some actual talent doing their jobs! The opening title sequence sets up the mystery quite nicely, with a montage of old newspaper clippings about a Silver Mine that boomed decades before, but then several unexplained tragedies struck until, eventually, the mine was closed up forever... and then we're on our way!
The monster FX are the only strike against this film. But you have to take into account when the film was made and its budget. The things don't get a whole lot of screen time, which, with the obviousness of the rubbery marionette/puppets, was probably a good idea. They are disturbing-looking little things; picture a Sleestak crossed with a squid dipped in shellack. Certainly a unique monster design and not all that bad, considering. Some reviewers have griped because the film doesn't even bother to explain exactly WHAT the creatures are. Sorry folks, this is one of those movies where we have to accept the fact that the monsters are... just monsters! I have to give the film makers major kudos for actually daring to try something different, instead of playing it safe and giving us yet another indestructible masked killer hacking up everyone in sight. There were more than enough of those crummy "Halloween" knock-offs clogging the theaters & video store shelves throughout the late 70's and early 80's. The Boogens creatures were a fun twist in what is otherwise a fairly standard horror opus. The critters and the exceptionally good acting all around help lift this film out of the cinemuck and put it head & shoulders above most other modern so-called horror films. . I'll take The Boogens any day over the self-referencing, too hip for its own good slasher horror retreads and tasteless torture porn garbage that are in our multiplexes nowadays or the avalanche of direct-to-video poop bloating the shelves of most video rental places.
Another refreshing thing about The Boogens is that the film takes its time, allowing us to get to know the characters better so that we actually CARE whether they're gonna make it or not. They pretty much don't make 'em like this anymore. Most modern horror films just introduce a handful of bodies, soon to be mutilated, and anyone with more than a passing familiarity with the genre will be able to tell almost at once who'll survive and who'll get sliced & diced. Then they proceed to chop 'em up by the numbers. *YAWN* My advice to jaded or younger viewers: if your idea of "scary" involves people being tortured to death and/or fountains of blood & gore spewing everywhere then do yourself a favor and pass this one by. It truly is old school, in every sense of the word. IF, however, you enjoy things that go bump in the night and take simple pleasure in unraveling an uncomplicated-yet-fun mystery then this film should be a real treat for you. There are genuine scares & suspense to be found here. With that said, I must admit that it IS hard not to laugh whenever the bug-eyed old fart pops up from seemingly out of nowhere every 10 minutes and runs straight into the camera screaming "Boogens!" I'm sorry, but no matter how terrified I was if I were one of the characters in the movie, I'd still giggle at that silly name. :-)
Olive Films' presentation of The Boogens on Blu-ray is pretty decent. Nice to see this little gem get a solid hi-def release. It's no frame-by-frame restoration or anything, but the picture looks good and the sound is clear & solid. The only bonus on this Blu-ray is an audio commentary with the director, writer and the lead actress (Rebecca Balding). It's an enjoyable listen. In summary, I enjoyed the hell out of The Boogens and have watched it multiple times since buying it. Good (but not great) video & audio presentation, high replay value and a sense of fun to go with the scares makes this old school creature feature a 5 star winner.
on May 23, 2000
Stepping from the memories of horror fans of years past comes The Boogens, a very effective monster tale. Old, forgotten evil and shunned places have informed some of the best horror ever since H. P. Lovecraft first set foot in haunted Arkham. Therefore, The Boogens, with its errie mine shafts and mysterious creatures has a lot going for it. Thankfully, the director doesn't saddle the film with dumb-as-dirt characters and goofy cliches. We actually come to care for these people(a titanic achievement for many of today's filmmakers). A great emphasis is placed on generating suspense in lieu of tiresome "pop-ups." A product of budgetary concerns, this nonetheless works in the film's favor. If the titular monsters are less than life-like, at least the smart editing obscures this. Fans of older horror films will no doubt enjoy this movie, as will younger fans looking for a little heart and creativity in their horror.
on August 23, 2012
And boy am I glad they did, I love this movie.
This is one of the few horror flicks from the 80s that I remember vividly. When I heard it was available on DVD, I just had to have it for my collection. I have a fondness for monster movies, but this one in particular as it brings back great memories. I admit it; my bias is sentimental rather than having to consider artistic merit. I can't critique this movie; I love everything about it. The characters are all nice and likable (a rarity for horror films), even the poor loony soothsayer who dubbed the critters Boogens is sympathetic. The only villains involved are the Boogens (I like the way there were designed, all bug-eyed and teeth). But, as far as I'm concerned, the dog is the star of the film, with character actor John Crawford adding an air of safe familiarity. The isolated location was also well used. This was a nice place, what could go wrong. Oh yeah, there's something nasty in the mine and some yahoos let them out! I also like how they took things easy, slowly building to the point where the monsters are finally seen, moving in for the kill(s). They actually developed characters instead of giving us stereotypes destined to be fodder. The only thing I've never understood is why the mine had an exit into the basement of the cabin in the woods. I'm sure it made it easy to head for home after working all day in the mine but who wants one in their basement? You never know what might get in that way..............