The Boogeyman (1980)

The most terrifying nightmare of childhood is about to return!
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The Boogeyman - The most terrifying nightmare of childhood is about to return!

Another movie on the "Why the hell was this classed as a Video Nasty?" list is Ulli Lommel's The Boogeyman. Admittedly The Boogeyman is a movie from 1980 and was probably quite extreme compared to UK Saturday evening TV but, compared to some of the cannibal movies and exploitation flicks on the DPP video nasty banned list, it is simply a low budget slasher no nastier than Sleepaway Camp or Black Christmas. The plot is typical of slashers of the era but still feels innovative although this is probably due to horror movie nostalgia rather than a truly original story. The Boogeyman displays an early example of the death-creativity evident in modern slashers with a fork impalement and forced scissor suicide being the most memorable kills.

The movie begins with a small Willy and Lacey peeping through a window at their negligent mother doing the nasty with a rather dubious looking, stocking-faced thug and Mom thinks that the appropriate punishment for getting caught peeping is to tie Willy to the bed and gag him. Luckily Lacey is quite knife proficiently gifted and manages to cut Willy free and hands over the knife so that he can stab Mommy's bit of rough to death.

Flash-Forward to the future where Lacey is married with a young son and lives with her aunt and uncle on the family farm. Willy lives with them too but, obviously still traumatized by his sister's murderous streak, as not spoken a word since his sister exposed her homicidal tendencies. Lacey is suffering from a reoccurring nightmare where she re-lives her brother's bed-bondage and having lost all faith in the art of psychiatry, Lacey's husband decides she must face her fears and revisit her mother's house to extinguish her imaginary boogeyman once and for all. Unfortunately there is still a witness of the heinous act residing in the house, a mirror that seems to have trapped Mr. Stocking Face's evil soul and seeing his image in the mirror Lacey smashes it.

As any respectable married man in the eighties knows, if your crazy wife smashes a mirror in someone else's house then it is the husbands duty to take the mirror home and try and repair it.. even if it does contain the evilness of a vengeful psycho who was wasted by said wife. Unfortunately for the simple farm family, rule 67 of husbandry 101 was a big mistake as everyone who comes into contact with bits of the broken mirror soon meets their demise as the boogeyman becomes more than a figment of the imagination.

For an obviously low budget horror, The Boogeyman manages to be quite watchable with frequent bouts of blood to re-interest the viewer's investment in the unconvincing characters along the way. The ending is another early example of the slasher template's fashioning as the hint of the killers sequel potentiality is revealed, although he doesn't return for one final slash before being more convincingly killed just before he reveals there may be a Boogeyman 2 (and there is). Far from a brilliant movie and although it is obviously a Halloween bandwagon jumper there is still room for The Boogeyman to be given some credit for helping to carve the slasher archetype.
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