Just when you thought I was out of bad puns for titles, I come back for more. Today we’re talking about the Boogeyman! You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about the Boogeyman with the other slasher movie villains instead of back when we were talking about the classic movie villains. Well, there are two reasons for that. The first is that the Boogeyman films came out during the slasher movie era, and the second is that some of these movies are closer to slasher movies than monster movies.
Now, for our international readers, for the love of all that is holy, help us!
Ahem. Sorry, I’ve been reading too much political news lately. Some of our international readers may not know what a “Boogeyman” is, and to be honest I’m not too sure myself. What little I do know about the Boogeyman is that he is a monster that parents warn their children about, usually as an excuse to make sure that children go to bed at time and don’t stay out after dark. Unless there are any children reading this blog, in which case the Boogeyman is totally real and he will eat you unless you listen to your parents.
Despite the lack of any kind of story for the Boogeyman (or perhaps because of the lack of story), there have been multiple films about this monster. Unlike some of the films we’ve covered, there was never really a definitive series around this monster, and some of the films from different series were made around the same time, so we’re going to cover them all. Or at least, all of the ones that I know about at any rate.
Before I mention the other films, I have to mention the very first movie about a Boogeyman, which would be 1958’s The Bogeyman. Unfortunately, I don’t really know that much about this film, as it was made in West Germany. I would watch this film, but I only know a few words in German. In my defense, I only lived in Germany for two and a half years. Who could possibly be expected to pick up a language in that short amount of time?
Yes, I know that people learn languages that quickly all the time. It’s called humor, people!
The first English language version (that I know of) was 1980’s The Boogeyman. This film starts with a single mother and her boyfriend making love. There odd lovemaking is interrupted when the mother’s son Willy stabs the boyfriend repeatedly with a knife. For those of you that are raising kids on your own, this is the kind of behavior that you want to discourage your kids from doing.
The movie then jumps to twenty years later, where Willy is living with his sister Lacey and her family. Willy hasn’t spoken since he murdered his mom’s boyfriend. They whole family decides to visit the house that Lacey and Willy grew up in. There, the family starts experiencing weird events anytime they’re in the presence of a mirror.
See, when Willy killed his mother’s boyfriend, there was a mirror in the room. This film’s premise is that the boyfriend’s spirit is trapped in the mirror because of that. He seems to want to murder Willy and Lacey for revenge. I hate to say it, but I’m kind of siding with the villain here. There is never any indication that Willy faced any kind of punishment for his crime, so the boyfriend’s rampage is almost justified. I say “almost” because he possessed Lacey and murders a priest, so that goes a bit beyond revenge.
Lacey ends up defeating the boyfriend’s ghost by putting the pieces of the mirror in water. I have no idea how water destroys possessed mirror shards, but it’s not the worst logic in a horror film. The film ends with one of Lacey’s kids having a mirror shard on his shoe, leaving the film open for a sequel.
The next film in this series was 1983’s Boogeyman II. The movie has Lacey telling some friends about the events of the first film. Eventually, Lacey and her friends end up having to destroy the last of the mirror shards.
This film is generally considered one of the worst horror films ever made. This is most likely because over half of the film is made up of footage from the previous movie. I still recommend watching this one, if only to watch the performance of the legendary Rhonda Aldrich.
Now, for…what, you don’t know who Rhonda Aldrich is? Oh come on, you have to know who that is. She was in pretty much every television show since the 1980’s? She was the voice of the princess in the 1985 Rainbow Brite movie? She played the holographic secretary in the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Picard was pretending to be a film noir detective? Ok, I knew you knew who I was talking about.
Now, for the next film, the creators were both creative and lazy. I guess you could say they were creatively lazy. 1994’s Return of the Boogeyman also used a lot of footage from the first film, but it featured a new main character named Annie. The premise of this film was that Annie was having psychic dreams and visions, and that this film was taking place at the same time as the first movie.
To make matters slightly more confusing, there was a short film in 1982 based on Stephen King’s The Boogeyman, which was completely unrelated to these films. A man named Lester Billings is seeing a psychiatrist about the deaths of his three children, which he believes may have been caused by an actual Boogeyman. If you haven’t read the short story or seen the film, I’m not going to spoil the ending here. I recommend the short story over the film, but that’s just me.
2005’s Boogeyman was another film with a different plot, centering a man named Tim who saw his father murdered by the Boogeyman. This film suggests that all closets are connected to the dimension that the Boogeyman lives in, which is more or less the backstory people tend to go with when they have to explain how the Boogeyman can enter a kid’s room. Tim returns to his family home to confront his fears, and ends up confronting the Boogeyman as well.
2007’s Boogeyman 2 follows the events of this film, sort of. A young pair of siblings, Laura and Henry, see their parents murdered by a hooded man. This somehow gives them a fear of the Boogeyman, and years later they are in a mental hospital seeking treatment. The patients start being murdered based on their fears, and when Laura finds out that other people with fear of the Boogeyman have committed suicide (including Tim from the previous film), she begins to suspect that the Boogeyman is behind the killings.
2008’s Boogeyman 3 follows the daughter of one of the psychiatrists from the second film. She starts telling her surviving family and friends about the Boogeyman, and naturally no one believes her even when people start being murdered horrifically. This film is definitely the weakest of the three, but the fact that this film doesn’t used footage from the 2005 film marks a huge step up when it comes to Boogeyman movies.
That’s pretty much all of the movies that revolve around the Boogeyman. Admittedly, the films from the 80’s were closer to ghost stories than Boogeyman movies, but the Boogeyman is kind of poorly defined as it is. Even in the movies from the early 2000’s, the Boogeyman is never given a reason for why he’s killing adults when the Boogeyman traditionally only ever went after children. Then again, I guess knowing less about the monster does make him scarier.
I will give the filmmakers of these movies credit for one thing. As far as I know, none of the films revolving around the Boogeyman have ever resorted to the obvious joke of having the monster “come out of the closet”. Whether that’s because they don’t want to risk offending the LGBT community or because they have higher standards of comedy than that, I respect the decision not to include that joke either way.
That’s about all there is to say about the Boogeyman. Come back tomorrow when we talk about a more contemporary movie monster. In fact, this one might possibly be the most recent of all the movie monster we’ve discussed so far in the blog.
Tomorrow, we talk about Samara and/or Sadako from The Ring. I promise I’ll explain the two-name thing when we get there.