Starring: Suzanna Love, John Carradine
Director: Ulli Lommel
The Bogey Man (1980) keeps you guessing because you’re never quite sure what movie it’s going to steal from next. It starts out strongly with a John Carpenter-esque prologue – a camera gliding around a suburban house as traumatic childhood events take place: a drunken mother, her manipulative lover who abuses her kids, who in turn exact a bloody revenge. Then we jump forward to the same kids, now grown up, living with their aunt and uncle in a farmhouse with spooky windows that make you think of the ones in The Amityville Horror. Lacey, the girl, is having cloying nightmares – turns out the spirit of the murdered man is trapped in a haunted mirror and reaching out to take possession of her. Possession? Cue some Tubular Bells-like music and call in old Father Reilly!
It’s a shame about these disconcerting changes of tack, because when it’s not trying to be three films at once, The Bogey Man manages to touch in a responsible, classy way on some powerful themes, and it’s never less than well-crafted. The countrified setting is beautifully photographed, there are some well-wrought set-pieces and gore FX involving flying screwdrivers and windows slamming themselves on heads and some memorable imagery to do with mirror shards. As Lacey, Suzanna Love makes for a sympathetic scream queen, although she’d let down by some flat performances from her male co-stars. Not a flawless performance then, but with its sultry, Carpenter-esque beginning and its frankly crazy ending, it’s certainly a film that’s worth seeing for lover’s of early ’80s horror. 6/10
The transfer is just occasionally a little soft but on the whole very nice – the lamp-lit opener looks especially good, as do all those scenes of cornfields, Lacey’s printed frocks come up vibrantly, and auntie’s roast chicken is deliciously crisp and golden. 8/10
A 17 min interview with the exceedingly cool Ulli Lommel. Murmuring in a Michael Madsenish way, he tells strange, unlikely anecdotes. about editing the film with William Burroughs and napping in his car at the side of the freeway with John Carradine in the passenger seat. You’ll find yourself craning forward in your seat to catch every word. Now that’s how to do an interview. 6/10