Monday, June 8, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: The Boogens (1981)

Warning: I'm giving to give The Boogens a much better grade than it truly deserves.  I'm going to do this because I was entirely too young when I first saw it and it had quite an impact on my impressionable young mind.  In my defense, Stephen King is apparently a big fan of the picture as well, so cheesy rubber monster effects aside, it can't be all that bad.  The Boogens is a creative and well-plotted horror film that generates a great many chills and thrills, particularly in the first two acts.  That's because early on the filmmakers go to great lengths to avoid showing the monsters, and the eerie scenes and jarring moments that they produce toward that end are far more riveting than the big finale that puts the creatures on clear display.  Now, to be fair, the effects in The Boogens aren't terrible.  This isn't Wes Craven's Swamp Thing, after all.  The blood and the various wounds that present themselves are handled well and the monsters benefit from a wild design even if their overall execution is a bit lackluster.  So, the special effects aren't all that special--it's okay, there are a few worthwhile horror films that suffer from that disease and The Boogens still has a lot going for it.  I think James L. Conway did a fantastic job with the direction and the score by Bob Summers is a real winner.  The opening titles sequence is a bit of a minor masterpiece so far as opening titles sequences for obscure horror films go, and I like the cast.  The pace is nice, the atmosphere is tight, and no one would accuse this one of being boring.  The Boogens is a fun picture from my youth that boasts a few good scares.  Honestly, I treasure this movie, and it has to be noted that encountering tales such as this at such an early age surely played a major role in my lifelong fascination with things that go bump in the dark.  If you're looking for a classic monster flick, opt for John Carpenter's The Thing, which sits atop that mountain.  However, if you're in the mood for something fun and kooky, something that will make you jump once or twice and chuckle a lot, heed my advice and hang out with The Boogens.

Final Grade: B
True Story: I'm not sure how old I was when I first watched The Boogens,
but I certainly wasn't old enough for this type of material.   This particular
scene gave me a profound fear of being yanked beneath a vehicle
and devoured by a rubber monster. 

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