Boogieman 1989 Review
Directed by: Charles Cullen
Starring: Ken Tignor, John Murray, Patrick O’Brien
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Oooh wee this is an obscure one! Not even listed on the IMDB and impossible to find/track down any information on, Boogieman (not to be confused with 1980’s The Bogeyman) is a trashy piece of rural filmmaking at its most cheap and most charming. I was told about it long ago by Steve Jarvis from Cinematrix films, so I tried to track it down but couldn’t even find a sniff of it for love nor money. It’s from director Charles E Cullen who has quite an impressive CV of no-budget features and he has created his own brand of humour and style of storytelling that has gained a global cult following. I managed to get in contact with him some time back and he was more than happy to send me a copy of the film and its sequel.
Now if you are fans of the slasher genre, which I am sure that you are if you are checking this site, then there’s no doubt that you have watched a low budgeted movie. Well take the most minuscule funding that you can imagine, cut it in half and then subtract another of the remaining halves and you should have a very good idea of what you are getting yourself in to with Cullen’s intriguing feature…
There’s a hooded maniac on the lose in a Southern town murdering anyone unfortunate enough to step in front of him. The Mayor wants ‘The Boogieman’ out of the way, so he hires a witch doctor and releases a criminal from the local jail to stop him. As more bodies pile up, can the two mercenaries catch him before he wipes out the entire town?
Produced in 1989, Boogieman was initially played in nightclubs in the area that it was filmed and achieved a local following that has steadily grown because it has become so impossibly rare. It was shot on film surprisingly enough, but never got picked up for distribution and was transferred to disc some ten years later. Rumour has it that it was stored in a chicken coup, which probably explains the incredibly grainy picture with a permanent line on the left side of the screen. It was filmed in colour, but the print I watched was black and white, which I believe was an effort to hide some of the wear and tear marks. It plays ok, but has a rather rugged and scruffy look about it that somewhat underlines the apparent lack of budget.
In many ways, this reminds me of Nail Gun Massacre, which is a film that has armies of admirers for the fact that its so damn amateur and hilarious with its attempts at trying to be somewhat sleazy. Well Boogieman, with all its shaky photography and mind blowingly cheesy special effects, would appeal to that kind of audience. It has some fantastic dialogue and can’t help but entertain with its delivery. I smiled like a Cheshire cat when the Mayor and the witch doctor first met the criminal that they have employed to help them put an end to the maniac’s killing spree (We know it’s him because he is described in text upon his appearance that states, ‘Jake Steel A Bounty Hunter’) The Mayor introduces him to his colleague by saying, “He has been convicted of murder, robbery and rape” To which his buddy replies, “Pleased to meet you”, as if he has just been told that he is a mechanic by trade. I also enjoyed it when one of the early body count numbers was getting out of his car and waved goodbye to his wife and said, “I’m going up the woods to kill something” (!).
There’s tonnes of violence here and a host of cheapo gore effects that brighten up the screen every 145 seconds or so throughout the movie. Although most of them are extremely fake, there is the odd decent murder (the second chainsaw gutting was awesome) and the killer gets through a humongous number of locals (I counted up to twelve before I gave up). Don’t expect any character development here though, because some of the guys and gals don’t even walk on the screen, they just literally get killed. With a budget THIS small, you can imagine it was impossible to pull off some of the death scenes and make them look realistic. I must admit that I was somewhat worried when I saw that the second on screen slaughter was being intercut with a hand drawn (in what looks like crayon) cartoon to describe what was happening, because they didn’t have the funds to display it on camera. Thankfully that gimmick is only used the once and almost every other gore effort is shown in loving black and white pot-marked footage. Two unfortunates even get covered in gasoline and set on fire!
So what else can I tell you? Well the killer looked like a real hill-billy nut with his white hood and lumberjack shirt and interestingly enough, the score was very professional and worked fine as accompaniment. It seems like they struggled a bit to stretch the plot to a feature length runtime, so there are a few mindless shots that don’t really do anything and after the tenth one, the film loses the hilarious oomph that it started out with. Oh and do we ever find out the motive behind this massive bloodbath in a backwoods West Virginia town? Of course not; the film just literally ends.
I couldn’t recommend this to you really, because it could get me thrown in to an asylum for making insane statements such as that. Make no bones about it, Boogieman is a terrible TERRIBLE movie. But you know what? I enjoyed it. It never takes itself seriously and its just a bunch of slasher fans having fun with a camera and some tomato sauce. It’s an interesting one for students and fans of rural films, but it has very little (as in nothing) in terms of professional qualities.
Posted on December 5, 2011, in Slasher and tagged 1989, a SLASH above exclusive, Boogieman, burlap sack, Charles E Cullen, cheap as chips, masked killer, never find, rare as hell, Rare Slasher, Slasher. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.