Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's a Boogen?

My childhood friend Ruben had a knack for making any movie sound like the most awesome thing ever. He's the reason I watched Halloween III: Season of the Witch against all my better judgment, and his review of The Boogens, a cheesy B-movie monster flick with voracious critters released from a mine explosion, is why I watched this oddly named bit of drive-in fodder. He's never let me down.
The Boogens lures you in with its stupid title; what the hell is a boogen? Is it a snot monster? Or something like a boogeyman? You only hear it once, when the crazy old miner trying to warn everybody- by scowling creepily from afar- finally says his piece. Decades ago, a mine collapse killed dozens in the sleep mountain town of Silver Something. (I'm not going back to look it up.) Now, a new company wants to re-open the mine, and two young guys named Mark (the nice guy) and Roger (the horndog) sign up to work it. All Roger talks about is boning his girlfriend Jessica, who's driving up in a Beetle with her sensible friend Trish, and her annoying as hell poodle, Tiger.
Hi, I'll be your Steve Guttenberg equivalent for the evening.

It is rare when you root for the dog to be killed in a horror movie, but I rooted for Tiger to be eaten. And I got my wish. The miners blast open the collapsed tunnel and find piles of human skulls and bones. If The Boogens had a little more budget, it might have been a precursor to The Descent, but no such luck. It's really not scary, but might have been worth seeing at a drive-in, when your date would clutch you whenever the monster roared or flung one of its bizarre clawed appendages (complete with whip sound effect)!
Gonna put on my Boogen shoes! Disco inferno!

As it goes in the horror genre, the horniest people die first. Even though Mark's sweet bozo demeanor will eventually get him into Trish's down jacket, they're wholesome and become our heroes. Come to think of it, I don't think Roger ever gets to be "Hormone Man," and leap over tall women with a single bound, as he hopes. So you got a nice reversal there. But soon, dogs and people start disappearing, and claws start gouging their way through the floor heater grate to come getcha. The monster's arms resemble the critters from It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive a bit, and you never get a full look at what a boogen really looks like. It's sort of like a snapping turtle with really long limbs and a whiplike tail that grabs you and pulls you into the water, or through the door, or wherever the partial monster puppet is sticking out of.
Don't do this:
or you get this:
And that's cool. It's certainly a unique monster, pulled out of the writer's ass, and it sure likes to hook people and drag them back to the mine for feasting. So besides killer turtles, The Boogens also has a crazy old miner with dynamite going for it:
Git off mah land!

And as was expected in any horror film in 1981, we get some boobage but it's nothing to write home about. Trish is cute and has a nice pair that she demurely bares, but Jessica manages to get nearly yanked through a heating vent, chased all around the cabin throwing tea kettles and boxes of bric-a-brac at the boogen interloper without losing her towel. I bet if she threw the towel over the monster's head, she could have run naked into the snow, and then run up to a store window and cut the glass open with her nipples, and survived. And I would have loved to see it.
The Boogens is best visited as an early 80's creature feature that manages to keep your interest with some amusing victims and a unique, if somewhat silly monster. I would have liked to hear the crazy miner- the modern equivalent of a grizzled prospector I suppose- tell more tales of how he survived the boogens, but he barely lasts five minutes before falling victim to his age old nemesis. Sucks how that happens. Even Quint got to stick a knife in the shark's face. Poor old Crazy Guy throws some ineffectual sticks of dynamite that should have made some turtle soup.
According to IMDb, In his Twilight Zone Magazine review, author Stephen King called The Boogens... "A wildly energetic monster movie!" For this movie to be called "energetic," Steve would have had to have been beard deep in a mine shaft full of cocaine.

Beers Required to Enjoy: 3
Could it be remade today? Oh please, oh please...
Quotability Rating: enh... hormone man?
Cheese Factor: Limboogen
High Points: weird critters, crazy miner
Low Point: Amazing krazy glued on towel!
Gratuitous Boobies: One close-up, one side boob:


Rob L. said...


Tommy Salami said...

You know, I've never seen any Leprechaun or Wishmaster movie. I must rectify this.
Plus hey, midgets.

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