The Boogens (1981)

80s cult favorite The Boogens recently got its very own Blu-Ray release, but I screwed up my Netflix queue so I didn’t have it at home when I meant to. I could have gone with something else but I was really in a mood. It’s not available to stream from Netlflix, Amazon or Hulu, so I was kinda out of options. (I don’t use those shady torrent sites because I’m terrified every click will download gigabytes of Slovenian fetish porn viruses to my hard drive.) What’s that, YouTube? I know there’s nothing illegal or eSyphilitic about you, but you’re only good for skateboarding dogs and amateur surgery videos, right? No?

YouTube user and all-around fantastic human being TheHorrorChannel82 earns a special place in my disembodied heart this week for posting The Boogens in its entirety, broken up into 15-minute chunks. His channel hosts a ton of other classic horror movies “in the public domain”, though he may want to consult a lawyer because I’m pretty sure copyrights last for like 8,000 years. Whatever, if YouTube doesn’t have a problem with it, I say let the kids play ball.

Everyone on earth probably already knows this but I was delighted to find out YouTube lets you set up playlists. I downloaded a free YouTube app on my PS3, hit play and watched the all seven segments on my TV back to back without ever touching another button. The load time between clips was about two seconds, there were no buffering issues and the sound and widescreen video were DVD quality. Plus it made me feel like a fucking hacker.

Last known photo of YouTube user HorrorChannel82.

The story: The opening titles play over a series of old newspapers, telling us about Silver Springs, Colorado and the silver rush of 1888. As the papers progress we learn that several tragic cave-ins forced the mining operation to shut down in 1912. 70 years later a small crew of engineers are sent to reopen the tunnels. They soon learn that the men who died in the mine collapse all those years ago weren’t alone, and whatever was in there with them is still very much alive. And hungry.

Speaking of hungry, did you know Rocky Mountain Oysters are peeled bull calf testicles? I enjoy pretty much anything deep-fried, but when the two least horrifying words in the definition of a given food item are bull and testicles, something has gone terribly wrong.

I love the idea of hardhats. Ten tons of rock crushes your entire body but don’t worry, the top of your head will be undamaged.

Biggest letdown: It’s sloooow. The tension-free first half yields a grand total of one lazy POV assault and nary a glimpse of whatever escaped the mine. Even once things get rolling, the monsters have a convenient habit of dragging their prey out of sight and closing the door behind them. Every death is totally isolated and unwitnessed, so no one notices that all their friends are suddenly nowhere to be found. Though the audience knows exactly what’s happening in the first 15 minutes, we’re forced to sit through each character figuring it out one at a time.

Cause of death? Boogen.

Why you should watch: Zombies and vampires and slashers are nice but sometimes you just need a good, hard monstering, you know? The Boogens themselves aren’t terribly impressive, even for 1981. For most of the movie you don’t see more than a stray tentacle here and there. Even when we get the money shot, the awkward puppets often rely on their human scene partners to perform Ed Wood style self-attacks. But for all that, they are solid cryptids, with gooey, pointy bits in all the right places. If you need a break from serial killers and shambling hordes, if you can’t take one more hokey CG monster drawn by high school interns, and if you can find it, maybe you should watch…The Boogens.

Fishing for Rocky Mountain Boogens.

Memorable Moment: The characters in The Boogens are pretty likable and distinct and their friendly quips are generally amusing if somewhat dated. There are a number of decent gags, my favorite being the fluffy little dog who is perfectly adorable yet despised by everyone, including his owner, Jess. I particularly liked when a cop tries to keep little Tiger from running outside and all four main characters shout, “No!” Jess explains, “We let him go outside all the time.” Her boyfriend adds, “We’re training him to play in the road.”

Whimper.

Choice quote: “Maybe Brian needs some help at the trailer. You know, I’m a good trailer man.”

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4 Responses to “The Boogens (1981)”

  1. […] 31 Flavors of Terror A terrifying movie terror-thon of terror « The Boogens (1981) […]

  2. […] The Boogens – I like the nightlife. I like to Boogens. […]

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