|Review||Boogens||Director||James L. Conway|
|Writers||David O’Malley and Bob Hunt (Screenplay) – Tom Chapman and David O’Malley (Story)|
|Cast||Rebecca Balding, Fred McCarren, Anne-Marie Martin, Jeff Harlan, John Crawford, Med Flory and Jon Lormer|
“You let’em out! Not we gotta close’em up again!” – Blanchard
Two young men, Mark (McCarren) and Roger (Harlan), are hired as assistants to foremen Brian (Crawford) and Dan (Flory) to explore a long abandoned silver mine and determine whether it’s fit to reopen. During a blast something is let loose and starts wreaking havoc at a nearby guesthouse Mark and Roger are sharing with Trish (Balding) and Jessica (Martin). And there’s a crazy looking guy named Blanchard who starts stalking the mines and warning everyone that the Boogens are out there.
“I recommend “The Boogens”…wildly energetic monster movie…” declared one Stephen King for Twilight Zone Magazine back in the day. I wholeheartedly agree with the King of horror as “The Boogens” does just about every thing exceptionally well if you’re in the mood for a good creature-feature. But just about everything as it somewhat falters in one department but I’ll get to that later.
The filmmakers scored some to-die-for locations for shooting the film. Taking place in the snow covered Silver City but filmed in Park City, Utah and Colorado, these locations work wonders in creating an attractive and mood setting environment. Interior work is no slouch either as the insides of the mine are superbly realized. There’s some top quality craftsmanship on display here. Couple that with some nicely done set pieces involving an unseen creature of immense strength that goes after it’s victims when they’re alone. There’s even some decent gore shown at the climax of some very good suspense sequences.
Director Conway has a good feeling for pace and even during the filler scenes “The Boogens” remains entertaining. That’s in no small part thanks to a very good cast who have good chemistry and their characters are likeable as well. Secondary roles are also in good hands with old timers Crawford and Flory. The script nicely sets up the myth of the Boogens as a series of headlines from newspapers in the opening credits detail the downhill spiral of the mine which lead to it being closed for 70 years.
“The Boogens” didn’t have a big budget (something around 600.000 USD) but look-wise everything is perfect except for one thing; The Boogens themselves. When the titular monsters appear (and only one puppet was used) they do look kinda’ ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that they may induce laughter and therefore leave the audience a bit wanting. That seems to have been the fate of this little cult item as most reviewers can’t get over the look of the monster and that sours the whole experience. But the fact is that they occupy precious little screen time (thankfully!) and everything else is so well done that it’s hard to not wholly recommend the film for horror fans.