Take one shot of Halloween, one shot of The Exorcist; pour into a shaker with ½ pint of Bad Acting and ½ pint of Low Budget; add just a splash of The Amityville Horror. Shake well. Serve over a weak script, and garnish with a couple of fairly decent gore scenes and a late-70s patina.
If mixed properly, this will result in a tall, cool glass of Ulli Lommel’s 1980 film, The Boogey Man.
I’ll get right to it: Young Willie and his sister Lacey have a drunken whore for a mom in the 1960’s; for fun on a Friday night, mom does a slaphappy striptease for her creepy boyfriend and (when she sees that her very young children are watching) has the guy tie her son to his bed and gag him so he’ll “stay outta the way” whilst sending the little girl to bed. Little Lacey just can’t stand to see her brother treated like this; she sneaks downstairs and retrieves a knife and cuts her brother loose from his bonds. Willie, understandably, is a bit pissed off, so once freed he takes the knife, slips up behind the boyfriend while he’s trying to get busy with mom, and performs some amateur spinal surgery…
Flash forward 20 years; the kids are grown. Lacey is married with a little boy of her own, and Willie is a slightly dull-looking mute. They apparently live with their aunt and uncle, and Lacey’s husband Jake, who appears to be a sheriff (I know my descriptions here are vague; that’s because very little is really said about any of these points, and they all turn out to be irrelevant, anyway). Lacey is troubled by bad dreams, and Willie really doesn’t like mirrors (although he does like exotic pets and knives, but nothing really comes of those revelations, either). Jake sets out to cure Lacey of her nightmares; taking the advice of her shrink (played by the one real actor in this film, John Carradine), he takes her back to her old home, where she promptly freaks out and smashes a mirror, believing she saw the image of her mom’s boyfriend coming for her. He lovingly responds to this by insisting on taking the broken mirror back home…and putting it back together.
You read that right; he meticulously re-assembles this broken mirror, right down to little slivers the size of a gnat’s ass…it’d be quite impressive if it wasn’t so fucking ridiculous, but I digress…
From there, the movie bounces around every high point of horror from the decade of 1970-1979. Knife murders. A house with the little rounded windows in the corners that look like eyes, carefully shot with a wind-blown branch in the foreground. Demonic possession (although the demonic voice sounds a hell of a lot like Donald Duck on bad acid). A priest with living eyebrows doing battle with evil, getting stabbed in the back but…bleeding from the top of his head…?
This movie is a tough one to review; on the one hand, well…the movie’s awful. The acting is, for the most part, quite wooden. The plot is very, very shaky, to say the least. The soundtrack often sounds like a three-year-old bangin’ on a synthesizer with a rubber hammer (they were obviously shooting for the jarring musical cues Carpenter had in Halloween; they missed). The chop-happy editing was obviously done by a palsy sufferer that they gave about six cups of black coffee, a dull hatchet, and a hearty Bon Chance!
On the other hand, it has a concept with real potential involving the mirror shards, and the gore scenes (few though they be) are pretty good for the time. The camera work is actually pretty competent. I can see why the movie has a cult appeal; it would be great fun with a bunch of like-minded pals and a couple bottles of decent wine. It’s far from the worst horror film I’ve ever sat through; I’ll even admit (grudgingly) that there were things about it that I liked in a “bad movie” kinda way.
In fairness, however, I gotta call it like I see it; this flick will only appeal to a very narrow demographic. If you give this one a go, know ahead of time it’s for fun, not for deep plot, original story or anything resembling ‘scary’. If you pay more than a buck for it, you’re either a high connoisseur of the bad flick, or you think you’re buying something else=)
Of course, that’s just my opinion; take from it what you will.