Director: Bruce Pearn & Ulli Lommel
Year of release: 1983
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 75 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Neither as far as I know as what is advertised as the sequel turns out to be Boogeyman Redux.
Also known as: The Boogeyman 2
Tagline: "You didn't listen to Mama the first time...Now he's back again".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: To start off with a warning make sure not to buy this film on DVD. There are several editions available but at least one of them and perhaps all just turn out to be something called Boogeyman Redux which is simply the original with some new footage thrown in of Ulli Lommel playing the Mickey character being interviewed by the police. About 90% of it though is a retread of the first film. In the end I had to resort to watching the true 1983 sequel online.
One of the few survivors of the first film Lacey takes a break from her domestic family life to visit a friend and her film director husband at their lavish mansion. She hasn’t been there long before revealing to her hosts the story of the grisly business which befell her family during the first film. The friend Bonnie and her film director husband Mickey are supportive but sceptical of the tale though Bonnie thinks it would make a great idea for a horror movie. Mickey is apparently struggling to turn a profit on his usual style of intellectual arthouse style films so she persuades him that a tacky but more mainstream horror flick may drum up a lot more public interest. Mickey reluctantly agrees and the pair decide to throw a party at their home with lots of their movie business friends invited so that they can hear Lacey’s story for themselves and hopefully be intrigued enough to help make it into a film. Murder and death prove to be the order of the day however when a fragment of the mirror that Lacey has brought along with her takes control of one of those in attendance.
Good points: Final girl and main player from the original Suzanna Love returns to play Lacey so with her on board this (despite some other limitations) does have the feel of a proper sequel. As well as being easy on the eye she is a likeable lead and plays the part of main protagonist very well. She has a pretty decent sized role in this as well so it isn’t as if she just appears for a short while in a cameo type appearance. It would have been even better if the other survivors and Lacey’s family members Willy, Jake and Kevin had also returned but sadly that wasn’t to be. Director of the original Ulli Lommel returns himself though to this time share directing duties and he also plays the role of the Mickey character.
The deaths in this are very unique making use of some unusual household items to finish off the unfortunate guests. For example we are treated to death by a pair of tongs and even an electric toothbrush! On one hand the deaths are ridiculous and rather silly in particular one involving shaving cream but at the same time they are all pretty funny and for me were easily the most entertaining aspects of the film. Each left me looking forward to the next one.
Some of the same music from the first film is reused again here along with the sound effects and noises that occur during the murders and the build up to them. So the heavy breathing and the amplified heartbeat noises for example are back and as effective as ever. These along with snippets of music from the original help create an unsettling mood. I mentioned the kills are funny and they are but they retain an element of atmosphere and creepiness to them as well thanks to the music and noises surrounding them.
Bad Points: Director Lommel apparently turned down a lot of money to make a higher budget sequel instead mainly financing it himself so that he could have full control and then shooting it entirely at his own home. As a result this looks a lot cheaper than it otherwise could have done with Lommel at the time not being a huge fan of sequels deciding to cast himself as a director who thinks himself above horror. As either a cost cutting measure or a middle finger gesture to signify his dislike of cash in sequels he then reuses a large part of the original film here again in the now famous manner of Silent Night Deadly Night 2. I would say that at least a third of the film is just a retreading over old ground so these bits can be really boring to sit through again. I suppose just how boring would be dependent on how long it’s been since you saw the original.
With this being a fairly short film anyway and then taking into account all the reused footage from number one the characters of the Hollywood types/party guests don’t get much screen time or opportunity to establish their characters. Due to this we don’t care too much when they get killed off or barely even know who they are in some cases. In general there doesn’t seem to have been much effort made with the script with much of the dialogue we do get just being mindless chatter that does little to hold the interest. The characters really suffer due to this lack of effort. Another missed opportunity character wise is the young girl Honey, the daughter of Bonnie and Mickey and this films version of Kevin from the original. She just seems to disappear however once the killings begin so they miss the chance to give us a tense child in peril moment. I assume she is just supposed to sleep right through all the action but Bonnie should have at least mentioned her or gone to check on her. Plus it begs the question why bother to include her at all if she wasn’t going to contribute anything significant?
There were two silly bits that let the film down, one small and the other big. Firstly the character of the butler Joseph just seemed too weird, unrealistically so. At one point he is seen pruning a hedge but surely that task would fall to a separate gardener? If for some reason Joseph was pulling double duty and maintained the garden as well I doubt he would do so in a smart suit! Secondly and much more of an issue is how it is never properly explained why Lacey brings a fragment of the mirror along with her on the visit. It seems a funny thing for her to do seeing that she has first hand experience of how deadly it can be. At the end of the original there was a spare piece seen at the graveyard so it’s feasible that Lacey discovered this when revisiting the graves but surely after doing so she would just have destroyed it in a similar manner to the rest of the fragments? It makes no sense for her to keep it. You can’t even say she held onto it as proof of the mirrors power as she didn’t go to Hollywood with the intention of making a film or selling her story in any way. It was coaxed out of her and then she was reluctant to turn it into a film so this area of things is a bit of a plot hole.
Verdict: The original Boogeyman though no classic was spooky and creepy and definitely had its moments but sadly this sequel feels lazy and can’t hold a candle to what has gone before. All the recycled footage from said original is disappointing in itself but even the new stuff here has a neglected feel to it. Things seem as if they have been quickly cobbled together without much thought and effort in particular regarding the script. The return of Suzanna Love and some interesting if silly kills with some good sound effects and noises to go along with them just about elevate it above the bottom of the barrel level but it’s a big comedown from the 1980 film it followed.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Sandor: Killed with either shears or hedge trimmers or possibly both. You couldn’t tell exactly what happened as we just see blood dripping on to his companion Sally’s hand and screaming.
2)Sally: Killed at the same time as Sandor with the same items but again we don’t see what exactly happens.
3)Harvey: Attacked by electric toothbrush which thrusts itself into his mouth presumably choking him.
4)Kathy: A can of shaving cream sprays itself all over her face which seems to kill her! Not sure quite how though perhaps we are to assume it burnt or melted her face through supernatural means.
5)Bernie: Pulled out of car sun roof by garden hose coiling around his neck. I think Mickey finds his body late pinned to the wall with the hose still around his neck.
6)Cynthia: Is knocked forward on to a car exhaust pipe which goes into her mouth. The car then turns on forcing her to inhale the fumes.
7)Priscilla: Choked by what looked to be barbecue tongs. A prong appeared to attach itself to either side of her neck and then they squeezed together until she died.
8)Jim: Killed by cork screw, It was unclear which part of his body it bore into but possibly his forehead.
9)Joseph: Drowned in the swimming pool after Bonnie and Lacey throw him in and hold him down under the water.
10)Bonnie: Killed in car explosion after Joseph’s hand with mirror shard bursts from his gravesite.