Friday, July 22, 2011

Bride of Buddha Manstein!

WARNING - The Golden Headed Reviewer demands a mate!
Or Coffeemate. Either one's fine.

They did it... Meh Way.

The Boogens (1981) To answer that question right off...they have nothing to do with nasal mucus deposits, but instead Boogens are mean little dog sized subterranean critters crawling up out of the earth in this fairly obscure monster movie from the early 80's horror boom. The story has two veteran miners moving into a small Colorado town to reopen the long-closed silver mine. Luckily for us, they have also hired two young guys to assist who just happen to be exactly right to be the lead and sidekick of an 80's horror movie. Unluckily for them, their work in the mine also involves opening up tunnels long shut off, including one right underneath the house the young guys are renting and sharing with their girlfriends. This brings out a mysterious old man who starts skulking around the mine and the house, and from underground, some nasty little critters who proceed to eat the cast one by one.

Fred is McCarren a torch for Rebecca, despite the Balding.

I had never managed to see this particular horror flick, missing it in the theater and never finding it on any of my cable channels or on VHS for rent in any of the years since its original release. As it turns out, the movie is only okay. It starts off well, introducing four likable main characters and setting up the main plot with the original mine's closing being shown through newspaper clippings over the credits. From there, though, things slow waaay down as the Boogens claim only one victim in the first 50 minutes, though they do provide a constant threat to one character's dog.

And speaking of the Boogens, that is another big problem with the movie. Despite getting their appellation into the title, the creatures are only name checked in the movie once by that mysterious old guy who mumbles it during an attack scene, making even the one vocalization easy to miss. And along with never explaining why these creatures are called Boogens, the movie pretty much drops the ball entirely on filling in any back story at all.

Anne-Marie Martin and the
clingiest damn towel in movie history
We get hints along the way that these creatures caused the mine to close 70 years before, and we expect that the old guy is going to eventually open up and spill the answers to all the questions. About the time we realize that this man, though elderly, is too young to have been an adult involved in a mining disaster 70 years before, he does finally stop skulking and step out center stage, but he barely has time to say he is the son of the single survivor of the mine's collapse, yell "You've let them loose again!" and mumble "It's the Boogens!" before one pops up to shut him up permanently. So the questions of what the Boogens are, where they came from, and how they survived 70 years closed off in the mine are never answered. On the plus side, the cast is kind of fun, with recognizable faces Rebecca Balding (Silent Scream and TV's Soap) Fred McCarren (Xanadu), Anne-Marie Martin (Dori Doreau on TV's Sledge Hammer!) and veteran character actors John Crawford (all over 60's and 70's television, like Batman and Mission Impossible) and Jon Lormer (Creepshow).

Boogen, Danno.
 The Boogens themselves are mostly represented through low to the ground point of view shots for the first hour or so in classic pre CGI monster movie style until they are finally revealed in all their early 80's animatronics glory near the climax. Of course, special effects critters are expensive, so there is really only one, but he plays several Boogens in the last twenty minutes or so. It is an effectively designed and nasty looking octopus type thing, though the lack of movement hinders the chase scenes since the movement is restricted to waving tentacles and growling. Luckily those low down point of view shots can still fill in for the chases. All in all, this one almost succeeds, but the draggy middle and lack of exposition end up making it only for 80's horror completists in the end.



The Relentless Four (Aitor Films, 1965) This is a fairly standard issue spaghetti western from the mid-60's except for two facts: 1.) It stars Adam West right before he slipped on the cowl, which is marvelous; and 2.) star Adam West is dubbed by another actor, which cuts the marvelousness by half. The story gives us Sam Garrett (West), a Texas Ranger fond of riding the range and dispensing justice while wearing a bright pink shirt. This flamboyant dress sense nearly proves his undoing when a foursome of no-goodniks dress one of their number in a matching ensemble and knock somebody off. Of course, the eyewitnesses all describe the perp in the pink shirt, so it's not long before Sam is under arrest, leaving that titular quartet free to ravage the countryside. Will Sam be able to get free long enough to track down the real perps and prove they framed him?

The Mild Mild West.
Director Primo Zeglio pretty much paints by numbers here, with the novelty of Adam West in the lead sunk by the dubbing. The story is serviceable, and the action is well handled and plentiful, so if you like any Western flick served up slathered in a hearty marinara, this is definitely worth a watch. But if you're tuning in to see the West put in the Western, this one's pretty much a no-go.

And that will wrap us up for this go-round. Until next time, always remember to keep watching the skies!


  1. I've never seen either of these movies. Creepy fun. Nice to see Adam West apart from Batman (although he will always be the best batman EVER!) KAPOW!!!

  2. Luana - BAM! THWAP! Yep, the 1960's Batman series is one of my very favorites! It's a pity no one went back and did a new soundtrack for The Relentless Four and let Adam West do his own voice. Heck, he could do it now - he sounds almost exactly the same!

  3. ahaha, yeah that little dog did got a hell of a night with them Boogens. Actually, your review nailed everything this movie is about.