For the record, neither of the two films on this DVD have anything to do at all with the recent Boogeyman film directed by Stephan T. Kay and released in early 2005, despite the fact that Sony has ensured that the cover art on this release is reasonably similar. Onto the movies...
The Boogeyman: Uli Lommel's supernatural slasher from 1980 borrows heavily from a few different horror movies that came before it (Halloween and The Amityville Horror for example) but doesn't do anything as well as the films that influenced it did.
A young girl named Lacey and her brother, Willy, witness their mother fooling around with her boyfriend, up to some kinky fun on the couch. They bust mom putting her stocking over his head but soon, mom catches them spying on her. The boy toy ties up poor Willy, binding him to the bed, then heading over to mom's room to get back to business. Lacey goes and grabs a knife and cuts her brother free, who takes the knife and plunges it into the man's back, killing him.
Fast forward twenty years into the future and Lacey (Suzanna Love) is married to Jake (Ron James). They have a kid and live with Jake's aunt and uncle at the family farm. Willy (Nicholas Love) is still around too, though he no longer talks he works in the barn for the family. Lacey continues to be haunted by that night and even though she's gone to see a psychiatrist named Dr. Warren (John Carradine) a few times, she's been unable to shake her fears. Warren tells Jake he should take her back to the old family home where the murder occurred so that she can see it how it is now and forget how she remembers it from her childhood. He agrees, and off they go to check it out. When they arrive, the house is for sale and the teenage girls who occupy it while their parents are away for the weekend let them in to look around. Lacey goes postal when she sees a mirror that the girls claim came with the house, and she smashes it. Jake cleans it up, brings it back to the family home, and puts it back together.
Once the broken mirror is repaired to the best of Jake's ability, they hang it in the kitchen and soon enough, the evil that was contained in that mirror escapes into the area and strange, moderately gory murders begin to take place that seem to be somehow connected to Lacey and Willy's childhood experiences.
This one is an interesting premise, but man, this movie is not without its very obvious and very serious flaws. First of all, there's really nothing 'boogeyman' about this film. It has to do with an evil spirit that travels through shards of a broken mirror and possesses those around it at will, causing them to kill, kill, kill. It's more of a possession film than a slasher film but those kill scenes do bring home memories of some of Jason Vorhees' work from the Friday The 13th Films so that element is definitely there. A few gratuitous nude shots and some random teenagers who show up, make out, then die also root this one within the confines of the slasher genre, just with a slightly more supernatural twist towards the end where, without wanting to ruin it for you, Lacey's character turns into Paul Stanley from Kiss.
Poorly acted but competently directed the pacing is fine, the movie moves along at a decent clip and enough happens throughout it's brisk running time that it isn't a dull film, even if it isn't a very good film. A few unexpected jump scares are moderately amusing, and the triple homicide that really gets the ball rolling is gory, nasty, and inspired. Don't go into this one expecting any serious scares as there aren't any to be found, but it's a fun time killer and an entertaining, if rather dumbed down, product of its time.
Return Of The Boogeyman: Skipping Boogeyman II for some reason and instead 'treating' fans to the third film in the franchise, Sony has opted to include this second follow up to Lommel's film on the opposite side of this 'flipper' disc. We're almost better off without it…
Kelly Galindo plays Annie, a woman who is haunted by visions of the murders from the first film. She visits a psychiatrist named Dr. Ricky Love (Omar Kaczmarczyk) who tries to help her from having this horrible nightmarish visions anymore and in order to do this, he takes her on a mental journey in to the past. What this enables the filmmakers to do is use almost forty minutes of clips taken from the first film and splice them into this movie without much reason for any of it save to pad the running time out to an intensely painful seventy five minutes or so. Throw in the same clip of a woman in the bathtub killed by a falling radio over and over again, a few random boobs and some horribly delivered dialogue that makes no sense at all, and you're left with a complete waste of whatever this movie was shot on (it looks like it was shot on video).
The very definition of inept, this film is a complete waste of time and if you've seen the first movie, you've seen all the good parts of this follow up as it recycles so much footage and edits it into this film so poorly that it's just not worth your time unless you're a true glutton for punishment and get some sort of masochistic kick out of watching really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, terrible films.
The first film is presented in a decent but far from perfect 1.85.1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colors look good enough on this release and skin tones are pretty decent looking but there's some heavy line shimmering and edge enhancement throughout playback. Black levels stay strong but exhibit some minor grain in spots. Print damage isn't too heavy and doesn't become problematic at all. Overall, The Boogeyman looks okay.
Return Of The Boogeyman is a completely different story. This film looks terrible. The fullframe image is murky and ugly and flat and void of fine detail. This looks like it was taken from a VHS source (I'm sure it was) as it's very faded and soft and the black levels are weak and grey. Color definition is severely lacking and skin tones look murky and yellow. An ugly transfer for an ugly film!
Both films are presented in their native English language and in Dolby Digital Stereo mixes. The first film sounds good, even if the levels are a little low in one or two scenes and some of the dialogue is just a hair on the muffled side. The background music and sound effects come through just fine and aren't overpowering or obnoxious and for ninety-nine percent of the film the dialogue is pretty clean and clear.
The second film, just like the video transfer, takes a big step down in quality. What little dialogue that there is that isn't swiped from stock footage from the first film is flat, muffled, and at times rather hard to understand – again, probably as a result of poor source material.
Both movies come with the same supplements – a half a dozen trailers for a few other unrelated DVD releases also available from Sony.
Boogeyman is a mildly amusing eighties horror film that serves as nothing more than a decent time killer with a couple of interesting murder set pieces. It's derivative, but it's entertaining if you turn off your brain. Return Of The Boogeyman is utter dreck from start to finish and doesn't even work as a 'so bad it's good' film – it's just awful in every respect. Hardcore eighties horror fans might want to rent this to check out the first film, everyone else should skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.