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The Boogens


Title: The Boogens
Year Of Release: 1981
Running Time: 95 minutes
DVD Released By: Olive Films
Directed By: James L. Conway
Writing Credits: Thomas C. Chapman (story), Jim Kouf (as Bob Hunt),
David O'Malley (story and screenplay)
Starring: Rebecca Balding, Fred McCarren, Anne-Marie Martin
Taglines:
1. There Is No Escape!
2. Some Things Shouldn't Be Disturbed...
3. After a 100 years they have reawakened.
4. Afraid of not knowing... Afraid to find out... After a 100 years someone has reawakened "The Boogens"
Alternate Titles:
None Found

Review Date: 2.15.16

Shadow's Title: "Mine Kampf"

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Boogens

Characters
Roger Lowrie – We don’t know much about Roger other than is he something of a smartass who is always joking or clowning around. Oh, and he is obsessed with sex. From the beginning, he knows exactly how long it has been since he last spent some quality time with his girlfriend, Jessica. In horror films being the clown or the horniest guy in the group is a bad thing. Being both is definitely a death sentence for sure.
Jessica Ford – She moves to Silver City to be with her boyfriend, Roger and his buddy Mark as they start new jobs at the mine. The three have rented a house together and Jessica decides to bring her friend Trish along in hopes that she and Mark will hit it off. They do. One could only imagine the amount sex taking place in that cabin over time if the Boogens had not come along and started eating people.
Mark Kinner – He is an electrical engineer who is buddies with Roger. It seems like he hasn’t really settled on a career path yet and takes a job at the mine just to be doing something. He hits if off with Trish very soon after meeting her and by that first night they’re pumping away in front of the fireplace. I guess there is not much else to do in small towns in the middle of winter. Either that or re-arrange one’s sock drawer.
Trish Michaels – She is friends with Jessica and accompanies her on the move to Silver City for a few days, having recently moved from Pennsylvania and landing a job at a Denver newspaper. She and Mark hit it off and then get it on in quick succession, setting themselves up to be the films protagonists. In fact, I think they were the only ones in the film to actually get laid.
Brian Deering – He works for Syndicated Mines Incorporated and has been tasked with the job of re-opening the old silver mine in Silver City, Colorado (Just FYI, there is no Silver City in Colorado, but there is one in New Mexico. However, this movie was filmed in Utah! Confused?). Brian doesn’t seem like a raging asshat like many bosses are, but that doesn’t do him any favors in the end.
Dan Ostroff - He also works for Syndicated Mines Inc. and with Brian, has been sent down from Denver to re-open the Silver City Mine. I’m not sure exactly what his area of expertise is, aside from getting his ass handed to him at pool along with Brian. At one point he was taking soil samples to test for silver deposits, so I thought maybe he was a mineralogist or geologist, but given how those samples had to be sent to Denver for testing, I doubt it.
Martha Chapman – She and her husband own the house that Roger, Mark and Jessica will be renting. The night before they are scheduled to arrive, she goes out to get the place ready, crashing her car into a ditch on the way. She walks the rest of the way and intends on spending the night until the next day…that is, until the Boogens arrive, recently released from the mine and decide she is quite the dish…literally.
Deputy Greenwalt – This poor guy wasn't around much, but anytime there was anything remotely fishy going on, he was there to investigate and ask questions. At least he was doing his job! In fact, at the end he got out to the cabin in record time when Mark called for help. Too bad he ignored one of the most important rules in horror cinema: the killer/monster/whatever is never dead even when it appears to be dead.
Old Man Blanchard – His father was the only survivor of the cave-in which closed the mine in 1912. Before being committed to an asylum, his father told him of the real reason behind the collapse: the Boogens. For decades this guy has made it his mission to ensure the mine stays closed, so you can imagine he is not too happy with efforts to reopen it. Just be sure to get him his damn birthday cake, Bedelia!
The Boogens – Don’t ask what they are, cuz I don’t know. They’re small and low to the ground, like a flattened tortoise. They have round heads with big eyes and lots of teeth. Plus, they have tentacle-like appendages with dagger-like claws at the tips. Oh, and they live underground. This is one sure to boggle the taxonomists. Don’t expect to see them much or even very well at all when they do show up on screen.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Was Snotmonsters really that bad of a title?The film makers don’t waste any time with this one. The very first thing we see is the film’s title in blood red letters against a black background as ominous music swells. The music then takes on an old west feel (lots of harmonica) and we see black and white photos from the period. Newspaper headlines now follow. We see the Silver City Gazette front page for July 12, 1888: SILVER STRIKE IN HIGH COUNTRY. Next up is the headline for July 10th. Yes, you read that correctly, we are now moving back in time by two days. This one reads, MOTHERLODE STRUCK IN ROCKIES.

The opening credits begin to unfold with old photos of miners and newspaper headlines conveniently filing in all of the back story that we require. Further headlines include:

August 2, 1888: HUNDREDS POUR INTO MOUNTAINS
August 10, 1888: RICHEST VEIN IN HISTORY

Alas, things can’t be all positive forever, right? Apparently the mine in question was quite productive for a number of years, but things take a darker turn on May 3, 1912. The headline reads: TWO MORE CAVE-INS. Then the very next day: SAFETY INSPECTOR DUE.

Let’s pause for just a brief second. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that by 1912, a full twenty-four years after the “motherlode” was struck in Silver City, that the town was fairly prosperous. With that much silver being extracted from a local mine, I’m sure the population is decent sized, not only from the miners and mining companies but from all the support services. I’m sure the place is booming quite well. So why then does the headline read “Safety Inspector Due?” Is the town so boring that that makes for a riveting headline? Or is just because the town’s livelihood depends so much on the mine that anything that endangers it is automatically top of the news?

Sadly, things don’t get better on May the 5th. That day’s headlines reads: TWENTY-SEVEN TRAPPED IN MINE. Now before you start singing the ballad of Harry Warden and threatening to kill people if the Valentine’s Day dance is not cancelled, just remember that that is another movie entirely. Neither does this one have a happy ending like what befell those miners in Chile a few years back. The next headline (though we get no date for it) reads: MINERS FEARED DEAD. Next up from the 7th of May is MINERS REPORT ATTACKS IN MINE, followed quickly by MINE CLOSED on May 10th. There are a few more old time photos and the credits end and we begin out feature in modern day (1981) Silver City, Colorado.

The mine in question is being reopened by Brian Deering and Dan Ostroff who work for Syndicated Mines Incorporated. They have hired Mark Kinner and Roger Lowrie to help them. They’ve barely got the locks broken and the door open and Roger is already complaining about how long it has been since he saw his girlfriend and gotten laid (eleven days, seven hours is the answer). They hook up a portable generator for power and then Dan, Mark and Roger head into the mine – the first to do since 1912 – to check things out.

Inside, Dan checks the support beams and marks which ones need to be replaced. A small part of the tunnel collapses and Roger jokingly says that he shit his pants at the sudden scare. Eventually they get some power lines extended through the place and a series of lights set up. As they are doing this, we learn that Roger has a blind date set up for Mark by the name of Trish.

Later we see Brian and Dan setting some dynamite. They light the fuse and then skedaddle all the way outside where Mark and Roger are waiting, discussing the blind date. KABOOM. The dynamite in the mine blows and a cloud of dust erupts from the mine. Nearby on a hill, an old man watches, a worried look on his face. With the work day done, Brian offers to buy Mark and Roger a beer, but they refuse, citing the need to pack up, as they are moving into their new house the next day after work.

Night comes and we see Martha Chapman driving down a country road. She swerves to avoid a deer in the road and ends up in the ditch, the car now firmly stuck in mud and snow. The funny thing is, she wasn’t really going that fast and the deer was quite a ways in front of the car, so it really looked like she just drove into the ditch on purpose. Plus, there is a sticker on her rear window that reads “I brake for animals” Hahahaha! Grabbing a flashlight and her purse, she continues on down the road on foot, eventually coming to a darkened cabin. This must have been her original destination as she unlocks the door and waltzes right on in.

She gets the power on and flips on a few lights. The she makes a phone call to someone (most likely her husband) and we learn from listening to her side of the conversation that this is the house that Mark and Roger will be moving into the next day and she just stopped by to get the place ready. So Martha must be the landlord. She explains that she is going to have to spend the night there as her car is currently in a ditch.

Outside, a car pulls up to the cabin and the old man we saw earlier spying on the work at the mine now gets out. Am I the only one now anticipating some sort of “You’re doomed, DOOMED” speech from this old timer? As Martha wraps up her phone conversation, the old guy looks in on her through the window. He’s a peeping tom!

So Martha now descends the stairs into the cellar in order to light the furnace. As she is doing this, an odd sound can be heard, like something being dropped or moved. She pans her flashlight around the cellar but sees nothing. She heads back upstairs and with a last look back down, she closes the door.

“Verne Troyer?! Get out of my house!”Geez, at least fight back, lady.Time passes and we see her in bed, reading a book. Turning our attention back down to the cellar we now are treated to some Monster-Cam, which lets us know that something is moving about in the dark. The POV shots continue and apparently whatever is down there is not being as quiet as they could be, as Martha pauses from her reading and looks around, having heard something. She gets up and goes to investigate. The monster cam is slowly ascending the cellar stairs as she gets a knife from the kitchen. She approaches the window and looks out.

Alas, there is nothing outside (who knows where that old perv vanished to) but a sound from inside draws her attention. It seems that whatever has climbed the cellar stairs has now emerged into the kitchen, She looks at it and screams in terror – and not just because it has caught her in her underwear. Whatever it is, it grabs her by the feet and pulls, which causes her to fall. Then it begins to pull her across the floor and back into the cellar. For her part, all Martha does is scream and wave her hands about. No attempt whatsoever at trying to free herself or fend off her attacker. Though we see her being pulled, we never see exactly what it is that is doing the pulling. Martha vanishes through the cellar door and down the stairs, one last scream echoing through the now empty house.

The next day we see a tow truck pulling her car from the ditch. Nearby, Deputy Greenwalt is calling in the make, model and license plate. I guess someone found it in the light of day, but I wonder why no one thinks to check in at the cabin, since this narrow road seems to lead there, The place cannot be too far away, as Martha Chapman managed to walk to it in the cold, at night without freezing to death.

We turn our attention back to the mine, where Brian, Dan, Mark and Roger are exploring its depths and using an old map to navigate, but the tunnels don’t match what it shows. They come upon a cave collapse which they theorize was the one that closed the mine seventy years earlier. Brian sets the others to clearing it while he checks in with the main office in Denver in hopes of procuring more accurate maps.

Elsewhere, a yellow Volkswagen Beetle cruises down a lonely road, carrying Jessica Ford and Trish Michaels. It seems Jessica is horny Roger’s girlfriend and Trish is the blind date they have set up for Mark. They stop at a T-intersection out in the middle of nowhere and pause to consult the map. It seems they are having trouble navigating and using the map. Women having trouble reading a map? There’s a shocker. While stopped, Jessica lets out her small Bichon Frise, Tiger, so he can answer the call of nature. Like all dogs, Tiger promptly runs into the woods and won’t stop for nothing, forcing the two women to tromp after him in the snow. They fail to locate the dog and decide to head back to the car.

Excuse me for a second while I engage in a rant. Would people let their elderly parents go traipsing off into the snowy woods and not try and retrieve them? Of course not. Would people allow their small children to go running pell mell into said woods and not go after them? Of course not. When it comes to family members, most folks would look for as long as necessary in order to locate the wayward people (I did say most folks, as no one has met members of my family, who I would have loved to have misplaced in the snowy woods at one time). So why do people just shrug off a dog or a cat? My dogs are like my children and in truth, I would rather spend time with them that with most people, so when I encounter a person who so nonchalantly turns their back on a wayward dog, I instantly have a disliking for that person. Despise might be a better word. I despise people like that. Anyway, Jessica and Trish stomp back to the car and lo and behold, there is Tiger waiting for them – on top of the car! How did that little dog get way up there?

We return to the mine where Dan, Mark and Roger are laboring away at clearing that tunnel collapse. One by one, the large stones are moved and they make it through into the next chamber, which seems to be a natural cavern and which features a large subterranean pond. As they walk around the perimeter of the pond, no one notices something moving about in the water. Mark then sees something half buried in the soft dirt…a human skull. Dan thinks it belongs to one of the miners that was trapped in the final collapse, but then notices something else. A few feet away is a large pile of human bones, enough for twenty to thirty people. Dan calls Brian via the radio and tells him to come look.

“Why are you giving me that look? It’s not like I ran over that cat twice.”Trish and Jessica have worked out their issues with the map and have found their way to Silver City, which isn’t what either expected. Trish wonders why Roger didn’t get a job in a town with a ski resort. Jessica says it is because the rents in those towns are too high. Eventually the two women find their way to the cabin and begin exploring the place, Jessica checking the stability of the beds, as it has now been twelve days since she and Roger had sex. What’s funny is that they find no evidence of Martha Chapman having been there the night before. When she was killed – or at least – dragged into the cellar to be killed – she was clad only in a shirt and panties. Didn’t Trish and Jessica find her pants somewhere or the book she was reading? What about her purse and car keys? Those had to be laying around there somewhere, right? Or did the unseen monsters come up and clear away those things to throw suspicion off them?

Trish decides to take a shower, but there doesn’t seem to be any hot water. She wonders where the water heater would be and Jessica says that they are usually in the basement. Clad only in a robe, Trish grabs a flashlight and some matches and descends into the cellar. Spooky music plays and as she locates the water heater and lights the pilot light, a POV shot lets us know that something is watching her from the dark corners of the cellar. Heading for the stairs, she pauses when she hears a soft rustling sound. She looks around and sees nothing, but hears the sound again. She approaches some old crates and…Tiger the dog jumps out and barks at her. Naturally she nearly jumps out of her skin (though I’d have preferred to see her jump out of the robe) and chases Tiger back upstairs.

Another work day has ended and Mark and Roger are preparing to head to their new house, where the girls will be waiting. Roger is going into detail on how he is going to lick Jessica from head to toe when Brian interrupts them. It seems someone in Denver has some updated maps of the mine and Brian wants Roger to drive down tonight and pick them up. Roger doesn’t want to go as tonight his girl is in town and since it has been twelve days since they humped, he thinks his balls are about to fall off from neglect. Well, he doesn’t say that, but it’s clear that he desperately wants to get laid and driving to Denver that night will surely throw a wrench into the gears. Mark volunteers to go, but Brian says he is needed to help string lights. To make things a little easier for Captain Blue Balls, Brian tells Roger that he doesn’t have to leave before three AM, which will give him plenty of time to play hide the sausage. Arrangements are made to meet up later that night so Roger can get the company pickup truck for the trip. As Mark and Roger drive away, who should be parked nearby watching them? Yep, that creepy old man that’s been stalking and spying on everyone in this film.

We segue into a shot of Jessica screaming, but it’s only because Roger is tickling her with his fingers. She is making quite the racket and I have to wonder, if she is this loud from being tickled by his fingers, how loud is she during the pickle tickle?

Hearing the screams, Trish comes barreling out of the shower, thinking Jessica is being attacked. Alas, it is only Roger. Trish is standing in the doorway, using a towel to cover her front, but leaving her rear exposed. Mark comes down the hallway carrying stuff and when he drops something while staring at her ass (the camera zooms in so close on her butt, it must have appeared to be twenty feet across on movie screens back in 1981), Trish realizes he is there and whirls around to face him. This now puts her bare ass in view of Roger and Jessica, the former letting out a whistle at the sight. Of course, Jessica promptly clobbers him with a pillow. This just proves how much of an idiot Roger is. You never and I do mean never, whistle at another girl’s butt – even in jest – when your girlfriend is right next to you. Only trouble can ensue.

Anyway, Trish slinks back into the bathroom to finish her shower and Mark closes the door to the bedroom so Roger and Jessica can get to screwin’. Apparently, Tiger thinks it is play time and wants to get in on the action, spurring the horny couple to open the door and deposit him in the hallway. The dog joins Mark in the kitchen, where he scratches at the cellar door, perhaps sensing something down there. Or maybe he just wants to go back downstairs, as he was already hiding down there earlier when he scared the crap out of Trish.

Speaking of Trish, she now joins Mark in the kitchen and the two talk while having a beer, trading their histories. He majored in electrical engineering and views the mine as just a job, she studied journalism and just got a job with the Denver Post and just moved out from Pennsylvania.

There is a knock at the door, which turns out to be Deputy Greenwalt. He’s looking for the owner of the house, Martha Chapman. Her car was located a mile and a half up the road, but no one has seen her since the day before. Trish says that they haven’t seen anyone since arriving and Mark adds that it was his pal who signed the lease and he himself never met the owners. Deputy Greenwalt wants to talk to Roger, so Mark excuses himself to retrieve him.

Of course, Roger and Jessica are snuggling in bed. I think they’re still engaged in foreplay. At least, let’s hope so. If not, that was the fastest screw ever. Mark informs them that the cops are looking for Martha Chapman, but neither of them can be of any help, even after emerging from their room and getting dressed. Greenwalt leaves and the horny couple are about to head back to their room to pick up where they left off, but Trish and Mark insist that it is time for dinner. The gang head out to the Silver City Café for some grub.

Over at the Syndicated Mines jobsite trailer, Brian is locking up and calling it a day. He gets in his truck and heads off. Who should be skulking about the place after he leaves? Yep, that creepy, pervy old man.

“Looks like Roger found a glory hole.”Mark, Roger, Trish and Jessica head out to get some food, leaving Tiger the dog home alone. The dog goes straight for the closet, grabs one of Jessica’s shoes and then climbs on the bed to start chewing on it. In short order the dog has chewed up shoes, bras and other assorted clothing items. Alas, poor Tiger is not as alone as he thinks. Something is moving about in the cellar and some monster cam POV shots let us know that it is getting close to the stairs. Perhaps having sensed something moving below, or perhaps because he read the script, Tiger makes his way to the cellar door and paws it open. He starts barking at whatever is below. That whatever begins ascending the stairs towards the small dog.

Now, realizing that this unseen presence is not very friendly, Tiger runs and hides behind a small trash can. The monster enters the kitchen and heads towards the dog’s hiding spot – all of this shown via more monster cam POV shots. Tiger bails from his hiding spot and then runs and climbs into a small cupboard, the door left slightly ajar. The monster cam turns and heads towards this new hiding spot. Is this the end for Tiger the dog?

Having eaten, the gang of four now head to some local bar to meet up with Brian and Dan and get the truck keys for Roger’s trip to Denver. Roger heads out while the others stay behind to shoot pool and drink beer.

Roger drives the company truck back to the cabin. His plan is to get a few hours of sleep before heading out to Denver in the middle of the night. He finds the place a complete mess, the contents of cupboards and the trash can strewn about. Naturally, he blames the mess on Tiger, who is nowhere to be found. He cleans up the mess and then heads to bed for some shut eye. We see that the time is 9:45 PM. As he discards his boot, the thud seems to draw the attention of the unseen monsters in the cellar.

At the bar, Trish and Mark begin flirting with one another while Jessica hustles Brian and Dan at pool. Trish and Mark – after what seems like an eternity of bad flirting - decide to head back home, while Jessica stays behind to give Brian and Dan a chance to win their money back.

Back at the cabin, Roger is trying to get some sleep but his rolling around in bed causes the bed to collapse. He gets up, dons his boots, grabs a beer and heads out to the garage where he parked the company truck. A couple times he thought he heard a sound in the house, but he just attributed to the missing tiger.

As he walks to open the garage door, a POV shot lets us know that something is watching him from under the truck. There is a whip-like sound and Roger falls to the floor. He picks himself up, but there is a second sound and he falls again. This time, before he can get up, a tentacle-like appendage appears from beneath the truck and grabs his foot. He is violently pulled under the truck, only managing to grab onto the side with his hands at the last second. He struggles with the unseen beast, which is letting out a growl-like holler, and is able to free himself and climb out from under the truck. His foot is bleeding where the tentacle had grabbed him.

Roger now stands and using a short two-by-four as a makeshift crutch, limps around a bit, leaning over and trying to look under the truck at whatever had grabbed him. As he straightens, the whip-like tentacle is back, striking him hard in the upper chest with sufficient strength to send him flying across the garage and into a storage cabinet, breaking the doors on it into kindling. As he lies on the floor, stunned, a POV shot closes in on him. He looks up and screams at whatever is coming at him. CRACK! The tentacle whips out again, and this time we see that it has a very sharp claw on the end, which slices easily through Roger’s neck. There is a splash of blood and as he gurgles his life’s breath away, Roger is pulled from sight under the truck. The poor guy. I don’t think he ever did get laid.

Trish and Mark arrive home at the cabin and are barely through the door when they are about to start kissing. An alarm clock interrupts them. It was set by Roger, but as they see no sign of him, they figure he got an early start on his trip to Denver. Thinking this, neither bothers to check the garage, where the work truck is still parked. They quickly get back to smooching, which leads to a fireside round of boom-boom. As they lay on the floor getting it on, a POV shot approaches them. Whatever it is, it is carrying a flashlight or something, because there is an obvious light source (in reality just light from the camera that wasn’t hidden very well) Alas, it just turns out to be Tiger, who interrupts them while Mark is digging for clams. I suppose hiding in that cabinet from the monsters worked out for the dog after all.

Morning comes and Mark prepares to head to work while Trish snoozes away blissfully in bed. In the kitchen he runs into Jessica, who cannot find Tiger. Mark says that he hasn’t seen the dog since last night. He looks for the dog in the cellar, where he finds an old boarded-up tunnel entrance with the boards beginning to fall off. He goes back upstairs where Jessica has located Tiger. He then heads off to work.

At work, someone has painted the word DEATH in red lettering across the mine entrance and staked several crosses into the dirt to represent graves. Deputy Greenwalt has been called to the scene, but he just chalks it up as the work of vandals. Brian and Dan aren’t so sure, as there is radio equipment nearby as well as the generator that’s worth money, but have been left untouched. Brian thinks the whole affair is “damn weird for vandals.” Raise your hand if you think you know who is responsible. Who thinks it’s that creepy old dude who has been hanging around, spying on everyone? Yep, I think so, too.

At the cabin, Trish and Jessica are cleaning up the place and talking about relationships. Zzzzzzzzz. Trish then heads off to the offices of the local newspaper, hoping to learn more about the history of the mine. She plans on stopping by the store afterwards to get things they need for the house.

Outside: lettering in window clearly visible.Inside: Is it just me or shouldn’t the shadow for the word “Gazette” be partially visible?Back over at the mine, the creepy old dude shows up and steals numerous sticks of dynamite and fuses that were stored in the back of a SUV. He walks away without closing the vehicle, but later when we see it, it’s all closed up. A quick cutaway to the offices of the Silver City Gazette shows Trish inquiring into information about the mine and the cave-in of 1912. Then we shift our attention back to the mine, where deep inside Mark is setting up lights. Dan arrives to get a sample of the soil to test for silver deposits. Mark notices something odd about all the human bones they found earlier. He wonders why, if these men died from a gas leak, why aren’t their skeletons intact rather than all stacked up in one big jumble of a pile?

Brian pops up and says that Roger should have returned by now from Denver with the maps. Brian wants Mark to head to the surface and call the company’s main office and find out what time Roger left on his return trip. Of course, you and I both know that poor Roger never left for Denver. As Mark heads topside, he doesn’t notice the creepy old dude, who is now skulking around the interior of the mine with his purloined explosives.

Alone at the cabin, Jessica takes Tiger outside and while walking around, notices the tire tracks in the snow that lead to the garage. She walks over, opens the door and finds the company pickup truck that Roger was supposed to have taken to Denver. A worried look now comes across her face.

Trish continues to look at old newspapers, trying to find out anything about the cave-in at the mine. All she manages to turn up is that the rescue efforts were called off without any given reason and that the one man who survived the ordeal was later suspected of causing the collapse, though he ended up spending time in the local funny farm. There is a phone call for Trish from Jessica, who no doubt tells her about discovering the company truck still in the garage. The next thing we see, Trish is arriving at the mine in Jessica’s yellow Volkswagen (which is nicknamed Molly). She meets up with Mark and informs him about the truck in the garage and the missing Roger. Mark says that they have not seen or heard from Roger and the main office in Denver says that he has failed to show up there. She then tells him about what she found in the newspaper archives, how one miner survived, claiming to have been attacked, but cracked up on the witness stand and was carted off to the mental institution. Trish then heads for home by way of the grocery store.

A quick question: in which direction is Denver? Once in the film Denver is referred to as “down” or south from their present location and once it is referred to as “up” or north from Silver City. Which one is it? When Mark picks up the phone later, the area code 303 is labeled on it, but that area code covers a large area in all directions around Denver. So, which way is it? I know, I know…it’s not really that important.

In the mine, Dan is hammering at a wall near that subterranean pond when he hears what sounds like something moving in the water. He looks, but sees nothing. Then Brian grabs him by the shoulder, making him jump – and no doubt causing a scream or two in the movie theater back in 1981.

We now turn our attention back to the cabin where Jessica is getting naked and preparing for a shower. Don’t get too excited, you’re not going to see anything interesting. In the basement, a monster cam POV shot tells us that the unseen critter is emerging from its access point in the tunnel opening. The monster lets out a roar, which Jessica can’t hear due to the running shower, but which scares the crap out of poor Tiger the dog, who nearly jumps right out of his fur. Tiger runs and tries clawing at the door to the bathroom and barking, but Jessica just calls out for him to shut up.

Tiger now runs over the grate set in the floor which covers a heating vent. Tiger barks as the ends of two tentacles rise up through the grate, grab hold of it and then pull it apart, leaving a small opening. Tiger continues to bark and in the shower, Jessica now gets a worried look on her face, as if finally realizing that her dog is barking for good reason. As for Tiger, he gets too close to the grate and whatever is below now zooms up and gets the poor dog, who lets out one last doggie shriek. Poor Tiger.

Hearing her dog’s cry, Jessica wraps herself in a towel and emerges from the bathroom to investigate. She finds the broken grate and the few stray bits of fur that is all that remains of the poor dog. She looks down through the grate and calls to Tiger but nothing happens. As she turns to look away, a tentacle whips up and grabs her by the forearm, pulling her down. She screams and struggles to free herself, which she eventually manages to do.

Weren’t you told not to pick at your zits?A roar from below prompts her to push over a dresser, blocking the grate, but the furniture is just tossed aside as the monster climbs into the room. She looks at it and screams again. Of course, we still have not seen the damn thing at this point. All we know is that the bloody thing has at least two tentacles. The beast now chases her through the house, which is accomplished through more monster cam POV shots. She hides in a storage room, but the creature breaks down the door. Several slashes of those clawed tentacles later and poor Jessica is a bloody mess on the floor. The funny part about all this, is that this entire time, the single towel that she is wrapped in never comes loose or falls off. That thing must be affixed with crazy glue or something.

Okay, I have a question. Just now the monster breaks down a door in order to get to Jessica. Earlier we saw that one of the monsters was strong enough to hit Roger and send him flying through the air to crash through another door. Suffice it to say that these critters are strong. So why didn’t they get Tiger when he was hiding in that cabinet? The door was still slightly ajar and even if it was closed, there is no way that it would be harder to bust through it than a full sized door. How did Tiger manage to survive other than through script magic?

The sun has now set and over in the mine Dan is convinced that there is something out in that underground pond. Brian thinks he is crazy, but Dan wades out and retrieves…Roger! Poor Rog…his face has been chewed up something fierce.

Let’s pause again, real quick. How in the hell did Roger get into the mine? He was killed in the garage. As we will soon see, anyone killed in the house is dragged down the cellar stairs by the Boogens and supposedly into the tunnel that is barely boarded up. But how did they get Roger from the garage to the mine? Last we saw, he was being pulled under the truck. Did they burrow up from the tunnels and create an access point in the floor under the truck? If they could do that, then what has prevented these things from digging to the surface a long time ago in search of food?

As Brian and Dan try to fish Roger out of the water, who should come waltzing in, but that creepy old man! The old guy is blabbering on about how they opened up the mine and let “them” out again and that it is up to him to close things up. Mark now arrives and sees Roger’s body. He wonders how Roger ended up down there when he was supposed to be at the cabin. The old guy explains that the mine tunnels run under the entire town and connect with many of the houses. Mark remembers seeing the old boarded tunnel entrance in the cellar and worried about the girls, runs off to evacuate them.

The old man now explains to Brian and Dan that it was his father that survived the cave-in back in 1912 and who ended up in the asylum. The old guy says that he’s been checking on the tunnels for years to make sure they were closed. The old guy is working himself up into quite the rage when one of the monsters swims up behind Dan – who is still standing waist deep in the water – and grabs him, pulling through the water and away into another chamber.

Brian and the old guy are reasonably upset by all this, with the old guy mumbling something about “Boogens.” A roar and some splashing water denote that the monster is coming back (or a different one is looking to score some grub like his buddy just did). The old guy lights a stick of dynamite and tosses it into the water. KABOOM. Nothing happens. He lights another one, but before he can throw it, the monster approaches (we still have no freakin’ idea what the damn thing looks like) and grabs him with a tentacle. He drops the dynamite and is pulled into the water. Brian runs and throws himself on the ground as the dynamite explodes, which causes another cave-in.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

Mark is up top in the office trailer trying to call the cabin, but no one is answering, so he calls the Sheriff’s office for help before racing home. At the cabin, Trish has returned to find the shower running, the place a colossal mess and blood on the storage room floor. The blood leaves a trail that leads to the cellar door. She calls out to Jessica and then slowly descends the stairs armed with a flashlight and a pitchfork. Monster cam lets us know that the Boogen is hiding under the staircase, watching her. After an interminable amount of time looking about the place, she finds Jessica’s bloody corpse. Oddly enough, after being killed and dragged through the house and down the stairs by the Boogen, she is still wrapped in that damn towel.

“Raar! I’m a Monsta!”Trish freaks out and runs up the stairs, but naturally, CRACK! A tentacle whips out and trips her, causing her to fall back down the stairs. She lands on her back, looks up and…what the fuck was that? That’s the freakin’ monster?! A brief shot shows us a round head and mouth full of teeth. It looks like a cheap puppet! Seriously, I thought cheap puppet monsters went out with the 50’s! Anyway, upstairs Mark and Deputy Greenwalt come barreling through the front door and hearing her screams, run down into the cellar. The Boogen has got a tentacle around Trish and is dragging her into the tunnels, but Greenwalt fires four shots into the critter, which lets Trish go and collapses. Well, the thing sits so close to the ground already, it can’t really collapse. It was more like its head just dropped to the ground as if narcolepsy had just kicked in.

Mark comforts Trish, who shows him Jessica’s body. He tells her that Roger is dead, too. Deputy Greenwalt, having never seen a monster movie in his life, now does what the rest of us know to be a supremely bad idea…he kneels down to get a closer look at the “dead” Boogen. WRONG. With his face just inches away from it, it flares to life and jumps forwards, clamping its jaws around his face, engulfing a large part of his head. He stands and struggles with it, and as he is bouncing around, he dislodges the line that feeds fuel to the heater, which causes the liquid to now spill all over the floor.

The Boogen refuses to let go, its jaws locked firmly around the deputy’s head. It slashes him with its clawed tentacles and he falls to the floor. Mark now springs into action and grabs the pitchfork that Trish dropped. He uses it to repeatedly stab the Boogen until it is still and quiet. Alas, deputy Greenwalt is quite dead. The spilled fuel now ignites (how I don’t know) and the fire quickly engulfs the stairs. With their way out blocked and with the Boogen stirring again (seriously, what does it take to kill that thing?), Mark and Trish pull loose the last remaining boards and flee down the tunnel that leads to the mines. Not long afterwards, the fuel tank in the cellar explodes, taking the entire cabin with it in a huge fireball.

Mark and Trish run through the tunnels and are attacked by another Boogen but manage to get away after Trish pushes a large beam onto its head. They race on and run into Brian, who tells them that Dan and the old man are both dead. As Mark and Trish gather up some dynamite, Brian sits in a daze. No one sees the tentacle until it is too late. A Boogen reaches down (I guess they can climb walls and ceilings like Spider-Man) and grabs Brian around the throat with its appendage, lifting him off the ground. When he is dropped back to the floor, he is dead. The beast roars and races after Mark and Trish.

I said to turn up the heat, but that is ridiculous!The pair race down the main tunnel towards the exit, the Boogen hot on their trail. Naturally they stumble and nearly fall a time or two, but manage to make it outside. Mark lights the fuse on a stick of dynamite and throws it back into the mine tunnel. KABOOM. The entrance collapses, trapping the Boogen and its brethren inside.

Mark and Trish pick themselves up and walk away, the sappy/sad music starting up. A last shot of the burning cabin is what we see as the credits roll.

Wait! This is one of those horror movie endings that initially seems okay for the protagonists but when you think about it, leaves them in a tight spot. How are Mark and Trish going to explain all this to the authorities? There are seven dead people including an officer of the law, with most of the bodies buried in the mine. The only two that are accessible are Jessica and deputy Greenwalt. Given their proximity to the fuel tank when it exploded and there might not be too much left of them aside from some burnt bones and few strands of crispy meat. The body of that one Boogen was also in the cellar, so they had better hope that enough of its remains survived the explosion to help corroborate their story. Otherwise they may have quite the time trying to sell people on what really happened. I suppose they could always re-open the mine…


Shadow's Thoughts

This is a movie that is very hard to classify. It seems that it is also somewhat polarizing, with many people fondly remembering the scares derived from viewing it as a youth (as in my own case), while others who discover it later on will often find it to be dull, plodding and devoid of decent monsters. I’d venture to say that a case could easily be made for it being good and bad, all depending on one’s viewpoint. Let’s go both routes and see which one you agree with more.

Good review:

The film does an excellent job at setting up mood and atmosphere. The Utah locations (doubling for Colorado) are stunning in the beauty of winter, really helping to convey a sense of lonely isolation. The mine sets add to the feeling of being in a barren landscape, adding that sense of confinement and claustrophobia to the proceedings. Even the cabin where so much of the monster action takes place has its own feel: safe, but cold in the light of day; while creepy and frightening once darkness falls and the shadows deepen.

The characters behave like real people, with believable desires and motivations. Never is there a moment when one of them does something that is out of character, choosing some course of action solely because the script requires it. Roger is a horny smartass, who is worried about getting laid when he is not cracking jokes. Mark is more serious, but not to the point of having to pull a stick out of his ass. Jessica is Roger’s playful girlfriend, but is not portrayed as mean or as a whore. Trish is the bright-eyed hopeful one, who looks to the future with positivity. Brain and Dan are more thinly developed, existing just as the impetus to get the ball rolling, but even they get a few moments to be something other than the guys solely interested in getting the job done. Plus, none of them are annoying teens, which is a nice change of pace for a horror film.

The film wisely chooses to not reveal its monsters too soon, offering up only small bits of information for the bulk of the running time. From the monster POV shots, we know that they are small and low to the ground with a loud roar. As time goes by we can gleam a few more facts about them: they have tentacles for appendages, are quite strong and are obvious carnivores. The idea of subterranean monsters isn’t new, but the design and implementation for the Boogens at least shows a bit of original thinking.

The pace of the movie is slow, but it gradually builds up the terror. There are several moments (even one with a dog as the protagonist) that really play up the fear of the unknown and the terrifying idea of being stalked in one’s own home. Finally, as the film nears its climax, all hell is unleashed and the surviving characters find themselves in a primal struggle to avoid ending up on the menu. The terror in essence emerges from the shadows and threatens our protagonists in the light of day…well, at least in the light of a lamp. I’d even venture to say that there is a certain amount of sadness at the end when one realizes that the potential good times to be had by the characters that the film sets up earlier will not come to pass now that half of them are dead.

Bad review:

The mine sets are passable, but I sure am tired of subterranean locations that have perfectly smooth floors. And why do the mine tunnels run to the houses in town? While the outdoor locations are beautiful to look at, the cold, stark landscapes just make it seem like the film’s characters exist in a void where no one else lives. There is very little interaction with other townsfolk which and coupled with a small cast, gives viewers the sense that they are watching a play rather than a movie, which makes things seem just a bit unbelievable. The company only hires four people to open the mine? They don’t have any sort of security for the place? Missing people don’t seem to concern anyone to much. Sometimes it seems like there should have been more people in the film.

Speaking of people, the characters, while true to life and believable, are also somewhat bland. Roger is the horny clown, but only because in comparison to everyone else he stands out for it. Mark is laid back and reserved to the point of appearing like an escapee from a zombie flick. Jessica is playful, but then doesn’t seem overly concerned about the safety and welfare of her dog on a consistent basis. Trish is the happy, hopeful one, but comes across as about as interesting as sliced bread. Everyone else exists only because the film has spots to fill in order to make the story work. And then there is the dog. What can be said about a movie where the best performance – one that engenders both humor at their antics and worry over their predicament – comes from a dog? I was more annoyed by Tiger’s demise than anyone else’s…especially after the movie teases us with his survival after one encounter with the title monsters.

The film wisely chooses to not reveal its monsters too soon because the filmmakers know that the cheap, rubbery monster prop does not appear very convincing when scrutinized. Thus, most monster attacks are carried out by the use of POV shots representing the Boogens. Between said attacks there is an awful lot of talking ad not much going on. In fact, it seems like there are very few monster attacks until the very end, so the movie has to rely on creating tension by threatening the dog in order to keep things halfway interesting. By the time the climax arrives, it is too little too late and the silly-looking monsters cannot really save the day at this point.

Summation.
There you have it. A good review and a bad review. Which one is right? Like most things, it is probably a combination of the two, but in truth, it comes down to personal tastes and what you think. For me, the film tips the scales in favor of being more good than bad. I find it easily watchable and somewhat creepy in spots. I would have really like to have seen more of the monsters, with more encounters between them and humans, but what we got is good enough for me to enjoy it. Your mileage may vary.

 

Expect To See:
Extreme Violence – Several people meet their ends at the hands…er…the tentacles of the Boogens. Since those tentacles are tipped with razor sharp claws, there is a lot of slashing and a lot of blood on display, but no entrails or guts thrown about.
Haunted Houses – The lonely cabin-style house where much of the action takes place is not haunted by any spirits, but it sure is creepy at times, especially the cellar/basement area, which features tons of junk for monsters to hide behind.
Monsters – The titular Boogens are not quite man-sized, but still big and strong enough to toss a human around like the proverbial rag doll. What genus they belong to is beyond me as they are quite unusual looking in their appearance.
Nudity – There is some brief nudity when Trish gets out of the shower and the camera zooms in on her butt. Later when she and mark get freaky in front of the fireplace, there is a bit more. All in all, not much to get excited about.
Romance – Not long after meeting, Trish and Mark are making googly eyes at one another and flirting up a storm. Despite falling into the sack awfully quick, there is the impression that there may be more to their relationship in the long run.
Sex – Despite Roger and Jessica obsessing over it, it is actually Mark and Trish who get it on during the film, which usually guarantees death in a slasher film, but in a monster film only brings them closer together.
Snow Hijinks – The movie takes place during the winter in Colorado, so there is plenty of snow on the ground. There are however, not a lot of scenes outside, as most of the action takes place indoors or underground.
Underground Hijinks – With the core plot element in the film being a mine re-opening, there is no way to avoid this one. There is lots of walking, talking, running around, screaming, bleeding and dying in subterranean locations.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 7
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 7
Smokes: 0
Gunshots fired: 4
Explosions: 5
Times Roger and Jessica talk about sex: 4
Times Roger and Jessica get to have sex: 0
Bare butts: 1
Bare boobs: 2
Clothing items chewed up by Tiger the dog: 4
Newspaper headlines: 10
Monster Cam shots: 38
Doggy Cam shots: 6
Establishing shots of mine exterior: 12
Most Boogens ever seen at once: 1
Percentage of movie Boogens actually appear in: 1.59%

02 Min – Random act of violence against a lock.
05 Min – Light from camera crew reflected off mining helmet.
09 Min – Watch out for Bambi!!
17 Min – Try fighting back, dummy!
26 Min – Talk about breaking in the bed.
32 Min – Can you zoom in any closer on her bare ass?
45 Min – The sign of a true hustler.
52 Min – What, is it giving the truck an oil change down there?
55 Min – Time for the Boom-Boom.
62 Min – I don’t think those are candles for his birthday cake.
72 Min – Somebody call PETA!
75 Min – Damn, that towel won’t come loose for anything.
77 Min – You’re doomed! DOOMED!
88 Min – Don’t get too close to it! Too late.
89 Min – KABOOM
94 Min – Roll credits. The End.


Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time you see the creepy old man lurking about, spying on people...chug a beer.

 

Images Click for larger image

“Do we really have to bring this
gas-powered bong everywhere we go?”


The proverbial deer in the headlights.

“Yeah, I heard you about a bank
robbery. I’ll be get there just as
soon as I hit Starbucks.”


 
“When you said the place had a pool,
I was envisioning something else.”

My grandmother had those exact rugs.

“Doggie years don’t count. You’re
still underage and can’t have a beer.”


 
“Four kids and a dog…where have
I seen that before?”

 
Proving how powerful this new
marijuana was, Roger ate the entire
contents of the fridge and still
had the munchies.


“I’m sorry guys, but you just can’t bury
your deceased employees on
company property.”


“There has got to be an easier way to
dig out my wine cellar.”

Why won’t my HVAC lady wear that outfit?

Geez, some guys just won’t take
no for an answer.

Gesundheit!

“It’s my birthday…and I want my cake!

“Quit aiming your gun at the audience,
or they might not stick around for the
end of the movie.”

I wonder if I left the gas on at home…

 

Immortal Dialog

Roger is under scrutiny.

Dan: “Where did you find this guy?”
Mark: “Under a rock.”
Brian: “Good. He should feel right at home.”

Shadow’s Comment: As long as it isn’t Rock Hudson we’re talking about.


Mark, Trish and Tiger the dog.

Mark: “Don’t you have a couch to rip up or a rug to pee on somewhere?”
Tiger runs off
Trish: “He listens to you.”

Shadow’s Comment: I don’t think he’s going to give a Cesar Millan a run for his money any time soon.

 

Keep In Mind
  • Women name their cars, while men name their private parts.
  • Dogs enjoy making fools of their owners.
  • Bones buried for 70 years will still be bright eggshell white when removed from the soil.
  • Monsters will remove victims’ personal items from the attack scene to throw off others.
  • Monsters that can easily knock a thick wooden door off its hinges will be stymied by a small cabinet door.
  • A towel is the most secure article of clothing to have in a crisis.
  • All cellars have a boarded up entrance to a silver mine.
  • Always check under the stairs before exiting a cellar.
  • Putting yourself within chomping range of a carnivorous beast, even when you think it’s dead, is never a good idea.
     

 

This Film & Me

So, in September of 1981, when this movie was released in North America, I was twelve years old and had just started junior high school a couple weeks earlier. The make believe horrors of the silver screen made way for the real life horrors of a new school, interesting new fellow students and dealing with six teachers throughout each day rather than just one. And then there was gym class…but I don’t want to digress. We’re here to talk about the movie, not my childhood trauma. I easily remember the television ads for this movie and I can also recall how some of the kids at school laughed and derided the film’s title. I suppose it was just too close to the word BOOGERS for twelve year old minds to ignore without some sort of verbal jab. Needless to say, I was too preoccupied with other things to have the time to go see this movie. A couple kids at school did and I remember hearing their description of the monsters. A year or so later the movie popped up on HBO, which is where I saw it for the first time. Well, for the only time, really. I may have seen it twice on HBO, but after that, I never saw it again until I found an old VHS copy in a used video store a few years back. It wasn't too long afterwards that the DVD was released. Watching it now and comparing it to my memories of viewing it as a thirteen year old kid, and I am surprised now at how little the monsters actually show up in the film. My memory had me convinced that they put in more than just fleeting appearances. What strikes me as interesting is that if you remove the brief nudity, this movie - which had an R rating back in the day – could easily play on commercial TV now with little problem.

Shadow's rating: Six Tombstones



The Good

  • Establishes good winter atmosphere
  • Believable characters
  • Some great scary moments

The Bad

  • Tiger the ninja dog
  • Monsters have very little screen time
  • Monsters who clean up after themselves

The Ugly

  • Tiger the dog is killed
  • Rubbery monster prop
  • Movie could have used a better title

 

 

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