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They feed upon the horny! “The Boogens”

October 29, 2011

This installment of Scary Movie Month features a movie that, I have to admit, I wasn’t completely certain existed. I had vague memories of the ads for this film scaring the crap out of me as kid, but it’s near-total absence on DVD or within the collective social memory made me wonder whether it was simply a frenzied construct of my childhood imagination. I mean, it’s not like the dividing line between fantasy and reality was terribly substantial when I was that age (as opposed to now, when I’m well aware that the purple anthropomorphic octopus in the corner of the room is completely a figment of my imagination—I choose to listen to him because he gives good advice). Besides, who would name their movie The Boogens? Alas, dear reader, a quick internet search revealed that indeed the film does exist. So let’s take a look at what frightened me so badly back then, shall we?

The Boogens (Jesus, I can’t even type that with a straight face) opens with a credits sequence that lays out the history of the small, Colorado mining town where the film is set. About 50 years earlier (according to the newspaper headlines we see) a mysterious cave-in took the lives of dozens of miners in the local silver mine. Then we’re right back in the present (the present, in this case, being 1981). A mining company is reopening the mine, and they send a four-man team to do it. Two of them are burly, hardened miner-types, and two are doofy kids right out of college that they’re probably paying in beer and Playboys.

Do you think opening that mine’s a good idea? Well, when the four of them break through the caved-in portion, they discover a pile of bones that comprise the remains of the lost miners, so that should really answer that question, right? I mean, when your business plan entails “Removal of Human Remains”, maybe you should run this past the board of directors a few more times. Oh well, without mind-bogglingly stupid decisions we wouldn’t have horror movies.

So, the characters. Now, the two more seasoned guys are pretty much non-entities—ciphers in flannel and denim, if you will. The movie, instead, focuses on the young guys—because why not?—Roger and Mark. Basically, Mark is the thoughtful one, and Roger is the hormonally-energized horn-dog who regards the imminent visit from his girlfriend with the a level of excitement usually reserved for, oh, I dunno, the Rapture or something.

Seriously. There are dudes in prison who don’t look forward to their conjugal visits with as much pornographic enthusiasm as Roger. Mark is like, “So, if we reinforce those beams, we can stabilize this tunnel…” and Roger’s all, “And then I’m gonna do her doggie-style, and then we’ll do reverse cowgirl, and then we’ll try the frog princess, and…” He’s like Forest Gump’s retarded friend, except instead of shrimp dishes he talks about sexual positions. How Mark manages not to club him with a rock and leave him down there is beyond me.

In the meantime, we’re clued in that hinky stuff has begun when a local woman who’s renting her cabin to Roger and Mark (and, hopefully, planning on burning Roger’s bedding) hits a deer with her car and slides off the road. Well, it’s pretty late, so she heads back to her cabin for the evening…only to be attacked by something horrible! (we assume…we don’t see it). I’m gonna go out on a limb and say these are the titular Boogens.

The next day Roger’s girlfriend, Jessica, arrives with her friend Trish. You can kinda see where this is going. Roger and Jessica hump like crankheads after a Juggalos concert, while Mark and Trish slowly get to know one another. Have I mentioned that we’re about a half hour into this movie? It gets dragged out even more when the cast slowly gets whittled down one-by-one (to include the dog) by the Boogens. Finally, Mark realizes what we’ve all pretty much known: the Boogens come from the mine shafts and ate those miners decades ago. And now they’re free (though, what they’ve been subsisting on for the better part of a century is unexplained…maybe that’s why they’re so hungry).

Now, the monsters are…um…I’m having trouble putting into words just how badly rendered these creatures are. You know the aliens from the old Doctor Who series in the ‘70s? The ones made out of spray-painted bubble-wrap and toilet-paper rolls? Yeah, these are worse than those. First off, they’re damn near immobile. A rubber snake has more articulation than these things. Second off, they make no sense. They live under Colorado, but they look like lizards. They come from deep in the earth, but have enormous eyes.  And they inexplicably have tentacles.

Behold the horror that is a Boogens!

I strongly suspect the meeting between the effects guy and the director went like this:

“We need a scary as hell monster!”

“Okay.”

“I want it to have massive fangs!”

“Okay, but, um, biologically….”

“And giant red, glowy eyes!”

“Yeah, but why would it have glowing red eyes if it’s subterranean? You know a lot of moles are blind…”

“It should be a slimy, scaly lizard-beast! Like a giant horned toad or a gila monster!”

“Now, you do realize you’re in totally the wrong part of world for…”

“And I want it to have massive claws—no! Razor-sharp tentacles!

“You’re just dicking with me now aren’t you?”

That’s about all I have for The Boogens. Yes, it exists. The world is not significantly enriched by this fact.

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