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Film / The Boogeyman (1980)

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The most terrifying nightmare of childhood is about to return!

The Boogeyman is a 1980 horror film directed by Ulli Lommel. It stars Suzanna Love, Nicholas Love, and John Carradine.

After a horrifying incident in her childhood, Lacey — now grown and married with a young son — lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm in relative tranquility. Her brother Willy also lives with them, though he has not spoken a word since the night he stabbed his mother's cruel and abusive lover to death. It seems the past is returning to haunt her, as Lacey begins having nightmares about being tied to a bed and threatened with knives.

At the recommendation of her psychiatrist, Lacey and her husband visit her mother and the house she grew up in. She smashes a mirror when she sees the reflection of her mother's lover approaching in it. This proves to be not the end of her nightmares but merely the beginning of a new one...

The Boogeyman was listed as a video nasty in 1982, but was later re-released in cut form in 1992. It was released uncut in 2000.

A sequel, Boogeyman 2, was made in 1983, starring Suzanna Love reprising her role as Lacey. The premise is Lacey is approached by a group of Hollywood phonies to make a film based on her experiences. The Hollywood crew are subsequently killed — one by one — by the mirror spirit.

Return of the Boogeyman was released in 1994, and supposedly occurs alongside the events of the original (so they can pad things out with old footage recycled as "visions") and involves a psychic being haunted by the mirror man.

Not to be confused with the 2005 film, simply titled Boogeyman (2005) and its sequels, Boogeyman 2 and Boogeyman 3. Also not to be confused with the Stephen King short story of the same name or its 2023 film adaptation.

The first film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Blank: What the killer is described as, though he's really just a guy with stocking over his head.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Lacey's mother's boyfriend should not have done that to Willy...
    • Lacey has a dream involving Willy doing this to a woman.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The mirror in the introduction where Lacey witnessed Willy murdering their mother's boyfriend. That somehow stored his spirit, which Lacey accidentally released, or angered by striking at it.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Andy of the beachgoers gets into a car, and gets a spike pushed through the back of his head.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Quite common. Among other things, people die from being hit by an opening drawer and from being trapped by a closing window.
  • Public Domain Feature Films: The first movie regularly turns up when searching for public domain films online, which suggests the copyright expired early after The Jerry Gross Organization went under.
  • Red Herring: Willy's dream sequence and attempted murder, as well as covering up all the mirrors. Turns out he has nothing to do with actually killing anybody in this film.
  • Sequel Hook: The mirror is destroyed but the one shard stuck to the kid's leg glows red implying the killer ghost is still very much active.

Boogeyman 2 has examples of:

  • George Lucas Altered Version: There's a very bizarre DVD edition of the film. The original version of the film wasn't very good by any stretch of the imagination, but it is unanimously preferred over what Lommel claimed was a "Director's Cut". This version consists of cheaply shot footage of Lommel being interrogated by off-camera police officers, and "flashbacks" that are 90% derived from Lommel's 1980 film The Boogeyman, which The Boogeyman 2 was a sequel to. The original version of The Boogeyman 2 did consist of a lot of flashback footage from the first film, but it did have some new content, whereas the 2003 version of The Boogeyman 2 is 90% footage from The Boogeyman, 10% newly filmed content.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: A tooth brush manages to pierce through a man's mouth, somehow.
  • Orwellian Retcon: A strange example. It was established in the first movie that the mirror that holds the evil spirit can combust into flames by applying water to it. The sequel, despite having stock footage that shows those exact events, including the climax where the entire mirror is dumped into a well, that one shard never com-busts, despite being in a swimming pool in that climax!
  • Too Dumb to Live: A woman got pushed and managed to latch her mouth onto the exhaust pipe. Getting away from that has not crossed her mind. No surprise what happens to her then.

Alternative Title(s): Boogeyman II, Return Of The Boogeyman