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  Boogeyman, The Through The Looking Glass
Year: 1980
Director: Ulli Lommel
Stars: Suzanna Love, Ron James, John Carradine, Nicholas Love, Raymond Boyden, Felicite Morgan, Bill Rayburn, Llewelyn Thomas, Jay Wright, Natasha Schiano, Gillian Gordon, Howard Grant, Jane Pratt, Lucinda Ziesing, David Swim, Katie Casey, Ernest Meier
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: About twenty years ago, siblings Lacey (Suzanna Love) and Willy (Nicholas Love) were the product of a broken home, and used to resent their mother bringing home her latest boyfriend. But one fateful night, it all went too far when they ended up spying on their mother with a man whose head she placed a stocking over playfully - then she noticed her children staring through the window and to punish Willy he tied him to the bed. Lacey was allowed to go, but she took a knife and freed her brother and he took the knife and...

The Boogeyman was German director Ulli Lommel's most celebrated horror movie, such as it was, a tiny budgeted shocker which blatantly patterned itself after The Amityville Horror, even down to the shot of the house with windows for "eyes". Lommel had an interesting career, from an association with Rainer Werner Fassbinder back in Europe to emigration to America where he married heiress Love, who turned into his muse for his better attempts at giving audiences the creeps, until he ended up in direct to DVD hell with tawdry, "who is this for?" real life serial killer re-enactment flicks.

Best to recall this, where it seemed as if he were a promising talent rather than the disappointment he became (although to his credit, he did work consistently). It was easy to grow confused with the plot here, but essentially it followed the now grown up Lacey and Willy, who never saw their mother again after the latter killed her lover, and now live in the same house with Lacey's husband Jake (Ron James) and their young son. They have put the past behind them, or they thought they did until a letter from their estranged parent arrives requesting to see them both once more.

Lacey is reluctant, and the mere appearance of this missive reopens old psychological wounds, but what they don't count on is the opening of actual physical wounds too. Willy is now a mute, and apparently owns only one set of clothes for he wears blue dungarees and yellow T-shirt combination throughout, but is he over his murderous ways? Lommel plays with our expectations, making it seem as if this will be a straight ahead slasher movie with the brother the killer, but it doesn't turn out that way and gets sidetracked into the plot of a haunted mirror which was hanging in Lacey's old home: when she visits it to exorcise her demons she has a nasty surprise.

Upon her smashing of the mirror, Jake decides to shake some sense into Lacey by reconstructing the object and taking it back to their house in the country, but it is indeed inhabited by the malevolent spirit of the dead lover and trouble follows in its wake. Trouble meaning low powered but fairly imaginative gore scenes where first the people who lived in the old house are offed in somewhat absurd fashion, then there's an interlude where a bunch of teens are menaced by one of the most tenuous conections to the killer ever (they had the bad luck to be across the bay from the son whose shoe has a sliver of mirror stuck to it, reflecting light in their direction). Lastly there's the Exorcist-style showdown where the local priest combats the evil, nothing special but Lommel achieves a true strangeness perhaps borne from his lack of funds. The Boogeyman wasn't great, exactly, but it was not worth dismissing as his later work was. Synth music (of course) by Tim Krog.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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