When Willy and Lacey were kids, they watched their mom and her boyfriend — who wore her stockings on his face — make out. Their mother was so upset, she sent Lacey to her room and tied Willy to his bed. It didn’t work, though. Willy would get out and stab the guy to death with a giant knife in front of a mirror. And that’s only the first few minutes of this one!
Now we’re in the present and Lacey (Suzanna Love, who was married to the director of the film Ulli Lommel and appears in all the sequels) is married with a young son, living with her aunt, uncle and Willy (Nicholas Love, Suzanna’s real-life brother)on a farm. Willy’s never gotten over killing a man, so he doesn’t talk and often steals knives.
Over dinner, Lacey announces that their mother wants to see them one last time before she dies. Willy burns their letter and this starts off a series of dreams where she is tied to a bed and nearly stabbed, which makes her husband send her to a shrink.
And that shrink? Skinny Dracula himself, John Carradine, who shot everything in one day. He tells them that she has face her fears and go back to her childhood home. As they look at the house, we see the dead boyfriend reflected in the mirror he died in front of. Lacey goe shithouse and smashes it, which is totally not what you should do. Nor should you take those pieces and try and fix the mirror. Mirrors are cheap. Go to Wal-Mart. Buy a new and uncursed mirror.
The pieces left behind start to glow red and kill everyone in the house after Lacey and Jake leave. Speaking of mirrors, Willy hates them. One of them made him strangle a girl, so he paints them all black.
The shards of glass start doing evil things, like levitate pitchforks, rip off Lacey’s shirt and impale young lovers with a screwdriver. I was cool with the shards of glass until then. You’ve taken it too far, shards of glass! I guess we can blame them for the aunt and uncle dying too, right?
This being 1980, Jake decides to bring a priest in to fix everything. This causes Lacey to get possessed by a mirror shard and attack everyone. She kills the priest, too, but not before he removes the mirror’s control over her.
That’s when the best solution comes up — let’s just throw the mirror in a well. This releases all of the souls, with Lacey, Willy and her son happily exiting a graveyard. Oh no — a piece of the mirror is on her son’s shoe!
I was wondering where so many of the plot points of this movie would go and they’re often lost as if this were a foreign film. But it isn’t! So I did a little digging into the director, Ulli Lommel.
Lommel had one crazy career, starting with appearing in Russ Meyer’s Fanny Hill, then acting in Fassbinder’s surreal western film Whitey (as well as several other of the director’s films). Moving to the U.S. in 1977, Lommel became connected to Andy Warhol, who became involved in his films Cocaine Cowboys and Blank Generation, a movie that starred Richard Hell and was filmed at CBGB.
Seriously — a movie that rips off Halloween, The Amityville Horror and Argento lighting while feeling like more than two movies mashed up into one that also features a girl cut her own throat with scissors, a child get his neck broken and a priest get his face melted? The acting is horrible — but are you here for that? Nope. You want to get freaked out when people’s eyes get replaced with a piece of a mirror.
Part of me wants to make fun of this movie. But another part of me wants to protect it from mean people who say things like its lack of attention to details. Or horrible editing which cuts on action. Or the fact that none of its characters appear to be actual human beings. And the camera angles are more dad doesn’t know how to use the video camera than art. But yet, I love this. I want to love it more, but I love what it can be more than what it is.
The Boogeyman was followed by two sequels that use footage — a lot of footage — from the original. Supposedly, a Boogeyman Chronicles web series is due this year.
Want to learn more? Author Stephen Pytak wrote a way better piece than I did in the new Drive-In Asylum. Grab it now!