The Boogens (1981) Poster


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A guilty pleasure! (7 - 10)
andybob-319 February 2007
A group of four mine surveyors are hired to explore a long abandoned silver mine to see if whether or not it is worth reopening. Two of the men, along with a girlfriend and her best friend, rent a secluded cabin not too far from the mine, but soon find out the hard way that they've released strange, tentacled creatures which once again stalk people in the tunnels, as well as their cabin's basement.

Like other cult films such as "The Boogeyman" I had a real hard time writing this review, because for some reason I had a lot of trouble putting my finger on exactly why I liked this movie, despite the fact it gives plenty of reasons not to. There are plot holes galore, with one blatant example being why would the miners have dug tunnels from the mine to the town's houses? The script is the standard B-movie issue, "let's all line up for a slaughter in the climax" type of formula, although there is a good laugh here and there, and sort of a good rapport between Balding and McCarren. The cast does a fairly good job with the material they're given, with Balding stealing the show with her perky, big-eyed charismatic charm, and "Creepshow" icon Jon ("I want my cake!") Lormer standing out whenever given the screen.

Director Conway does give this movie a creepy edge, showing ominous point-of-view shots from the creatures quietly stalking their victims, and he wisely leaves what they look like up to the imagination of the audience up until the climax. Unfortunately in the end the monster special effects aren't up to the task, and when you do finally get a good look at them you just have to laugh. They're very imaginative but look too phony and turtle-like to be taken seriously, one wonders how this film might have gotten more overall notice if they worked a little harder on them? Given the same cast, director, better monster FX and a more thoughtful script this could have been a monster movie classic.

7 out of 10, you need to be a forgiving sort to enjoy this film despite of its many flaws, but for some it will still manage to strike the right chords.
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Insider info about the Monster Sound FX
thedeadguy-112 February 2008
My Father,Jeffery Sandler, was Supervising Sound Editor on this film when I was just a boy of 11 years. He took me to work quite often, and during post production on The Boogens, he got stumped as to how the monster should sound. Well he comes to me and asks if I have any ideas? And I played around with sounds that scared me and I came with the following:

Breathing: Vampire Breathing

Heartbeat: Heartbeat sound sped up and slowed down repeatedly

Monster Roar: Dog&Cat Fight,slowed down,played backward

That roar was the most horrific thing you ever heard. We set up the sound rig in a hallway intersection in the building(Glenn Glenn Sound)and put speakers at the end of each hall. We turned out the lights so we had dark down all of the hallways(like being in a mine)and played the sound from random directions....even though we know we were alone in the building,Me,My Dad,and a co-worker of his,none of us wanted to walk down into the dark to turn on the light alone. We were all scared out of our minds. Well, my Dad used the sound fx I came up with and gave me $50 for my work. And that was my start in the movie business at age 11.
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A fun romp with an eighties classic horror!
pablo-2821 January 1999
This was the first horror film my parents ever took me to in a movie theater. I was only 11 yrs old when I first watched this film, and I remained mentally scarred for many years to follow. (I couldn't enter the garage by myself without first looking under our car to check for teeth and tentacles). This is certainly a silly movie by today's horror standards, but scary enough to give any child nightmares for awhile. Come on folks and watch it with your kids!
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Great piece of 80's cheese! creepy and funny at the same time!
willywants24 September 2004
The "Boogens" are scaly monsters that look somewhat like giant turtles with lots of sharp, nasty teeth. They are released from an abandoned, boarded-up silver mine in Colorado and proceed to do away with character after character. Only one homeless, seemingly pointless knows how to stop them.... I first saw "The Boogens" when I was 10 or 11. Loved it then, loved it now. Sure the plot is nothing new but it's fast paced,well-acted, suspenseful, and humorous. it kind of reminds me of "Tremors" in that it doesn't take itself too seriously but boasts some genuinely suspenseful scenes and slings a little bit of gore in our face. Sure once the boogens themselves show up they're nothing flashy but the director maintains tension (And wisely shows only the boogen's tentacles throughout most of the film)and the ending seems a bit rushed but I still had a blast watching it and re-living a piece of my childhood while doing so.If you liked this film, I recommend you see "The strangeness" a low-budget flick which is also about a tentacled-monster haunting a long-abandoned mine. It was clearly inspired by this film. A classic piece of 80's cheese recommended for horror fans!
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Surprisingly Good, Deserving Of A Higher Rating
Muldwych1 March 2010
An old mining town in the American West harbors a deadly, 70-year secret, one that is about to be awakened when its silver mine is re-opened.

'The Boogens' is a largely-forgotten classic B-grade horror film with a title that suggests monsters emerging from people's noses and inflicting green, slimy terror. Thankfully, that idea is light years wide of the mark, the film instead occupying the 'monsters beneath the ground' category, predating the silliness of the more well-known 'Tremors' franchise by 9 years. In fact, though its modus operandi is principally just to provide shivers for 95 minutes, it's actually quite well-executed and has more to offer than at first might seem apparent. The script treats its audience with some intelligence by avoiding gratuitous blood-splattering early on, instead allowing the story and the menace to develop at a meaningful pace. This in turn allows us time to get to know the principal characters, who are fairly well-drawn and likable, thanks to the naturalistic performances of Fred McCarren, Rebecca Balding, Anne-Marie Martin and Jeff Harlan - as opposed to the performance of Jon Lormer, who gives his best 'mad loon' acting as the crazed local who knows what's happening but isn't very forthcoming with the details. Of course, the cynic might argue that keeping the monsters of the piece out of the limelight for as long as possible is more to do with the limitations of the practical effects budget, and it's true that once they do appear, they don't stand up to 21st Century scrutiny. However director James L. Conway, who would go on to work on a number of high-profile shows (Star Trek fans should be familiar with his efforts), knows how to make the best of limited resources and accentuating the production's strengths, for example, drawing rising tension from good lighting and suggestions of menace just beyond vision with well-placed camera angles and good cutting - which is probably just another way of saying that you see the characters more than the monsters, but this leads to a good build up of suspense, and that when something nasty happens to one of the leads, it makes an impact. These are the hallmarks of a decent film and they elevate 'The Boogens' as far as I'm concerned to greater heights - doubtless also the reason why Stephen King gave it the thumbs up upon its release.

The film is also helped by some very good choices for location backdrops, from the sleepy mountain town featured (Park City, Utah, according to the end credits) to the presumably authentic mine entrance. The sense of isolation is helped by the rolling hills and coating of snow to make it clear that civilisation, and therefore help when the Boogens hit the fan, is far distant. The musical score provided by Bob Summers is fairly unmemorable, but it fits the bill, boosting tension where appropriate. Finally, special note has to be made of the dog who played Tiger the poodle, the mischievous pet of one of the leads. Between the obvious talents this dog had to respond on cue to verbal and visual stimulus and the committed efforts off-screen to get him to do so, Tiger is very much a character in his own right, practically stealing the show - and not in a cheesy Disney way, either.

'The Boogens' was for me a pleasant surprise, very much surpassing my expectations, given that it could so easily have been an unintelligent exploitation gorefest. Genre fans should definitely check it out, possibly fogging up their lenses a little when the Boogens hit centre-stage.
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can any movie starring rebecca balding be all bad?
wal217 April 2000
A cute romp through the early eighties horror genre. This movie was one of the favorite films of Michael on the Bob Newhart show. Anyway, loads of fun for the fan of the effervescent rebecca balding, (see also Silent Scream), with a fairly scary looking monster, too.
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One of the 80's finest horrors
BloodTheTelepathicDog19 April 2005
Granted when we finally get to see the creatures, they are laughable, but the makers had the foresight to not unveil the monsters until the credits where about to role. That may not appeal to others, but trust me, you'll be happy that they waited.

The story is solid as there aren't any gaping plot holes like so many horror films. The characters are genuine and easily related with.

The plot has four men opening up a deserted mine, which allows the title creatures freedom to kill. There are several nail-biting scenes that are handled well, and the actors are all capable. Fred McCarren and Jeff Harlan are splendid as the young miners, and Sledgehammer's Anne-Marie Martin chews up a good ten minutes of terror as she tries to fight off a boogen.

I fell for Rebecca Balding after watching this, as she has that sexy but sensitive girl-next-door quality lost on so many actresses.

You can't go wrong with this film, I urge you to pick it up.
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You Had To Let 'Em Out, Didn't Ya!
Rob Crespino15 April 2004
This is a must-see late-night popcorn muncher that I first saw on HBO when I was about twelve. For years and years, I searched for the video. How excited I was a couple of years back when I found a copy! How can you not love that title? This movie is slow, many questions are left dangling, and the ending could have been stronger. However, it definitely has its moments! Best watched in groups, preferably while drinking. "Boogens" are killer monsters who are released from a closed land mine after mine workers blast it open after a 100 years. (One of the promo tag lines was "After 100 years, someone has reawakened The Boogens!) Some college-age kids rent a house in the woods, and the Boogens seem to have taken over the basement. Everyone hears noises coming from the basement but think nothing of it. One of my favorite characters was the old, old man whose great-grandfather was killed by Boogens. He approaches the miners and nervously rambles, "Boogens...Boogens...Ya had to let 'em out, didn't ya! Couldn't leave well enough alone, could ya!" The Boogens remain unseen until the last few minutes of the movie, and you will hit the floor laughing once you see a Boogen. (There are supposedly hordes of Boogens running loose, but perhaps because of budget problems, we see only one.) The Boogen looks like a giant turtle shell with elephant trunks for legs and the face looks like a Muppet on a crystal meth binge. One of the funniest scenes is when a Boogen is chasing a girl through the house and she tries to defend herself by throwing a tea pot and newspapers at it. Yep, that'll stop 'em! This is sooooo early 80's that it will most be enjoyed by thirty-somethings who fondly recall the kind of drive-in horror flicks they used to make. Fun for a bad movie/horror night. Fact: This is actually one of STEPHEN KING'S FAVORITES! He gives glowing reviews on the video box.
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Better than most people think
Valyrae7 August 2002
This is one of those films that many beat up on because of its' rather silly title. Despite some bad moments, (and a few bad actors) this movie actually delivers the goods. The Boogens themselves look like oversized turtles with tentacles for arms and a claw coming out of their backside. Silly? yes...but yet there's a few scares here. A scene with a Boogen underneath someone's car is particularly memorable.

This is a good midnight movie: campy and definitely of 'B' origin but surprisingly enjoyable with a healthy amount of shock and gore to please any bad horror movie buff.
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Effective early 80s creature flick
slayrrr6666 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"The Boogens" is an entertaining early 80s monster flick.


After 70 years, the Silver City mine is reopening. Two miners, Mark Kiner, (Fred McCarren) and Roger Laurie, (Jeff Harlan) descend inside to see if the mine can be used. Once it's deemed unusable, they blow the mine. Traveling down another shaft, the crew discovers a giant cavern inside the mine, including a graveyard of human bones. Roger's friends Trish Michaels (Rebecca Baulding) and Jessica Ford (Anne-Marie Martin) travel up to a nearby cabin for a fun weekend. The four go about having a fun weekend while back at the mine, people are disappearing. Soon enough, even Roger disappears while the others are at a local bar. Knowing that something is wrong in the mine, they travel back to find the disappearances. Once there, they have to ward off the tentacles of a rampaging monster let loose by the opening of the mine.

The Good News: One of the cool things that I liked was the opening, which featured the whole back-story of the mine as a series of newspaper article headlines instead of having a pre-credits or opening set-piece that would usually be the norm in this kind of film. It isn't much, but I liked something that spoke of ingenuity. The great thing about the monsters in this film is that they are so rarely seen during the first hour that actually trying to see what they look like is impossible. Since we see their POV for these shots, it bumps up the suspense in the parts where we are approaching a victim and we see them screaming at whatever the creature is. All we know is that they look like snakes and are light brown. When we finally do get to see them, the creature looks like some sort of turtle with appendages that snake out and giant teeth and large eyes that are sticking off to the side of their head. It is one of the more unusual monster designs, especially since this was an early 80s movie. That roar, which is a stock roar, still is pretty creepy, and the ear-splitting effect it has is not lost in the modern times. The best part is easily the stalking of Jessica. Getting out of the shower, there is a loud noise in the basement that gets her attention. Going down, she sees that her dog has been attacked, and tries to hide from the monster and tries to ward it off, but eventually she succumbs to the attack and is captured. This is general of the rest of the movie: once we know what is causing all the problems in the mine, it kicks it up a notch and becomes a really entertaining film. The attacks are pretty brutal, as the tentacles are quite content to slashing up their prey before taking them away. They did the old standard of appearing out of nowhere to catch their prey, much like the monsters of modern times do.

The Bad News: This takes forever to get started, and it ruins a nice action-packed pace at the end because the beginning is a little slow. Granted, it is exposition about the town and the people, but several scenes could've gone. The most obvious is the small part where Jessica and Trish are out searching for her dog, who ran out to go to the bathroom. After one of the shortest searches for a dog in movie history, they return back to the car, where the dog is standing on, waiting for them to return. I would've cut that scene and cut out the dog until once they actually get to the house, as the scene only made me hate the dog more, and I hate that breed to begin with. Besides that, all the momentum is lost when we have to wade through the rest of the cast trying to conquer their hormones for enough time to get to know them. We know early on that something is inside the mine and is killing people, and the rest of the cast is all working in that industry. Wouldn't the deaths of their coworkers get them to get out from under someone and investigate? A much better second half should've consisted of the creature chasing the group through a vast cavern of underground mines trying to escape. Instead, the creatures only rarely show themselves, which does add to their mystique, but no one does anything really worthwhile to stop until the last ten minutes. Add to that an extremely slow beginning and this movie falls into the potential file.

The Final Verdict: One of the forgotten early 80s monster movies, and it probably shouldn't be. It does have some good moments, but the dull first half is a real killer to sit through. There are far worse movies than this, so take caution if you're fan of these kinds of movies.

Rated R: Violence, Language, Brief Nudity, including rear and two shadowy sex scenes
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