In 1912 the Silver City mine in Silver City, Colorado was closed. The papers reported a cave-in that killed twenty-seven men. Seventy years later the Syndicated Mining Company decides to open the mine. They send Brian Deering (John Crawford) and Dan Ostroff (Med Flory) to do just that. Mark Kinner (Fred McCarren) and Roger Lowrie (Jeff Harlan) are signed on as hired help.
Roger and Mark have rented a house in the area along with Roger’s girlfriend Jessica Ford (Anne-Marie Martin). Jessica brings along a friend from school, Trish Michaels (Rebecca Balding). Martha Chapman (Marcia Dangerfield) goes to open up the house and make sure the utilities are on. On the way she slides off the road avoiding a deer. Her car ends up in a ditch and she is forced to spend the night in the house. That night something comes out of the cellar. Martha is never seen again.
At the mine the guys have been using some explosives to open up a section that had previously been closed due to a cave in. Inside they find an underground natural cavern and pond. Also inside the cavern are a pile of bones. The guys are a little creeped out but they assume the remains belong to the miners that were lost seventy years ago.
Later that night everybody ends up at the local bar for a couple beers. Roger has to leave early to get some sleep so he can make a trip to the head office in the wee hours of the morning to pick up some better detailed maps of the mine. He’s not expected back until the afternoon. At the house he puts the truck in the garage and settles down to sleep. When the bed breaks he decides to sleep in the truck. Back in the garage he is attacked by a Boogen. The next time Roger is seen he is being fished out of the underground pond, mangled.
Roger is not the only one that gets added to the body count.
“The Boogens” was released in 1981 and was directed by James L. Conway. It is an American horror movie and is considered a lost gem of the eighties. Noted for its beginning credits slideshow of old pictures and its hearty recommendation by Stephen King in “Twilight Zone” magazine.
Only one creature was made for the film. The monster's roar was a dog & cat fight, played backward, and slowed down. People thought that the term "The Boogens" was an actual term once used by miners to describe the fear that some would experience while spending too much time in deep mines. In reality it was a word fabricated by screenwriter David O'Malley, using the word "boogeyman" as its root. He had planned on calling the film “The Boogeyman” but the name had already been taken in the 1980 film “The Boogeyman”.
I spent a lot of time waiting to see a Boogen. They didn’t show up until the last seven minutes of the film. Everything before that was monster perspective and/or wiggly appendages. I understand why that was the case. As far as monsters go it was OK for a puppet but not as scary as not knowing what it looked like. Never being one to begrudge a monster I’ve always felt that ugly is in the eye of the beholder.
Although Boogens are not great looking they are still monsters. They have been described as large turtles with sharp teeth. To a certain extent that is true. They also have tentacles. Yes, they are not great for monsters but I’ve seen lamer ones. Take for example that stupid giant spider for “Missile to the Moon” 1958 and “Cat Women of the Moon” 1953. Or my favorite, the undulating carpet from “The Creeping Terror” 1964. Even any “Troll” or “Leprechaun” movie ever made. The list is endless. Even though the Boogens were not flashy or fancy CGI, they got the job done. It may not be the best horror movie out there but it doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. There are enough good things to make the film very enjoyable.
Two Bichon Frises played the part of Tiger the dog.