THE BOOGENS (1981) Reviews and overview

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‘Some things shouldn’t be disturbed…’

The Boogens is a 1981 American horror film produced by Charles E. Sellier (director of Silent Night, Deadly Night) and directed by James L Conway (Hanger 18; Kindred: The Embraced; The Messengers TV series) from a screenplay by Jim Kouf [as Bob Hunt] (Wacko; The Hidden; Grimm (TV series)) and David O’Malley (Alien Zone; Fatal Instinct; Dark Honeymoon).

The film was famously championed by author Stephen King and has developed a minor cult following.


The movie stars Rebecca Balding (The Silent Scream; TV series Charmed), Fred McCarren (National Lampoon’s Class Reunion), Anne-Marie Martin (Killer’s Delight; Prom Night; Halloween II), Jeff Harlan, John Crawford (TV series 13 Demon Street; The Severed Arm), Med Flory (The Hearse; TV series Werewolf), Jon Lormer (Creepshow), Peg Stewart (Something Weird; Beyond Death’s Door).



A small construction team of four men work to reopen an abandoned silver mine 100 years after a mysterious massacre forced the Army to shut it down.


What they don’t know is that their excavating has inadvertently freed some amphibious reptilian creatures lurking deep within the mine shafts…

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“The Boogens is a kick. It’s a fun monster movie through and through, the kind that horror fans enjoy and the kind which age surprisingly well. The effects are decent, the performances are fine and the movie has enough of a zany spirit running throughout that you can’t help but have a good time with it.” DVD Talk


“It’s really nothing more than a torpidly slow variation on the dead-teenager formula, but it’s still fun for fans of alternative cinema. Why? Because the title creatures are so silly. When they finally show up, having boogenized most of the cast, they look like large, toothy, tentacled frogs that have been squashed.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide

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There actually isn’t a whole lot of gore here (a few nasty claw scrapes and some splashes of fake blood here and there), but the fun “boogens cam” shots more than compensate along with setting up the audience for the final reveal of the beasties themselves.” Mondo Digital


” …what surfaces most strongly when considering the film – a fun little monster movie that deserves far more recognition and attention than it has received since its release more than two decades ago – is director James L. Conway’s bag of cinematic tricks […] Only the uninspired design (and execution) of the titular monster drags the movie down.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s |

“This dreary and unalluringly titled venture into the mining-jeopardy territory recently opened up by My Bloody Valentine makes that nondescript movie look like a masterpiece of imaginative horror. The emaciated plot is padded out with reams of inane repartee, much of it devoted to the egregious principals boasting about their sex lives.” Tim Pulleine, Monthly Film Bulletin, October 1981

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Filming locations:

Park City, Utah


TV spot:

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Suggested double-bill:

The Silent Scream (1979)

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