THE BONEYARD (1990) Reviews and overview

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‘Dare to enter, try to leave…’

The Boneyard – aka The Bone Yard – is a 1990 [released on VHS in 1991] American supernatural horror film written and directed by special effects designer James Cummins. The Backwood Films production stars Ed Nelson, Deborah Rose and Norman Fell.

The Boneyard is released on Blu-ray in the UK on 9 April 2018 by 88 Films.

Buy Blu-ray:

  • New HD Restoration from the Original Negative
  • Uncompressed LPCM Stereo Soundtrack
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with Director James Cummins and Producer Richard F. Brophy
  • Interview with Actress Phyllis Diller
  • Interview with Director James Cummins
  • Interview with Producer Richard F. Brophy
  • Reversible Sleeve with Alternate Artwork

A depressed psychic (Deborah Rose) is drawn into involvement in a grisly child-murder case that leads her and detective Callum (Ed Nelson) to an imposing mortuary. Chen (Robert Yun Ju Ahn), the prime suspect in the case, claims the three mummified corpses found by police are not children but ancient demons known as “kyoshi”.

It transpires that the little monsters have been around for centuries as a result of an age-old curse and can only be placated with offerings of human flesh — with which the mortician has been supplying them his entire life. When Chen is jailed on murder charges, the ghouls awaken in search of dinner, trapping the staff inside the mortuary walls and devouring them.

The survivors try to combat the demons, which have possessed the bodies of morgue attendant Mrs. Poopinplatz (Phyllis Diller) and her poodle, mutating them into hideous monsters…



“Despite the crushingly slow start and the casting of a female lead who looks like a 270-pound ’80s wrestler, The Boneyard‘s back half more than makes up for it. When things get progressively worse and more monsters emerge, including the largest killer poodle you’ve ever seen (seriously), you can sit back at the end satisfied you’ve seen something that was, if you’ll pardon the expression, a bit mental.” Chris Scullion, That Was a Bit Mental

The Boneyard is played too straight until Diller’s transformation, and even then, the infectious fun and over-the-top gore of similar efforts like Dead Alive rarely rear their gruesome little heads. That’s not to say that The Boneyard is some unredeemingly bad movie that ought to be avoided at all costs. It has its moments, and the two creatures near the end are alone worth the price of entry.” Adam Tyner, DVD Talk

“If Cummins used a lot less dialog, and Deborah Rose’s acting were a lot lighter, and the three child-ghouls were given more screen time to terrorize, The Boneyard could have, would have, been a scarier movie even with Phyllis Diller mugging it up as Poopinplatz. Take a look, fast forward a lot, and you’ll be fine: the morgue smorgasbord scene is worth a look at least.” Zombo’s Closet

“The film gains some life when James Cummins is in his element – namely when it comes to the makeup effects sequences. Even then, it is a long time into the film before he unleashes the zombie children – and even longer before he does anything with them. There is certainly a moderate level of gore in the last twenty minutes. These vary between the quite effective and the occasionally awkward.” Richard Scheib, Moria

” …this one plays with enough conviction and genuine (if nonsensical) originality that one suspects its writer-director, James Cummins, may actually have a glimmer of talent. In any case, it’s all but impossible to resist a flick in which the two best monsters are a giant mutant French Poodle and a giant mutant Phyllis Diller.” Steve Simels, Entertainment Weekly, June 14, 1991

Choice dialogue:

Gordon Mullin (referring to Miss Poopinplatz): “The only way to get rid of her is if they burned her at the stake.”

Marty: “Is everything broken around here? Even humour?”

Cast and characters:

  • Ed Nelson as Jersey Callum (The Devil’s Partner; A Bucket of Blood; Attack of the Crab Monsters; et al)
  • Deborah Rose as Alley Oates
  • Norman Fell as Shepard (The Munsters Today; C.H.U.D. II: Bud the ChudTransylvania 6-5000)
  • James Eustermann as Gordon Mullin
  • Denise Young as Dana
  • Willie Stratford Jr. as Marty
  • Phyllis Diller as Miss Poopinplatz (Doctor Hackenstein; Mad Monster Party?)
  • Robert Yun Ju Ahn as Chen
  • Rick Brophy as Mac
  • Sallie Middleton Kaltreider as Little Girl/Ghoul

Filming locations:

Asheville and Statesville, North Carolina, in 1989

Film Facts:

The producers initially sought Alice Cooper and actor Clu Gulager for key roles.

Wikipedia | IMDb

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