The Boogey Man – USA, 1980 – reviews


 ‘It begins with a horrifying killing and then starts to get bloody!’

The Boogey Man – or The Boogeyman on promotional material – and The Bogey Man in the UK – is a 1980 American supernatural slasher feature film written, produced and directed by Ulli Lommel. It stars his wife Suzanna Love, Nicholas Love, Ron James and horror veteran John Carradine.

The excellent synth score is by Tim Krog.

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In 1982, it was followed by Revenge of the Boogeyman aka Boogeyman II which re-used lots of footage from the first film. Lommel later revisited the sequel and released a ‘redux’ director’s version that included even more footage from the 1980 original, plus newly shot scenes of himself talking directly to the camera.

In 1994, he also came up with the confused and confusing Return of the Boogeyman which also includes extensive footage from the original.

Lommel shot a remake/reboot, Boogeyman: Reincarnation for a 2016 release…

The Boogeyman 1980 video nasty (3)


A young girl witnesses her brother murder their mother’s lover through a reflection in a mirror.

Twenty years later the mirror is shattered, freeing his evil spirit, which seeks revenge for his death...


Lommel began his career as an actor in German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films but in recent years he has become notorious for a long line of direct-to-video movies based on the lives of serial killers, most of which have been critically panned.

The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by The Jerry Gross Organization (Fulci’s Zombie; I Spit on Your Grave; Blood Beach) beginning in November 1980. It was subsequently released on VHS by Wizard Video.

The Bogey Man was placed on the British video nasties list in 1984, probably due to its sleazy opening and inventively gory kill scenes, but was later re-released on the Vipco label in 1992 in a cut form. In 2000, it was finally released uncut. On 16th March 2015, British label 88 Films released the film uncut on Blu-ray.


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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Subtlety holds no truck in The Boogey Man; Tim Krog’s synthy score veers between Exorcist-lite cues and Halloween stabs depending which one is being paid “homage” […] That our killer is never seen after his death is an intriguing take; all we hear is heavy breathing and a heartbeat to insinuate the spirit is close by, his fanciful flights invisible to the eye until it’s too late.” Daily Dead

“Certainly worthy of another look, The Boogey Man is one of those films that may fade into darkness for years at a time, but is never really forgotten. Recommended.” Retro Slashers


“A few unexpected jump scares are moderately amusing, and the triple homicide that really gets the ball rolling is gory, nasty, and inspired. Don’t go into this one expecting any serious scares as there aren’t any to be found, but it’s a fun time killer and an entertaining, if rather dumbed down, product of its time.” Ian Jane, DVD Talk

“Though its story may be derivative and the special effects somewhat cheap, The Boogey Man rises way above the usual level of Halloween (1978) clones. Thanks to ex-Fassbinder collaborator Lommel’s direction from its darkly lurid opening in which a little bot despatches his mother’s lover (as powerful an evocation of the primal scene and its consequences as one could wish, later used in Nightmare (1981), Lommel conjures a claustrophobic, fetid atmosphere well suited to this tale of unresolved sexual and familial conflicts.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror  

“Storyline veers from a haunted mirror, pieces of which cause grisly murders àla The Omen. Then it segues into a poor man’s Exorcist as all hell breaks loose with a Catholic priest, flying knives, glowing windows, etc. Finally, disjointed elements refuse to jell and the film babbles to an incoherent closing.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“Whilst the plot suffers from several inconsistencies, on the whole the film succeeds in creating an atmosphere of tensiom and dread. The murders themselves are far more creative than the usual slasher fare, something that ensured that The Boogey Man would not be released uncut in the UK for over twenty years. The death scenes are well directed and eye catching. Lommel’s career never quite achieved these heights again and the two sequels were eminently forgettable, but the original remains one of Halloween‘s most worthwhile descents.” Jim Harper, Legacy of Blood

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The 2005 horror film Boogeyman has no connection.

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2 Comments on “The Boogey Man – USA, 1980 – reviews”

  1. Shame that Lommel never kept up the quality of work that this film and The Devonsville Terror had. Neither are perfect, but both are worth keeping. What happened to him after that?

    1. It’s a good question. BrainWaves is amusing and The Devonsville Terror is ok but by the 2000s Lommel went into a spiral of churning out really cheap direct-to-video mush that should be avoided at all costs. I recently saw his first Zodiac Killer movie (he also made a second on the same theme) and its genuinely gobsmackingly awful, with footage edited in from lots of his previous films all the way back to Tenderness of the Wolves. It’s a real Ed D. Wood effort or one of British Richard Driscoll’s mad ventures.

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