The Boogey Man - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Once dubbed a video nasty by the NVALA in the United Kingdom, Ulli Lommel’s grisly 1980 horror film The Boogey Man was an international box office hit upon release and has suffered some really terrible transfers on home media over the years. Those rascals at Vinegar Syndrome have set out to right that wrong with a gorgeous 4K Ultra HD release that’s sourced from the original 35mm camera negative. Add a really nice supplements package, including interviews with cast and crew, and you have all the more reason to pick up this Recommended release!
When she was young, Lacey witnessed, by mirror reflection, the brutal murder of her stepfather at the hands of her brother, Willy. Years later, Lacey has settled into a comfortable married life, with a child of her own, while Willy has been rendered mute as a result of his childhood trauma and has taken to removing or blacking out all mirrors in the family home. When the very mirror through which Lacey and Willy viewed the murder is accidentally shattered, a dark and vengeful curse is unleashed on the family, and soon anyone unlucky enough to come into contact with shards of the mirror falls victim to heinous murder...
One of the major independent horror blockbusters made in the wake of Halloween, Ulli Lommel's THE BOOGEYMAN (Tenderness of the Wolves) catapulted its director out of the arthouse circuit and solidified him as a master of horror. Starring and co-scripted by Suzanna Love (Olivia) and featuring Nicholas Love (TV's Twin Peaks) alongside B movie icon John Carradine (The Astro Zombies) in a supporting role, the film's grisly murders, designed by effects artist Craig Harris (Toxic Zombies), landed it on the notorious list of Video Nasties and gave it an even larger cult fanbase. Vinegar Syndrome at last presents this seminal stab at early 80s horror on 4K UHD, newly and exclusively restored from its original 35mm camera negative and including a host of interviews with cast and crew.
directed by: Ulli Lommel
starring: Suzanna Love, Ron James, John Carradine, Nicholas Love
1980 / 82 min / 1.85:1 / English Mono
- 2-disc Region Free Set: 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray
- 4K UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
- Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative
- Brand new commentary track with editor Terrell Tannen • Brand new commentary track with historian and author Kat Ellinger
- "Scenes from a Marriage" (39 min) - brand new interview with actress Suzanna Love
- "Boogey Man, and So On" (34 min) - brand new interview with cinematographer David Sperling
- "Pick-Up Girl" (8 min) - brand new interview with actress Catherine Tambini
- "Cuts from the Mirror" (20 min) - brand new interview with editor Terrell Tannen
- "Boogey Man as Art" (15 min) - brand new interview with camera operator Jürg V. Walther
- Archival interview with writer/director Ulli Lommel (18 min)
- Original theatrical trailer
- TV spots
- Reversible sleeve artwork
- English SDH subtitles
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
German actor, filmmaker, writer, all around not-nice guy Ulli Lommel certainly had an artistic change when he absconded to the US to work with Andy Warhol. That’s not say that the drugs and surrealism weren’t there before, as Lommel cut his teeth on working with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, after all. It’s just that there’s definitely a degree of sadistic edginess that got unleashed after the move to the US. Such is part and parcel in The Boogey Man, an international box office success at the time. John Carpenter’s Halloween had only come out a couple years prior and had redefined the kind of horror films that people flocked to the theaters to see. Lommel took the opportunity in stride to make something that’s both a stylish rip-off of The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist, as well as a genuinely solid and scary slasher in its own right.
Sure, the narrative threads are all thin and predicated on your knowledge of how the scares were built in much better movies, however Lommel’s no slouch with the setup and payoff of really upsetting, sadistic horror gags. There isn’t much sophistication in the story itself, but there’s definitely some in the execution. Whether you’re okay with the less-than-plausible story rolling up to those moments is up to you.
Lacey is forever scarred from witnessing her mother’s boyfriend’s murder in the reflection of a cursed mirror. Even worse, her brother Willy was the murderer. Years later, Willy (Nicholas Love) and Lacey (Suzanna Love) return to the scene of the crime and end up releasing a vengeful spirit from the very same cursed mirror when it gets smashed. Now, all the various glass shards control the fate of a bunch of unwitting teenagers in town. Oh, and the family priest, named Dr. Warren (John Carradine), is here to help exorcise the mirror.
As you can probably tell from the short plot description above, The Boogey Man throws together a few popular horror plots from the 70s, and thus there isn’t a lot of moment-to-moment connective tissue to hang on to. But where Lommel finds great power is the execution of these lo-fi, high-concept horror sequences, like shards of a mirror flying across rooms and possessing people, complete with in-camera special effects that are just good enough. And since it’s all wrapped up in a nicely gory bow, the scenes hit pretty hard.
I hate that one of the easiest ways to describe this movie is as a broken mirror with the disparate pieces all being finely sharp but incongruous as whole. Even as someone who isn’t a fan of a lot of these genre rip-offs, the 70s was a good decade to rip off and Lommel was a more-than-capable scaremaker. The result is gross and fun.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
God bless all of our doomed souls, for The Boogey Man is coming to get us…in 4K Ultra HD! This two-disc release (4K & Blu-ray) comes in a standard black case and if you order from Vinegar Syndrome it comes with that customary thick Vinegar Syndrome slipcover over it. The 4K disc is a UHD66 and the Blu-ray is a BD50. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio, browse special features and select reels.
As mentioned previously, this new HEVC-encoded 2160p presentation is sourced from a brand new 4K restoration of the 35mm original camera negative by Vinegar Syndrome. This was a very low budget affair, with cinematographer David Sperling recounting in his attached interview that Ulli Lommel liked to shoot at standard shutter speeds and not do many takes to save on cash, but that weirdly doesn’t take away from how great everything looks here. Black levels are suitably inky despite the clear fluctuations at the source level and I didn’t notice any compression issues with that somewhat-heavy grain field over everything. Yes, there’s a few moments where you might see some fishing line meant to hold up a prop, though there’s no way to really get around that and it doesn’t hamper the overall experience. Some nicks and bumps are there at the source, like some waviness in the frame, however that doesn’t mar the encode or mess up the HDR-enhanced colors.
Even with those notes of damage, I was very much impressed by this presentation in its capability to pull that much detail from the source, pulling off those heavily stylized green hues caused by artificial lighting really well. Flesh tones are tuned in well and the HDR grade definitely reveals deeper, more diverse colors on clothing, skin and the set design. This is a very pleasing presentation despite the clearly aged and damaged source.
Vinegar Syndrome provides this release with a DTS-HD MA encode of the original mono soundtrack and it sounds very good, balancing the very flat dialogue and sharp score rather well. Special music effects are mixed in well during those scarier sequences and the score is a fun Halloween rip-off that sounds just as dated as it should. The source is in good condition, with only a few nicks and bumps to be heard throughout.
The supplements package is absolutely packed with interviews with original cast and crew. Ulli Lommel had the unique power to pull good camera people for his projects, probably due to his desire to make films for the sake of art, and that’s reverberated clearly throughout all the interviews here. As for the interview with Suzanna Love: well, uh, it’s really, really good, but I hope you’re ready for some rather disturbing facts about Lommel and his many abusive moments against Love over the years. It’s clear that the actress has grown from these experiences and she still respects the work that she did, but to talk about Ulli’s darker, violent side is to give context to his work.
The interview with David Sperling is very revealing about how they designed those scarier sequences, so maybe don’t watch that interview until after you watch the film. It’s still a lot of fun to hear from these craftsmen and the cheap-but-convincing ways they orchestrated movie magic.
4K UHD Disc
- Audio commentary by editor Terrell Tannen
- Audio commentary by historian and author Kat Ellinger
- “Scenes from a Marriage” – Interview with actress Suzanna Love (HD 38:57)
- “Boofey Man, and So On” – Interview with cinematographer David Sperling (HD 33:59)
- “Pick-Up Girl” – Interview with actress Catherine Tambini (HD 8:21)
- “Cuts from the Mirror” – Interview with editor Terrell Tannen (HD 20:38)
- “Boogey Man as Art” – Interview with camera operator Jurg V. Walther (HD 15:01)
- Archival interview with writer/director Ulli Lommel (SD 18:00)
- Theatrical trailer (SD 2:07)
- TV spot #1 (HD 0:34)
- TV spot #2 (HD 0:34)
When you were growing up, The Boogey Man was just a fantasy. But he’s real, and he’s here now with Vinegar Syndrome’s new 4K Ultra HD release of the film. The 2160p presentation aided by HDR looks very pleasing despite some source damage, plus there’s a really great collection of special features to dig into. This release comes Recommended. Just don’t blame us if something goes bump in the night when you bring this release home.
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