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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Review: The Boogeyman

Ulli Lommel’s 1980 cult horror film The Boogeyman is the kind of film you see mentioned here and there, but never really see any reason to check it out. It just kind of lives on the periphery of cult horror fandom. Not really famous in slasher film circles and not really well regarded as a supernatural horror film, it has yet to really make a name for itself. Sitting around the house I saw that it was available on streaming services and decided to give it a go. And let me tell you, after about five minutes into the film I was hooked. I am not sure if The Boogeyman is the best worst movie or the worst best movie, but I loved it. An insane brew of haunted house scares, possession, slasher killings, and very very very strange humor. The Boogeyman is ripe for rediscovery for anyone who loves that sort of 1970’s early 1980’s low-budget horror vibe. This film precedes in this kind of narcotic haze, everything is just a little off-kilter. The acting is subtlety strange, kind of like the cast is working through the film in a state of hypnosis. I would say Kubrick's The Shining drew influence from this film, and its underlying uncanniness if they hadn”t been released in the same year. And there is this strain of meta-comedy in The Boogeyman that parodies and comments on slasher film tropes that show yet again how non-revolutionary Craven’s film Scream really was. 

This film deserves to be mentioned in the same category as Messiah of Evil, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Lemora: A Childs Tale of the Supernatural, The Child, and Phantasm. The non-sequitur hilarious non-comedy and the icy chill of the somniloquist actors going through the scenes make this such an unpredictable viewing experience. How this film slipped under my radar for so long is beyond me. Combining the last of the 70’s weird esthetics with the bizarre meta-camp of the 80’s, this film is both a wonderful accumulation of those films and a singular experience in its own right. Any self-respecting fan of cult horror needs to add this one to their collection. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Review: New Religon

A strange electronic voice. A missing girl. Chaos erupting in the streets. Metamorphosis. A man who wants to be a moth, tells you what you want to hear. Random violence spreads. After the disappearance of her daughter a grieving mother starts working at an escort agency. A girl she works with goes on a killing spree and is killed in the process. Then she gets that girl’s client, the client she was with last before she went on her rampage. He is a strange man, cancer ravaging his vocal cords so he uses an electronic voice box. He is obsessed with the metamorphoses of moths. He is a photographer of body parts. He also seems to be a harbinger of doom. Those he interacts with and studies change, becoming passively violent, like murderous somnambulists. 

New Religion, a new Japanese film directed by Keishi Kondo, is draped in the abstraction of Under the Skin and the creeping dread of Kairo. It could be a sci-fi film, or just as easily a film about a supernatural entity. New Religion follows in the arthouse/elevated new wave of horror filmmaking. Quiet, abstract, mysterious. There are no answers, and a logic crafted in nightmare. A cold unnerving electronic score compliments the cold sterile cinematography. The themes of New Religion whisper themselves, intangible and elusive. The main antagonist is an unknown, his aims secret. What dark agenda is he following? What bizarre goal is he driving towards? Dive deep into the nebulous signals and hints of New Religion, and welcome a new important voice to modern horror filmmaking.