TheBoogensA mildly diverting low budget horror flick from the eighties. You could do worse than THE BOOGENS, but then, you could also do a lot better!

This 1981 cheapie is notable primarily for the fact that Stephen King rather curiously gave it a rave inTwilight Zone Magazine, and because it took 16 years to be released on video (which lent it an undeserved cult following). It’s about giant carnivorous worms loose under a small mining town. No, it has nowhere near the wit or energy of 1990’s wonderful TREMORS (another mutant worm thriller, though leagues better than this one)…rather, it’s an old-fashioned monster movie, and I don’t mean that in a good way!

Oh no! A man is discovered missing after he and his buddy attempt to explore a long-abandoned mine. A search is instituted, uncovering the possible fact that something evil is loose under the town, a suspicion confirmed by the many murders occurring around the area. Meanwhile, a young couple has just moved into the area with their annoying poodle. Ho hum. The “Boogens,” alas, don’t show up until the last 15 minutes…arrrrrrrrgh! Don’t you hate it when it takes that long?

The competent but undistinguished direction was by James L. Conway, a name I haven’t heard much of in the years since. The film’s snowbound Northwestern setting is a compelling one, but is pretty much wasted, as it’s in service of cardboard characters, a clichéd story and uninspired visuals. And why does it take so long for the monsters to show up? To be fair, once the silly-looking critters do appear things liven up somewhat-–after all, no movie about giant mutant worms can be all bad!

Vital Statistics

Taft Entertainment Pictures

Director: James L. Conway
Producer: Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
Screenwriters: David O’Malley, Bob Hunt
Cinematography: Paul Hipp
Editor: Michael Spence
Cast: Rebecca Balding, Fred McGarren, Anne-Marie Martin, Jeff Harlan