Recap #189: Halloween Extravaganza 2018: Mr. Boogedy (1986) by bat
Title: Mr. Boogedy (1986)
Summary: The Davis family, who have recently moved to Lucifer Falls, realize that not all is as it seems in their new home. In fact, they are haunted by none other than Mr Boogedy!
Notes: For those who remember this but can’t find a copy, it’s on YouTube or can be rented on Google Play.
Happy Halloween, everybody! For this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, I dug into one of the deep cuts, from clear back when I was a bitty bat.
If you were on the younger side during the mid-80s, you probably remember when the Walt Disney company used to put out made-for-TV-movies every Sunday night. A lot of them were cheaply produced “sequels” to bigger box office hits. (Splash, Too instantly comes to mind.)
But then there was Mr. Boogedy, which was actually a failed pilot for a television series, believe it or not. (I honestly don’t think that it was very strong inspiration for a television series, but that’s just my opinion.) That aside, Mr Boogedy was down right scary and fucked up when you were 4-6 years old and somehow your parents thought it was fine because it was a Disney special. I remember exactly where I was when I first saw it. My mother had gone to visit a woman who was involved in the bowling league, who had a daughter my age. Said daughter insisted we put on Mr Boogedy, while our mothers talked bowling.
It scared the shit out of me. Mostly because we left before I got halfway through it, therefore I was left with my impressive childlike imagination to fill in the blanks. I swear, it was far more thorough in scaring me to death then reality. But anyway.
The word “boogedy” actually comes from a Stephen King film, “Cat’s Eye”, according to director Scott Oz. Actually, I never knew where they got that but now I know and while cool, I feel a little let down for reasons I’m not sure of. I think because this film, and its not as impressive sequel, Bride of Boogedy, occupy a part of my memories that are probably trigger points for what scared me as a child, I wanted it to have a much creepier definition.
Boogedy isn’t even a real word, according to the dictionary, so I’m not sure what I wanted.
Also, it’s fun to see the back lot of Disney Studios, which has subsequently been torn down. The film was shot there in roughly two weeks. Disney under estimated how popular it would turn out to be, but has consistently ignored calls for it to be released on home video and DVD for decades. [Wing: This amazes me, because it’s not Disney can’t easily release it and Disney does like any sort of potential money.]
I’m not going to get into the story here. I think it’s much more fun, especially if you’re new to the Boogedy series, to go in cold. So settle in with some pumpkin juice and popcorn. TIME TO GET BOOGEDY!
(If you watch the uploaded version on YT, you’re treated to an intro featuring Michael Eisner, then Disney CEO, who talks about how the film is a family comedy featuring ghosts and evil spirits. Then his pen begins to “float” above his desk, ha ha ha. Lights flash, the Rolodex flips, the chair hovers, the window opens and closes, the room turns green and Eisner disappears. He speaks to us in a voice over, hoping the special effects guys can figure out how to get him back before next week. Wild.)
The movie begins abruptly, with standard font titles announcing it as MR BOOGEDY in yellow letters with black drop shadow. The credits roll.
Carlton and Eloise Davis, with their children Jennifer, Corwin, and R.E., are driving to their new home in Lucifer Falls, an old colonial-type town located in generic New England. (Ironic, since the back lot is decidedly Californian.) They’re driving in a huge delivery truck vehicle, because father Carlton runs a gag gift business — x-ray specs, rubber vomit, leaky glasses, sneezing powder, all that stuff. They even have a VW Bug hitched to a trailer behind the delivery truck. (Herbie, is that you?).
Stopping on the way for lunch, daughter Jennifer (Kristy Swanson, before she became the original Buffy Summers in 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer) (and for those playing along and keeping score in my never-ending game of Kiefer Sutherland Trivial Pursuit Edition, you will know that Donald Sutherland played Merrick, Buffy’s Watcher, in the film. I can’t escape.) is complaining about the move, how it’s farm country, and there’s no cute boys. Her father, Carlton, is wearing fake glasses with bushy eyebrows and a big fake plastic nose attached, while his daughter moans and groans.
Carlton attempts to comfort her by saying it’s the middle of New England (how generic) [Wing: Not at all what I picture for farm country, either.] and that they will be the ONLY Gag City franchise for hundreds of miles. Like any 1980s teenage daughter would care about those things.
Mom Eloise is super excited, because this opportunity means the family will have their very first real house. Sons Corwin and R.E. run up to the others, wearing the same fake glasses disguise as Carlton, and R.E. announces that Corwin has eaten a big, fat worm! Corwin fake retches and throws plastic vomit into Jennifer’s lap. Jennifer fake laughs and we learn right away that these gag items are going to be an integral part of this film.
Without preamble, the family is back in the delivery van, continuing on the drive to their new home. Carlton is utterly ecstatic about it, saying it’s perfect!
We SMASH CUT to an old New England colonial home that looks like it just came off the set of The Addams Family or The Munsters. In fact, it is illuminated by lightning. The camera pans left, to reveal a reality sign that reads: “Devil May Care Reality”, “DB Karloff, realtor”, and “NOT REALLY HAUNTED”. Subtle. [Wing: I’m laughing so hard.]
So subtle, in fact, that the bottom part falls off and begins GLOWING.
The Davis’ delivery van, which has a huge jack-in-the-box on the top, pulls into the driveway. Carlton is the first out of the van, going gaga for the “definite fixer-upper” they’ve purchased. Jennifer wants to go to their real new home and Carlton assures here this is it. Corwin asks if it’s haunted; “the realtor would have told me!” Carlton dismisses his son, as Eloise gets her first look at the house.
Eloise is stunned silent.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts!” Carlton yet again reassures his family.
Of course, that’s when the (fake) thunder and lightning really get going.
As a group, the Davis family make their way into the house, Carlton doing his best to corral them. He’s super excited, again, when they enter through the front door and find huge (fake) cobwebs everywhere. Corwin asks where they’ll put the TV. Jennifer asks Carlton to turn on the lights. Considering the house is seemingly empty of furniture and other items, and is supposed to be super old, does it even have electricity?
Corwin hands Carlton a flashlight, which of course is a gag flashlight. Ha ha. This is gonna get real old, real quick.
Eloise announces she thinks she’s found a lamp, pulling what appears to be a cord up so she can plug it in. Then she picks up said “lamp”, which Carlton illuminates with a lighter. It’s a human skull, causing Eloise and Jennifer to scream.
Lighting flashes, thunder rolls, Jennifer points. “Look!” Eloise tells her not to point, then looks in the direction her daughter was pointing, and begins to gasp. A man, dressed in a top hat and a coat with a cape part around the shoulders, stands in front of the window. He slowly proceeds towards them, the lightning flashing repeatedly behind him.
Oh you silly people, it’s just Gomez Addams Neil Witherspoon! Carlton shakes his hand, the joy buzzer giving Neil a zap. Ha ha. Neil suggests they turn on the lights, a wolf howling in the distance as he picks up the human skull and smiles at Jennifer. “I have a son your age,” he informs her. “He’s unusual.” Neil puts his thumb in one of the eye sockets and turns it, and magically all the lights go on in the house.
“On behalf of the Lucifer Falls Chamber of Commerce, I’d like to welcome you to our town.”
OKAY I WANT JOHN ASTIN TO SHOW UP IN MY NEW HOUSE AND WELCOME ME TO AN APPROPRIATELY-NAMED SPOOKY TOWN, WHERE I HAVE AN APPROPRIATELY SPOOKY AND AWESOME OLD HOUSE TO LIVE IN!
As a child I could deep-down recognize that I liked this aesthetic but it wasn’t until adulthood that I could be honest about it.
Then Mr Witherspoon adds that he wants to warn them. “GET OUT! Before it’s too late.”
Corwin and R.E. try to pass it off as a joke, Carlton also assures his wife this crazy dude in the top hat has to be joking. “No jokes,” Witherspoon replies. “This house has a tragic history.”
Immediately Corwin assumes that means GHOSTS. Geez, kid, lay off already.
Jennifer tries to make a break for the truck, but Carlton stops her. Witherspoon warns the boys to keep an eye out for the Boogedy man. “BOOGEDY! BOOGEDY! BOOGEDY BOO!” He shouts, in the way that only John Astin can. Witherspoon then leaves without another word.
“Don’t ever change!” Carlton calls after him.
Carlton decides it’s time for the family to take a look around their new home, while outside, the “not really haunted” sign catches fire, burning away the “not” part. Subtle, Disney, subtle.
Most of the rooms are draped with large dust cloths, hiding large pieces of furniture. Everything could stand a coat of paint and a good scrub down. R.E. and Corwin explore, while R.E. asks if there’s actually ghosts. A drop cloth falls, revealing what appears to be an extremely old ice box refrigerator. Corwin thinks he hears a noise in the basement, so the boys go downstairs to explore.
Jennifer, meanwhile, heads upstairs, complaining about the creepy house and that “no one has probably heard of Bruce Springsteen”. She opens a bedroom door just as we hear a child sneezing. The camera pans to a shot of a long hallway, which is much shorter and a mock version of the one out of The Shining, but it is devoid of anyone, human or ghost.
Thinking it might be her younger brothers trying to scare her, Jennifer walks down the hallway, hearing another sneeze. Light glows behind the door at the end of the hall, which draws Jennifer, until she opens it. The glow disappears and the room is empty. Suspicious.
Meanwhile, Corwin leads R.E. down into the cellar slash basement, his flashlight beam cutting through the gloom. They hear the noise again just as they reach the bottom of the stairs. R.E. finds a tiny wooden rocking chair, that fits his teddy bear. Corwin sees something behind the mass of fake cobwebs, calling R.E. over to help him. Just then, the lights come on and Carlton, half in shadow, asks them if they’ve found any ghosts.
The boys admit they haven’t. Carlton tells them they can look tomorrow, because it’s basically bedtime. While Corwin starts up the stairs, R.E. walks over to retrieve his teddy bear…
… only the find it MISSING. He argues with his father, who busts out his youngest son’s full name. “Reginald Ernest Davis!” It’s bedtime and Carlton means business. R.E. has to abandon the search until tomorrow. But what ghost would want, let alone take, a teddy bear?
Carlton turns out the basement lights. The camera moves over to focus on the tiny rocking chair, which begins to rock madly. How concerning…
(Commercial break! Oh weird, someone left the commercials in! I remember the cat food one. Don’t remember the Navy recruitment one. Oh boy, Almond Joy! Did anyone watch Hardcastle & McCormick?? I didn’t. Ooo, this was recorded off the San Francisco ABC affiliate! Does anyone else go and watch old commercials people have posted on YT, for nostalgia purposes?) [Wing: Sometimes, yes. Or to find something that I can halfway remember but can’t quite get all of it.]
BACK TO THE FILM!
It’s morning, dawn is bright in the old haunted house. Jennifer walks into the kitchen and is greeted by her mother, who asks if she slept well. Nope. Taking a seat at the table, Carlton says she needs a good breakfast. Corwin chimes in as well before R.E. yells, “Eat the eggs!” Well, you and I both can guess what’s coming.
“Rubber eggs, Daddy? Again?” God, I am so glad I am not a member of this family. This crap would get old so fast. Carlton and the boys display more gag items while Eloise and Jennifer just roll their eyes.
Growing serious, Jennifer asks again if her father thinks the house is haunted. Corwin and R.E. are convinced. Eloise chalks it up to the fact it’s an old house and it makes noises, while Carlton says there are absolutely no ghosts in the house. Eloise goes to put bread in the toaster but it slides away from her, causing her to scream. Carlton holds up the invisible string and smirks, “Gag City!”
This was funny when I was five. Not so much now.
We skip right to a shot of the full moon, surrounded by ominous clouds. The sneezing child is back, awakening Jennifer. She comes out into the hall and sees the glow behind the door at the end of it yet again. The light switch in the hall won’t work, so she resorts to a handy candle and matches. She calls, asking if it’s R.E., if someone is there, as we hear the sneeze yet again.
Instead of entering, she knocks on the door before opening it. No one answers, so Jennifer slowly pushes it open… and a ghastly green light envelopes her, as the wind begins to blow hard. Stunned, Jennifer stares at whatever is off-camera, as an evil laugh is heard.
Now she’s on the floor, surrounded by her parents and brothers. She awakens to her mother asking frantically if she’s okay. Apparently they found her on the floor, clicking her heels, mumbling, “there’s no place like home.” Ha ha ha.
“I SAW HIM! I SAW HIM! THE BOOGEDY MAN! HIS FACE WAS ALL YUCKY, LIKE A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH OR SOMETHING!”
Okay, Jennifer, grilled cheese sandwiches are not yucky, they are delicious. Secondly, I think you mean his face was more like Freddy Krueger but whatever.
Carlton’s all, wait, hold up. He walks in the room, which is empty and not lit with green lights. “What Boogedy man?” He asks his poor daughter. That’s when Jennifer yells, “Look! It’s his footprints!”
Sure enough, green gel shoe prints are on the wall, walking up it. R.E. and Corwin are impressed. Eloise isn’t too impressed, telling Carlton not to get the goo on his pyjammas. Carlton, on the other hand, is super impressed, peeling one off the wall. “These are great!” He cries, going further on to say he can totally sell them, because they stick to shit!
“I DON’T BELIEVE THIS!” Jennifer cries, flabbergasted that her family doesn’t believe her. Carlton suggests that Witherspoon set this whole thing up. Jennifer says no, she really did see the Boogedy man! “Maybe you had a nightmare,” Eloise suggests. Corwin and R.E. set into teasing their sister about the Boogedy man. Way to parent there, Eloise.
Meanwhile, Carlton has peeled all the slime footprints off the wall and covered himself in them, yelling jokingly, “Look! The Boogedy man walked all over me!” The boys think he’s hilarious but Jennifer just looks upset and Eloise is probably considering divorce.
Now it’s morning again! Geez, no standing on ceremony here. Corwin and R.E. are playing in the kitchen when the toaster starts to rock back and forth. Then it levitates. Spooky. Corwin thinks it’s another of Carlton’s jokes but as he and R.E. approach the toaster, it stops moving. R.E. checks but there’s no wires. This actually seems to worry Corwin.
The middle child picks up the toaster to look underneath but the toaster powers up, glowing a bright red almost instantly. Corwin is forced to drop it. Suddenly the water comes on in the kitchen sink, the cupboard doors begin to open and close, the tea kettle on the stove begins to whistle. This isn’t good. An ominous old man’s laughter fills the kitchen, sending the boys fleeing.
Smash cut to the idyllic downtown of Lucifer Falls. The children are out walking, apparently discussing the mysteries of their new house. Corwin explains that since they’re the only ones who know what’s going on, plus the fact their father doesn’t believe in ghosts, it’s up to them to solve the mystery. So here they are, at the Lucifer Falls Historical Society, to see Mr. Witherspoon.
Entering the store front, they find Witherspoon asleep, laying over the desk. Papers, books, antique furniture, and even a mannequin dressed in “pilgrim” clothing are what make this a historical society apparently. R.E. wakes Witherspoon, who comes to and takes a minute to remember why he’s there — “I work here!” — before Corwin explains point blank that they want to know why their house is haunted.
A weird cut in the film and Witherspoon now has a huge leather-bound tome, which he sets on the table and opens, revealing it to be a huge pop-up book. The story takes place 300 years ago, in 1686 (sure). A group of pilgrims settled on the land that is now known as Lucifer Falls, hard workers and decent folk, and now we transport to a live-action recreation of this scary story.
A juggler is entertaining a group of people dressed in “pilgrim garb”, complete with white collars and buckles on their hats. Everyone was pretty down for a laugh, except one William Hanover. Hanover was “strange” and disliked by everyone, even afraid of him. He even hates children, running up to a group and yelling “BOOGEDY BOOGEDY BOOGEDY!” at them.
Hence the name, Mr. Boogedy.
Back in reality, Corwin states, “What a weirdo.”
Turning the page, Witherspoon reveals another popup, this one of the womenfolk of Lucifer Falls. Apparently none of the available women were remotely interested in knocking on Hanover’s door in the name of romance. But the beautiful widow Marian tries to look kindly upon Hanover and admonishes the other women to not judge him so harshly. Marian’s young son, Jonathan, doesn’t believe there’s any good in Hanover.
So, sure enough, Hanover falls in love with Marian, wanted to marry her. But Marian shot down his proposal. Spurned, Hanover cuts a deal with the devil himself. I would say nice twist, it being a man instead of woman, but in current times, this is just uuuuhhhhhgggggg.
We’re treated to a dude in a tacky shiny red devil costume, complete with pitchfork and horns, treating with pilgrim Hanover. Some say that Hanover sold his soul to the devil to gain a magical cloak of INVISIBILITY!
Um, how the fuck is this supposed to win him Marian? GIANT PLOT HOLE.
Just to speed this up, Hanover uses the cloak and kidnaps Jonathan, who is sick and traveling down the road to the doctor apparently ALONE because story, and takes the boy back to his house. Hanover then issued an ultimatum to Marian: marry him or you’ll never see your son again!
I have a lot of questions but I don’t think I’m going to get any answers, so I’ll just keep recapping.
Oh. Okay. That’s an answer. It seems that not only did Hanover get his magical invisibility cloak, but he also gained the use of magic spells because of it. (I wish you could see my expression. You’re probably making the same face.) In order to force Marian to agree, Hanover cast a spell but it went WRONG and the house blew up.
Jennifer is just incredulous as I am about this revelation.
In short, the house didn’t really “blow up”; more it actually disappeared and any residential building that has been built upon the same lot since has been haunted by Hanover, Jonathan, and Marian. Because all three were in the original house when it was disappeared. Okay.
To go for the extra sadness, because Disney, Marian cannot be with her son in death, even though they’re technically ghosts haunting the same residence. Okay.
“In fact, Jonathan still has his cold,” Witherspoon informs the children. EXPLAINS ALL THAT SNEEZING JENNIFER HEARD!
Corwin wonders aloud what they’re going to do. Witherspoon says, “Well, if it were me, I’d move.” SO. HELPFUL.
(COMMERCIAL TIME! This round we get a Snickers commercial; the USPS promoting STAMP COLLECTING! [I’m not a philatelist, sorry.] Promos for Peter Jennings and the ABC World News Tonight (man, this is old), Who’s the Boss?, and Perfect Strangers (Balki discovers writing checks!) Home Savings of America (I don’t remotely remember that one, but I also wasn’t in need of a home loan when I was five), some brand of potato chips that doesn’t exist anymore and probably weren’t sold outside of NorCal, and the KGO-TV AM show with guests Evel and Robbie Knievel. It’s kind of sad when the commercials are more exciting then the film you’re recapping, but here we are.)
BACK TO THE MOVIE!
It’s night again! (Man, what is time?) The kids have returned from town, but it seems as though their parents aren’t home. They creep into the house, through the foyer. Someone in an ape mask and a green cape sneaks up behind the children and softly speaks, “Boogedy, boogedy, boo!”
“Hi, Dad!” R.E. cries, much to Carlton’s disappointment.
Eloise turns on the lights, in on the prank. She and Carlton are doing store inventory. Carlton purposefully knocks over a box, spilling packing peanuts. He asks Jennifer to hand him the hose attachment on the shop vac, then to turn the machine on. A quick wink shared with Eloise says this is another prank being attempted. Jennifer complies, frustrated by her parents. When she hits the power button, the top of the shop vac pops open, revealing a jack-in-the-box. Ha ha ha.
Braying with laughter, Eloise thinks this is hilarious. “Daddy had it made special before we moved!” She announces to the not remotely impressed children. The hose attachment even shoots ping pong balls!
“Daddy, we are trying to talk to you!” A seriously frustrated Jennifer cries, while the boys look confused but serious. Carlton finally sobers up and agrees to listen. Just as she’s about to explain, Carlton interrupts Jennifer by pulling a full-sized dummy out of a box, which is dressed like an Egyptian mummy. He cracks a bad pun while the kids roll their eyes and R.E. even covers his face with his hands. Wow, this is some terrible parenting.
Even, demonic laughter fills the house. Jennifer grabs her brothers, Carlton and Eloise stop laughing. “Hey, good one! What was that?” Carlton asks.
“GHOSTS!” The three children scream.
Unconvinced, Carlton still wants to know how the kids did that trick. He refuses to believe the house is haunted. That’s when the piano starts to play itself, there’s more shrieking and laughter, and the dummy mummy (which was a dummy before a bad edit where it became a real person in a suit) stands up and begins to dance. Other objects begin to float around the living room, the lights flicker, and the family stares in horror at the supernatural display.
Then it suddenly stops.
“Well, that’s it,” Eloise declares. “Time to call a realtor.”
Still disbelieving even after seeing it with his own eyes, Carlton tries a bunch of excuses then attempts to physically prevent his family from exiting the haunted house. He suggests they use sleeping bags and camp out in the living room.
Somehow the family agrees to this stupid idea.
A fire burning in the fireplace, Carlton tells the boys a spooky story about an old house. That same wolf keeps howling in the distance. Carlton scares everyone by screaming abruptly. Jennifer has had it. She’s yammering on about the poor decisions this family has made by staying, while a creepy monster hand with claws appears over her shoulder. It reaches round to cover her mouth. Jennifer screams!
It’s just Corwin, being a dick.
Eloise says no more talk of ghosts, and Carlton decides it’s time for everyone to bed down for the night. The camera zooms in on the roaring fire, which eventually fades into the cinders burning low in the grate, hours later. The family is tossing and turning, Carlton laughing in his sleep, before Eloise wakes up.
Pushing up her eye mask, she gives up and gets out of her sleeping bag, pulling on her robe and heading to the kitchen. Pulling some leftovers out of the fridge, she takes her plate and goes to the table, sitting down to eat.
There comes a rapping, a gentle three-part tapping, that draws her attention. She gets up and opens the door, stepping out cautiously. Suddenly there is a bright pink-red light that illuminates the scene. On the porch is the poor ghostly form of Widow Marian!
“Would you like to come in?” Eloise invites her in (she’s not a vampire, you twit) and even offers Marian a cup of coffee. Marian begins to sob and Eloise asks if coffee is a taboo subject for ghosts.
“I cannot enter your home!” Marian explains. “Mr Boogedy preventh me!”
Eloise finally catches on to whom she is speaking and I’m like, but wait, Marian wasn’t in the house when it “exploded/disappeared”, but she was apparently near enough to be sucked into the spell???
At some point, unseen, the children told their parents the story of Hanover and the Widow Marian, and poor little Jonathan with his sniffles. Eloise keeps inviting Marian in but Marian explains that as long as Mr Boogedy resides within, his magic “keepth me out!”
AND BOOM, Eloise has told the kids about meeting Marian. Geez, time does not exist in this half hour film, it’s not even a concept.
Corwin is only interested in knowing if Marian had fangs, “like a vampire”, and R.E. wants to know if she was oozing goo “out of her face”. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE CHILDREN?? Whatever, Eloise ignores it, saying Marian was a lovely woman who just misses her son. Well, I guess that the appeal from one mother to another, ghost or not, worked.
Oh my god… now that Eloise believes fully in ghosts, Carlton is on board. And he is pissed that Marian can’t be with her son. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Corwin asks Eloise what they need to do, and that’s get rid of Mr Boogedy, by getting rid of his magical cloak.
Remember, that one that makes him invisible. But in the story time flashback was very tangible, nothing like the invisibility cloak in Harry Potter.
Armed with a plastic baseball bat, a fly swatter, and some other inappropriate items for weapons, the family climbs the staircase. They’re after Mr Boogedy! Eloise points out, what if the cloak blows them up? She, R.E., Corwin, and Jennifer try to turn around and go back downstairs.
Carlton admonishes them they can’t give up! This is important! I guess going from a total non-believer to a fervent believer is Carlton’s nature. Everyone troops upstairs but then we see R.E. has hung behind. He hears a noise and heads downstairs.
Just as they’re almost to the second floor, Corwin notices R.E. is missing. He, too, heads downstairs. Carlton notices the weird green light is on again behind the door at the end of the hall. It’s decided that must be the presence of Mr Boogedy.
Carlton decides he’s going to talk to Mr Boogedy. Eloise doesn’t believe in this plan. Neither do I. “This I gotta see. Dad’s going to negotiate with Mr Hamburger Face!” Jennifer scoffs.
Back downstairs, Corwin calls for his little brother, finding just the plastic baseball helmet R.E. was sporting on the floor. He heads into the kitchen, but still hasn’t gotten an answer. Meanwhile, Carlton announces he’s entering the room, Eloise adding that it’s “just to talk!” Opening the door, all they find is a green light bulb. “He tricked us!”
Corwin finds the door to the basement/cellar open, and calls for R.E. The lights won’t come on, so he readies the giant red plastic bat and starts down the stairs, only to hear R.E. screaming, “Stop! Stop!”
(COMMERCIAL! At least they used this break to maximize the effect, since the screen fades to black as R.E.’s high-pitched screams fill the air. [Wing: I can’t believe this ball of cheese was better at dramatic cliffhanger chapter endings than Stine.] What do we get? JUICY FRUIT GUM! Oh my god these were my favorite commercials when I was little! And I hate sports! Next up is Cheerios, Orville Redenbacher microwave “popping corn”, a 1986 Ford Ranger STX that features HORSIES, a commercial announcing that Disneyland is NOW OPEN EVERY DAY, and finally a promo for MCGUYVER and his battle against “nature’s deadliest creation” (if this is bugs, rocks, or water, THEY NEVER SAY!)
BACK TO THE BASEMENT! R.E. is screaming and yelling as Corwin slowly enters the room. A blue light illuminates the junk in the basement/cellar, and there’s even a comet-like ball of blue light streaking about, throwing sparks. WTF?
Corwin rounds the corner and finds R.E. wrestling with none other than the ghost of Jonathan, who’s throwing off supernatural sparks, as they fight over R.E.’s teddy bear. Uh huh. R.E. accuses Jonathan of stealing, while Jonathan explains he just borrowed the bear. It’s really amazing these ghosts are truly able to interact with physical objects on the mortal plane.
It takes a minute but Corwin finally gets R.E. to understand this is Jonathan, Marian’s sneezing ghost son. He even touches Jonathan, who zaps like a joy buzzer, before he sneezes once more, dropping the teddy bear. Jonathan apologizes for taking (and sneezing on) the teddy bear. “I was just lonely for a friend,” he explains in an endearing childish lisp. Oh lord. There’s even a sad musical cue in the background. Make it stop.
Feeling guilty, R.E. hands over the teddy bear, but not for keeps. The boys sit down to have a chat; Jonathan tells the tales of others who have come and gone from the house, scared away by Mr Boogedy. R.E. offers that he and Corwin will be Jonathan’s friends. He goes so far as to offer that Corwin can beat up Mr Boogedy so Jonathan can reunite with Marian, which is a complete surprise to Corwin.
Meanwhile, I am distracted by the horrible blue ghost glow being rendered around Jonathan. I know partly it’s the shitty VHS-to-digital transfer compounded by upload to YT, but it was pretty bad when I saw it originally, too.
Corwin informs R.E. that he can’t beat up Mr Boogedy. And that’s when we switch to villain POV (BOOOOO) because, of course, Mr Boogedy is looming in the dark recesses of the basement/cellar, watching the boys. Creep.
Jonathan apparently can sense Mr Boogedy, telling the boys to run, handing over the teddy bear. He adds a new wrinkle: if Mr Boogedy catches them he can keep them “forever”. This gives me a multitude of questions but I guess we’ll just chalk it up to that devil cloak of his.
The boys run for upstairs, screaming for their parents. Carlton and Eloise, along with Jennifer, meet them in the living room. Before they’re able to explain, we switch yet again to villain POV (BOOOOOO) as Mr Boogedy arrives in the room. A bunch of yucky green orbs blip and the room fills with an evil wind, while objects rattle and fall, and there’s more evil laughter and I’m really sure this was terrifying when I was five but now I’m like there’s still ten minutes of this to watch???
Terrified, the whole David family cowers behind a tower of packing boxes just as a fire explodes in the fireplace. More green blips appear before they solidify into the ghostly, green-glowing form of Mr Boogedy. He’s clad in his magic invisibility cloak, laughing like a maniac. A closeup reveals there are giant holes in his wrinkled and melted skin, as those something exploded and burned him. Eww.
Carlton attempts to talk to Mr Boogedy but the evil ghost isn’t having it. Shouting, “Boogedy! Boogedy!” he shoots lightning bolts from his fingers. This makes Eloise and Jennifer’s hair stand up ala the Bridge of Frankenstein, while electricity outlines them and Carlton. Oops.
“Okay, so you don’t want to talk. Fine.” Carlton, you’re a bad negotiator.
Corwin springs into action, bringing R.E. in to help. He tells R.E. to throw some itching powder on Boogedy while he jumps in to steal the cloak. Of course Jennifer ruins this plan, though R.E. has enough time to blow the powder into Boogedy’s face. Boogedy sneezes so hard he knocks Carlton, Eloise, Jennifer, and R.E. down.
Corwin, on the other hand, watches his fireplace shovel begin to inflate, until it’s strong enough to pull him into the air. He screams for help, dangling, as Carlton tries to help him. Jennifer yells at Boogedy to put her brother down. Okay. Boogedy just laughs.
Unable to let go, as his hands are magically glued to the metal, Corwin floats higher. Carlton runs for a ladder, trying to get his son down. R.E. hides behind the shop vac and seems to be realizing a plan. Boogedy zaps Carlton, forcing him to magically climb up and down the ladder without stopping.
Eloise and Jennifer a next, getting caught in a magical wind. R.E. has had enough, he picks up the shop vac hose and threatens Boogedy, even shooting a few ping pong balls at the ghost. Gotta admire the kid for his plucky attitude. Boogedy magics the ping pong balls back into the hose, which also somehow turns it on. It begins to float mid-air, the shop vac chasing R.E. around the room, sucking violently at the child. This is disturbing. R.E. feeds it a piece of the lace curtains as well as a dust rag, but it’s still coming after him. Mr Boogedy finds this hilarious.
Just when it seems like the shop vac is going to suck down R.E. he gets the bright idea to hide behind Mr Boogedy! Who’s cape gets sucked into the hose attachment. And for some reason, Mr Boogedy isn’t strong enough to pull it free.
So many questions but we’ll roll with this.
Now the cape is literally sucked off Mr Boogedy, leaving him powerless and vulnerable. He begins to scream, his hands covering his face, asking what has R.E. done to him, before he blinks out in an explosion of green light.
Everything and everyone slowly return to normal. The shop vac canister lid pops open, the jack-in-the-box holding Boogedy’s magical cloak. The David family gathers round and congratulates R.E. on a job well done, defeating the evil ghost. Okay. Corwin takes the magic cloak, throws it in the air, yells “Boogedy boogedy boo!” and makes the damn thing disappear. Okay.
This is super anticlimactic.
A bright light fills the room as the ghosts of Jonathan and Marian appear, glowing blue and red-pink, respectively. Mother and son are finally reunited after over 300 years! Yay. Marian thanks R.E. and gives him a big hug. Jonathan sneezes, so Carlton gives him a handkerchief. Then the two ghosts disappear from the mortal plane for good.
Everyone considers this a job well done. Then Carlton adds, “but there are no such things as ghosts!”
“You wanna bet??” An angry, evil voice yells from the ghostly plane. Carlton passes it off as another prank but realizes that Boogedy isn’t exactly defeated for good, as the jack-in-the-box winks at him.
(Commercials?? Again?? Wow, one for the National Dairy Board advising to cook with “real cheese”; Twix bars with a drum line! Arm & Hammer deodorizing spray, which I don’t think exists anymore. A promo for the world television premiere of Disney’s Robin Hood on the Sunday Night Movie. (YAY!!)
AND ROLL CREDITS. THE END.
This didn’t age well.
Sure, if you’re new to it or only have vague memories of it from back in the day, or maybe want to scare a five year old, it might still be fun. Or it might be a total bust. Though what kid of this era will understand practical effects in a movie? So that might work? I dunno.
As I said, the film was almost the basis / backdoor pilot to series. If Disney decided to do that today, they should start from the beginning (kind of like how Hocus Pocus starts) and build up to Boogedy treating with the Devil and gaining the cloak and maybe using the cloak successfully a few times and becoming cocky and over confident with his powers before he steals Jonathan. The whole first half of, say, a ten episode season would be plenty of time in which to show this. Maybe even less. Then the David family enters the picture and voila, I just totally wrote your series for you, Disney.
[Wing: This would be kind of fun.]
I love the valiant efforts of John Astin, no stranger to the spooky or strange, because he always brings his A-game to these. Especially when they’re terrible.
Honestly, I was going to recap Bride of Boogedy along with this one but A) this was rough getting through and B) it’s not on YT, and C) it’s worse almost then Mr Boogedy, so… nope.
Boogedy Boogedy BOO until next Halloween, everybody!
Category: Other movies
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