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October 29th, 2013


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09:54 pm - 31 Days of Halloween: Mr. Boogedy / Bride of Boogedy
For as long as I can remember, Disney has had some kind of anthology TV series on Sunday nights where they'd run--well, just about anything. During my childhood, I mostly remember The Disney Sunday Movie on ABC in the '80s, and The Magical World of Disney which ran for a couple of years on NBC. Sometimes these shows ran classic Disney material, but in general I remember watching made-for-TV movies. They were fun when I was a child, but even at that age I remember judging them to be sort-of-kind-of-crappy.

One of the crappy ones was 1986's Mr. Boogedy, which was followed the next year by Bride of Boogedy. The fact that they made a sequel suggests that the first one got pretty good ratings, but I wasn't fond of it at the time.

I was six years old when Mr. Boogedy premiered, and I really wanted to watch it. The previews on TV looked cool--scary, green, glowing guy shooting lightning and laughing maniacally--that's the kind of thing I liked at that age.

Watching Mr. Boogedy turned out to be intolerable, though. I considered He-Man and She-Ra to be the pinnacle of screen storytelling, and I couldn't handle all the cumbrous plotting and character development. Eventually I'd grow up to watch David Lynch movies for fun ("look," I remember telling one of my coworkers, "sometimes you just have an interesting image that you want to preserve. It doesn't have to mean anything."), but at the time, I wanted action. If a movie couldn't be described as having "bad guys" in it, I wasn't interested. I gave up on Mr. Boogedy almost immediately.

Tonight I decided to revisit Mr. Boogedy, and since I never got through it the first time, I can't say whether or not it holds up. I'm guessing that it doesn't, though, because it's obviously a children's movie. Disney's TV fare is usually of low-quality compared with their theatrical films, and that's the case here; exaggerated characters, stupid voices, and extreme bottom-of-the-barrel jokes: these are the components of Mr. Boogedy.

The movie opens in the Lucifer Falls, a small town in New England whose name I just got. Very clever. Anyway, the Davis family is moving from the big city into their new house. Mom and dad are pretty thrilled, but the kids are not. Over the next few days (or weeks (or whatever--they never really make the timeframe clear)), the kids experience supernatural events: green lights. Gusts of wind. Ghostly laughter.

The kids go to the historical society, which is run by Mr. Witherspood (John Astin), who pulls out a handily-available popup book and tells them the story of their new house. Apparently, 300 years ago William Hanover, a notorious jerk, sold his soul to the devil in return for which he received a magical cloak. Hanover had planned to use the cloak to woo the beautiful widow Marion. Unfortunately, his spell backfired. His house blew up, taking Hanover, Marion, and her young son Jonathan with it. Since that day, Hanover has haunted the house, frightening off anyone who has attempted to make a home there. Marion and Jonathan cannot be reunited until Hanover leaves.

Hanover, presumably, had his name legally (and posthumously) changed to Boogedy, hence his nickname.

Anyway, the kids and their parents encounter all three ghosts and resolve to restore Jonathan to Marion. Mr. Davis is a novelty salesman, which means that their plan involves fake vomit and funny dog poo. Mr. Boogedy shows up when the movie climaxes. Surrounded by a green aura, he wears the magic black cloak and has what one of the kids describes as a "grilled cheese sandwich" face. He shoots green lightning and shouts "boogedy boogedy boo!" and gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner at the end.

I also watched Bride of Boogedy, which has a little more of Mr. Boogedy and a lot more of Mr. Davis' practical jokes, but is otherwise more of the same (as in not very good). Eugene Levy shows up as the current town grouch, but that's about the only noteworthy thing about it. The returning adults are all played by the same actors, but the kids have been replaced, which is too bad because a couple of the kids in the first movie grew up to be actual stars; two of the Davis children were played by David Faustino (Bud from Married With Children) and Kristy Swanson (Kristy Swanson from a bunch of stuff).

Mr. and Mrs. Davis are played by Richard Masur and Mimi Kennedy, both of whom are slumming here. Masur commits himself to a role which isn't good enough for him, and Kennedy really phones it in. She's amazingly bad, and I can only assume that she's a better actress in better things. Eugene Levy was struggling at this time to keep his career afloat, and his talents are misused here. The only actor I really like in the Boogedy movies is John Astin who, like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, is perfectly willing to give a brilliant performance in a movie that isn't really worth his time. Which is too bad, because they almost set him up as a Scooby Doo-style villain, but noooo. He shows up, drops a bunch of exposition, and gets out.

Good man.

I couldn't actually find a trailer, but it doesn't take much to find the full movies on Youtube.

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31 Days of Halloween: Mr. Boogedy / Bride of Boogedy - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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