CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: ANNE-MARIE MARTIN as JESSICA in THE BOOGENS!

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Cult Classic Cuties are characters from some of our favorite cult classics and midnight movies who captured our hearts and/or actresses who got our attention but, sadly, never returned to these type of flicks or whose sexy stars shined only briefly, not quite achieving scream queen status. And this installment’s cutie is…

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ANNE-MARIE MARTIN

While Rebecca Balding’s perky and cute girl-next-door Trish is clearly the heroine of the 1981 creature cult classic The Boogens, it’s Anne-Marie Martin’s sexy, sassy Jessica that got my attention. Whether in a plaid shirt and cowboy hat or running from the title creatures in nothing but a towel, Jessica had a fiery personality and sarcastic sense of humor that made me want to get snowbound in a remote cabin with her…monster infestation or not. Martin gave the character a feisty and vivacious liveliness that made her very crush-worthy and imbued her with smarts and a tinge of girl-next-door charm that kept her from being the stereotypical ‘horny chick’ slasher character that she could have been…and as such, she stole our hearts long before catching the eye of the creepy critters that lurk in the catacombs beneath the cabin in question.
Being Boogens fodder aside, the Canadian beauty also had another genre role in the classic slasher Prom Night and a bit part in the classic horror sequel Halloween II. Martin also had a fairly busy TV career between 1976 and 1988 before retiring from acting and was married and had a daughter with legendary author Michael Crichton before divorcing in 2003!

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 as JESSICA in THE BOOGENS!

(click on the poster for a full review)

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SIDE NOTE: While we were falling for Martin’s sassy and sexy Jessica, Boogens’ director James L. Conway was falling for leading lady Rebecca Balding and the two have been happily married ever since!

Be sure to check out our Cult Classic Cuties (click right here on the link) section to see more crush worthy ladies from cult films and midnight movies!

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: PROM NIGHT (1980)

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PROM NIGHT (1980)

Prom Night is one of the more famous 80s slasher flicks mostly because it stars legendary scream queen/final girl Jamie Lee Curtis among it’s predominately youthful cast. It’s actually glossier and more sedate then most of the horror flicks of the time with a small body count, very moderate bloodletting and virtually no gore. It does have a lot of early 80s nostalgia though, especially with it’s very heavy disco soundtrack that fills the last act of this prom set horror.

The film opens with a group of kids playing a mean spirited variation of hide and go seek in an abandoned building. When little Robin Hammond (Tammy Bourne) goes to join her friends, they turn their attentions toward her and begin to chase and frighten her. Their really mean prank terrifies the little girl right out of a second story window and she falls to her death. Terrified at what will happen if anyone finds out what they’ve done, they all make a pact to never speak of this to anyone and flee. Though, unknown to them, someone has seen them. The police blame Robin’s death on a local pedophile and when they go to apprehend him, he runs and becomes involved in an accident which scars him for life. We then cut to six years later, the Hammonds, including siblings Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Alex (Michael Tough), still mourn their loss as the anniversary of her death approaches…and it falls, unfortunately, on prom night. Complicating matters further is that the high school principal is Robin, Kim and Alex’s father (Leslie Neilsen). Also, at this time, not only has the deformed sex offender escaped, but the four really responsible for Robin’s death, Jude (Joy Thompson), Kelly (Mary Beth Rubens), Wendy (The Boogens Anne-Marie Martin) and Kim’s prom date, Nick (Casey Stevens) are getting ominous and threatening phone calls. Someone knows who the guilty parties are and it seems the anniversary of Robin’s death will be a time of reckoning and the prom will be it’s setting. Has this crazed sex offender come to exact revenge on those who are really responsible, or has a witness to their misdeed decided to stay silent no longer and give little Robin some payback?

As directed by Paul Lynch, Prom Night is a slow burn which is actually fairly common at this point for slashers like this. Pacing and body counts would increase as the 80s horror trend continued, but at this point, Halloween was still the template, which had the creepiness build slowly then cranked things up in the last act. As such, Prom Night doesn’t gives us our first kill till literally an hour in, but from then on it’s a tense last act as our mysterious masked killer hunts down the remaining three victims in the high school hallways while the prom rages on. Lynch is not an overly stylish director. He’s fairly by the numbers, but does build some tension and anticipation with the creepy voiced phone calls and obvious clues that something at school isn’t right. Once the killer is unleashed, the pace and suspense pick-up as his prey are hunted down and slaughtered, as is anyone who might be with them. Lynch does a decent job here with the chills and thrills though, he is far from a John Carpenter.

The cast are all fine with Curtis doing her virginal final girl thing and the rest of the actors looking far too old to be teenagers. Neilsen was still in serious actor mode, but as Airplane also came out this year, that would change. Overall it’s a decent slasher and more-so the film has gained some really fun nostalgia three decades later especially with it’s disco prom complete with floor that lights up and even giving Jaime Lee Curtis and co-star Casey Stevens a Saturday Night Fever-ish dance number that hilariously goes on far too long. The kills are simple but effective and it has enough of what fans look for in slasher flicks in it’s last act. It doesn’t really give us too many suspects to choose from, but the reveal works and actually evokes some sympathy for our killer.

Prom Night was a successful flick and spawned a number of sequels, none of which have anything to do with the original, a film now considered an 80s classic. It used a time honored slasher formula… someone violently avenging a wrongful death and represents this era of early 80s horror fairly well. Not a great movie, but well done enough and very representative of it’s time. There was also a forgettable remake in 2008 which hardly qualified as a remake as it actually used just the title, but had it’s own storyline.

3 glass shards… one of our Prom Night killer’s preferred weapons of choice.

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE BOOGENS (1981)

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THE BOOGENS (1981)

The Boogens is a 1981 horror flick that has become a bit of a cult classic partially due to it’s unavailability for almost 2 decades and partially for it’s amusing title. It’s just fun to say “Boogens”. The film also has sentimental importance to me, as it was one of the horror flicks I saw with friends at the legendary Oritani grind house in Hackensack, N.J. A time when B movies were still released in a theater, where they belong, and a time I now cherish in this direct to DVD and VOD age. Now being given the chance to revisit this low budget chiller, it’s time to answer the question of whether it’s as fun as I remember, or has time and nostalgia created a far better memory then it was a movie. I’m happy to report, it still is a fun flick, although 80s nostalgia does play a part. In a way, Boogens is a quintessential horror for the late 70s, early 80s with it’s slow burn, creepy old man with ominous warnings, and nubile girls in skimpy bathrobes investigating noises in dark cellars. This is exactly the type of movie Ti West paid homage to in the recent House Of The Devil. A few months later Evil Dead would arrive and crank horror flicks up to 11 and Jason was just getting started on his body count.

This 1981 horror stars Rebecca Balding (Silent Scream) and takes place in rural Silver City, Colorado, a small mining town where the mines are being reopened for the first time since a supposed cave-in, 70 years previous. Unknown to two college grads (Fred McCarren and Jeff Harlan) working on the re-opening and their two nubile young ladies (Balding and the equally cute, Anne-Marie Martin), the mines were caved-in on purpose and unsealing the tunnels unleashes our title creatures and they are quite hungry.

Boogens is well directed by James L. Conway…from a script by David O’Malley and Jim Kouf…who also directed pseudo-documentaries like Hanger 18 and In Search Of Noah’s Ark and went on to direct a lot of genre TV, including episodes of all the post-original Star Trek series and the current, Supernatural. He directs with a leisurely pace, but builds some nice suspense and also knows to keep his monsters hidden until the very end. And when we do see them, they are good old fashioned prosthetics. There’s something charming about prosthetics that CGI rarely matches. He gets good performances out of his cast and the fact that they are all very likable helps add suspense when they are in danger. There is some nice gore, but it is used sparingly and the body count is low. This movie was made just as the slasher sub-genre started to gain momentum and before body count became crucial to the proceedings.

Sure, by today’s standards The Boogens is tame, slow and cheesy, but it is the type of horror that they made when I was in high school and I will always have a soft spot in my movie geek heart for them. The transfer on blu-ray is absolutely beautiful and it’s worth a look for horror fans, especially those who enjoy horror from this era. Welcome back, Boogens!

MONSTERZERO NJ EXTRA TRIVIA: Director Conway and leading lady Rebecca Balding fell in love during the production and are still happily married to this day!

A nostalgic  3 and 1/2 Boogens

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