CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: SUZANNA LOVE as LACEY in THE BOOGEYMAN!

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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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SUZANNA LOVE as LACEY in THE BOOGEYMAN (1980)!

The Boogeyman is a supernaturally themed 1980 slasher that has developed a cult following over the years. The film has young Lacey witnessing the murder of her mother’s abusive boyfriend by the target of that abuse, her brother Willy. Twenty years later, an adult Lacey (Suzanna Love) is still haunted by the killing, but has tried to move on and now has a husband and child of her own. She still takes care of her brother (Nicholas Love), who lives with her family and hasn’t spoken a word since that night. Unfortunately, events trigger the return of the vengeful spirit of the abusive man, who starts to terrorize the girl-next-door MILF and begins a nightmare of murder and possession for this Cult Classic Cutie.
Suzanna Love basically had a short film career between 1979 and 1985 before disappearing from acting. Her horror film resume consists of four low budget flicks, only two of those, The Boogeyman and The Devonsville Terror gained any notoriety and were both directed by her then husband, Ulli Lommel. Her down-to-earth beauty made her a perfect girl-next-door type heroine and Love was not afraid to perform in some daring scenes for her husband, such as Boogeyman’s sexually tinged nightmare sequence. Lacey is dressed in skimpy undergarments, glistening with sweat and bound and gagged on a bed at the knife wielding mercy of what appears to be her own brother. While she is in dire peril, there is an eroticism to the scene which, makes it intriguing and disturbing. Was Lommel trying to imply something about Lacey in her nightmare?…or was he just trying to show off his wife’s hot body? As the issue is never pursued in the film, we may never know. She did look quite beguiling despite her perilous predicament.

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(click on the poster for a full review)

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The sweet girl-next-door

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What is Boogeyman’s nightmare sequence trying to tell us? Lacey obviously isn’t saying.

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MILF Lacey in one of the film’s few quiet moments.

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That’s one way of showing off those abs.

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A woman possessed…literally! We’d still date her.

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Lacey and The Boogeyman reunited in 1983 for a sub-par sequel Revenge Of The Boogeyman (aka Boogeyman 2) involving Lacey traveling to L.A. to meet with filmmakers interested in her story. Obviously the vengeful specter begins to kill again, as Lacey reveals she has a remaining piece of the mirror still in her possession.
As for Suzanna Love, she may have only briefly passed through the horror genre, but one of those flicks is a cult classic and her pretty, girl-next-door appeal got her noticed…as did her not being afraid to push the boundaries a bit with Boogeyman’s infamous and disturbingly sexual, bondage nightmare sequence. She also gets to play possessed in the film’s fun over-the-top climax, so her adorable Lacey is girl-next-door babe, sexy bound damsel and possessed MILF all in the same movie! That earns her the title of Cult Classic Cutie!

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: THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR (1983)

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THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR (1983)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

In 1683 in the rural town of Devonsville, three women where arrested and put to gruesome deaths, accused of being witches. The last one to die was indeed a witch and cursed the town with her final breaths. Three centuries later to the day, three young women, including the new school teacher, Jenny (Suzanna Love from The Boogey Man) arrive in the small town. As the new ladies are of modern thinking and behavior, they soon garner unwanted attention in this backward thinking community. The male descendants of those who, 300 years earlier, sent the three women to their deaths, start to become afraid that these women are reincarnations of the suspected witches and back for revenge. As strange occurrences creep over the town, the men plot to stop these new suspected ‘witches’ before they can have their vengeance on the citizens of Devonsville.

Flick is directed by Ulli Lommel, a german filmmaker who also directed the cult favorite The Boogey Man. While it’s basically as bad as that movie, it’s nowhere near as fun. The story, written by Lommel, along with George T. Lindsey and wife and star Suzanna Love, is tedious and slow going with very sparse supernatural activity until it’s climactic scene. Most of the running time, save for the opening scene set in 1683, is a bunch of bigoted and paranoid men seeing everything these three women do as suspicious and evidence they are witches. Obviously, there are feminist messages here about the oppression of women by ignorance and misogynist thinking, but it’s hard to take them seriously when the men are proven right about at least one of these modern-thinking women being a devil in disguise. Also, it makes no sense that such a sheltered community would bring in a stranger from the outside to teach their kids…not that much logic was evoked here anyway. Some of the scenes meant to serious are laughable, such as widower Walter (Paul Wilson) trying to seduce Jenny with a violin and most of the locals are just continually creepy. The FX are all pretty poor, especially the few visual ones. There is some laughable gore at the climax, as well as, a demon incarnation that literally looks and moves like a muppet. The dialogue is pretty terrible and even at less than 90 minutes the film feels like at least two hours.

The cast are pretty much wooden across the board. Even a veteran like Donald Pleasence…not sure how he got dragged into this…seems to be delivering his lines very by-the-numbers. Star Suzanna Love is perky and cute, but not all that much of an actress. She has a couple of nude scenes, so at least here is that. The rest of the supporting cast give forgettable performances and the flat reciting of the terrible dialogue only enhances the lack of any real energy or passion in the performances.

Overall, this is a pretty forgettable flick. There are a few scenes that have a little impact, mostly the cruel opening sequence, but for the most part, it’s a snoozer. The Boogey Man may have been a fairly bad film, too, but at least it was fun to watch. Even a veteran like Donald Pleasence seems to perform as if he wished he was elsewhere and the laughably bad make-up and gore takes any impact away from the climactic scene. Not much to recommend here unless, like me, you just have to see this stuff for yourself.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 muppet-like demon incarnations.

devonsville terror rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE BOOGEYMAN (1980)

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THE BOOGEYMAN (1980)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

The Boogeyman is another film I saw in a theater back in the day when low budget stuff like this could be seen on the big screen. It’s a cheesy, somewhat amateurish, slasher/supernatural horror that has earned a reputation as a cult classic.

The movie opens with two small children Lacey (Natasha Schiano) and Willy (Jay Wright) watching their philandering mother (Gillian Gordon) getting it on with one of her various lovers. They get caught and her partner (Howard Grant) takes it out on the older Willy, cruelly tying him to his bed. Lacey waits till her mother and the jerk she’s with move their activities to the bedroom and cuts Willy free with a large kitchen knife. Willy then takes the knife and goes to his mom’s bedroom where the little boy carves up the man, while Lacey watches it reflected in a mirror on the wall. We then cut to 20 years later where Lacey (Suzanna Love) is grown up with a family of her own and still taking care of Willy (Nicholas Love), who hasn’t spoken since the incident. Lacey has her own mental scars and her husband Jake (Ron James), in an effort to free her of what haunts her, takes her back to her mom’s old house. Seeing the mirror again triggers a vision of the murdered man and she breaks it in a fear filled rage. Her husband takes the broken mirror back to their home…this guy’s a real therapist, isn’t he…where they soon discover the angry spirit of the murdered lover resides within the mirror and breaking it has set him free to kill anyone caught in the mirror’s glare!

Written and directed by Ulli Lommel this film has a few effective moments here and there, but is a slightly amateurish film with some very cheesy sequences…though that can be fun. The film combines a slasher flick, with victims being slain by the murderous spirit one by one in graphic ways, with a supernatural horror, as our killer is a ghost and eventually a priest is called in to try to stop him. The heavy Halloween influence is obvious with certain camera shots and the electronic score by Tim Krog, which evokes Carpenter’s scoring work, and the title itself referencing the legendary character as did the classic Carpenter thriller. The film does do it’s own thing, but Lommel really doesn’t generate much suspense and some of the kills are borderline silly and poorly executed. The most effective sequences are the opening flashback…the scene with young Willy being bound to his bed by their mother’s guest, who is wearing a stocking over his head, is very uncomfortable…and a surreal dream sequence where Lacey finds herself bound and gagged to a bed like Willy was, but with someone (Willy?) about to savage her with a kitchen knife. The overblown final confrontation with the malevolent spirit is also kinda fun, if not a little silly. The plot as a whole is a bit convoluted. The idea that Lacey’s husband would bring her to her old house so abruptly and then take the broken mirror home and put it up, is quite a stretch. The fact that shards wind up all over the place and that anyone caught in a shard’s glare is murdered, is a plot device that only serves to up the body count and it makes no sense that the dead man would kill random victims instead of focusing his rage on the family…was he a serial killer to begin with?… We never find out, not even his name. And since most of our victims are random, they evoke little emotional reaction from the audience as they are no one you really care about or particularly like. There are some funny scenes along the way, including some of the murders and I, even upon my recent revisit, have trouble deciding if they are intentional or not. But they are cheesy fun.

The cast are all fairly wooden. The pretty Suzanna Love (who was also Mrs. Lommel at the time) has a few moments here and there, but is otherwise a bit bland. Her best scenes are when acting with the boy playing her son (Raymond Boyden), so maybe the mommy thing suits her. She does have a girl-next-door beauty that definitely qualifies her as a MILF and that certainly gives her appeal. Nicholas Love (Suzanna’s real-life brother) basically does little but stand around looking distressed as Willy and Ron James is pretty wooden as Lacey’s husband Jake. The only person who performs with a little life is legendary actor John Carradine, in a small role, as Lacey’s psychiatrist Dr. Warren.

Overall, the nostalgia factors of both being a very early 80s style movie and having seen it with friends at the now long-gone Fox Theater in Hackensack, are far more effective than much of the movie itself. It has a few moments and the cheese factor can be entertaining, but as a serious attempt at horror it’s a bit goofy and has a slightly amateurish feel…though it does have it’s chills and Lommel creates some atmosphere in the flashback opening, dream sequences and the final confrontation climax. The cast are all fairly bland and the fact that we know little or nothing about the ghostly killer doesn’t help strengthen his character either. I still recommend this to anyone who is a fan of, or is discovering films of this era. It is fun, but just don’t quite expect the classic it is sometimes referred to as. The film was fairly successful and spawned two semi-sequels.

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) mirror shards.

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