These two will bring back some fond memories for a lot of you. Premiering as part of the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color during it’s 30th season, it really made an impact on me as a kid. Mr. Boogedy is about the Davis family who moves into the delightful little town of Lucifer Falls and into their new home. Upon their arrival, they are greeted by the spooky realtor Neil Whitherspoon (John Astin, The Addams Family, The Frighteners) who tries to warn them that the house is haunted. But head of the house Carleton (Richard Masur from John Carpenter’s The Thing, Stephen King’s It) is the owner of the novelty store Gag City and feels a trick is getting played on his family. You can’t trick a trickster! But things get too strange and the kids start doing some investigating to find out what’s going on and they come face to face with the evil Mr. Boogedy!
Clocking in a little under an hour, it’s quick story that doesn’t really have any boring moments in it, but if you’re not a fan of 80’s made for tv films you’re probably going to hate this. It’s not really scary at all but it worked for me as a kid having watched Ghostbusters and Gremlins 100’s of times. Masur’s goofy dad is endearing, especially how his sons Corwin (David Faustino, who’d go on to Married with Children) and R.E. (Benji Gregory, who went on to play Brian Tanner on ALF) adore him and emulate his pranking style. This all happens much to the chagrin of mom Eloise (Mimi Kennedy, Dharma & Greg) and older sister Jennifer (Kirsty Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). But this is a Disney film, so you can tell they all love each other.
So anyways, Mr. Boogedy scares Jennifer one night and Carleton runs to see what is happening, only to find green footprints stuck on the wall. Instead of listening to his kids warn him of Mr. Boogedy, he finds the footprints are easily adhesive and thinks it’d make a great gag gift as he attaches them to his own body and claims Mr. B trampled on him. The kids realizing their dad isn’t going to be of service with this issue, go out to Lucifer Fall’s historical society to research the story of Mr. Boogedy (this is pre-internet). They find out Mr. Witherspoon is also the town clerk, and he pulls out a book of town history to tell them the story. It turns out it’s a pop-up book (yes, this is the 80’s) and begins to tell them the history of Mr. Boogedy. The re-creation of the town history is done with live actors on sets that resemble that of the pop-up book’s artwork, which I thought was a nice touch. The story of Lucifer Fall’s settlement by pilgrims is told, and they learn of the evil William Hanover (TV actor Howard Witt) who was in love with the beautiful widow Marian (Katherine Kelly Lang, The Young and the Restless, Evilspeak). The nefarious Hanover (whom the children called Mr. Boogedy) makes a deal with the Devil for a magical cloak and kidnaps Marian’s son Johnathan in order to coerce her into marriage. However, during the proceedings,, the idiot casts his first spell and ends up blowing up his own house and casting the three of them into a ghostly purgatory.
The Davis family then bands together using their Gag City line of products in order to defeat Mr. Boogedy and reunite Marian with her son Johnathan who have been separated for over 300 years. It’s a entertaining little film that still entertains me to this day. I DVR’ed it off FearNet yesterday afternoon and watched it this morning for the first time since the late 80’s. I was amazed at how much I remembered from it and the memories it brought back. Mr. Boogedy kinda sucks as a villain, but it’s a Disney show so I won’t hold that against it. The performances are fun and it moves at a fast pace. The genre stars in the cast are a nice touch and the “before they were famous” Dave Faustino and Kirsty Swanson are fun to watch as the kids. Director Oz Scott previously had worked on Bustin Loose, so he had experience with comedy which helps with the light tone they are going for here. Mr. Boogedy since went on to become a fan favorite that unfortunately has been lost in time, other than out of print VHS tapes.
It’s popularity after it’s airing gave us the sequel Bride of Boogedy!
The sequel starts off with the Davis family enjoying their now non-haunted new digs. Unfortunately for them, Mr. Boogedy is not finished with them! Jennifer (now played by Tammy Lauren, Wishmaster) is on her way home when she is accosted by him. She runs home and tries to convince her mom and dad that Mr. Boogedy is back but he is even more retarded in this one and doesn’t listen to her. The parents didn’t learn anything from their last outing with the villain, but given they defeated him with a vacuum cleaner, I probably wouldn’t take that guy seriously either.
Between the family drama, it turns out Carleton Davis is now mayor of the town and is involved in a power struggle with townsperson Tom Lynch (Eugene Levy, American Pie, Heavy Metal) over what to do with the town’s annual Halloween carnival. Eventually it’s decided it will be held in the town square. The kids are still concerned Boogedy is coming but nobody is listening to them until he takes over their father’s body and makes mom dress up as the widow Marian. He possesses Carleton after Tom Lynch blows up the power line Carleton is talking on during a fake seance. The explosion causes a green burst of light to explode the statue of Boogedy’s grave and release his evil spirit to take over! Eventually Boogedy gets the cloak back, but luckily for the family their Gag City friend Elmer (Ray Girardin Law & Order) comes in dressed as a gorilla which causes Carleton to burst out in laughter and his evil Boogedy powers are turned to good and cause flowers to sprout all over the house while the family looks on like a bunch of assholes laughing and clapping their hands. The whole thing has turned into self-parody at this point and I thought about not finishing it. However, I trudged on.
The evil spirit then of course takes over Tom Lynch and he goes out and causes a ruckus on the town festival by causing all the wax figures to come to life and descend on the towns people. But they are all so stupid they don’t really notice and the situation never resolves itself. We then skip on as Boogedy takes the mom as his awfully unwedded bride. The family then conducts a real seance to talk to their ghost friend Johnathan for help and they bring back the real Marian, who gives them a way to lock Boogedy back in his grave.
If you cant tell, I didn’t like this one. The original Mr. Boogedy was silly fun but the writing wasn’t bad for a TV kid’s movie, and at a 1 hour run time it doesn’t over stay it’s welcome. They expanded the run time on the sequel to two hours, which makes it seem much longer than it actually is due to the poor writing. The things that made the David family endearing in the first is left out, and therefore makes them very annoying in this one. I was painfully embarrassed while watching this and thinking that it was something that I used to like as a kid. It is no wonder that they never made anymore Boogedy flicks after this. Series writer Micheal Janover (The Philadelphia Experiment) was phoning it in with this one, and it was to be his last writing job. There is a nice cameo by character actor Vincent Shiavelli (Lord of Illusions, Ghost) as a guy named Lazarus who has no character arc.
I get that it’s a kid’s movie and perhaps I’m being too harsh on it, but this one didn’t work for me. It has some fun moments in it but over all it’s a huge dud. There was so much more they could have done with it but the light hearted yuk yuk yuk tone keeps the story from reaching it’s true potential; nothing is taken seriously so there is no reason to resolve any story issues.
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