Boogeyman probably wouldn’t scare me too much these days but to sheltered thirteen year old Nate in iMax back then this was fucking traumatizing. I haven’t seen it since and I might keep it that way because the raw nostalgia still kicks in whenever I see the poster in a streaming queue or the DVD in stores and I feel like if I revisited now, that magic would dissipate quickly.
So obviously the Boogeyman is real here and has chosen to terrorize a family seemingly at random, scarring a young boy for life by snatching his father away in the middle of the night in a chilling prologue. Flash forward years later and the boy grows up into a man played by onetime heartthrob Barry Watson, who I only remember from this and Ocean’s Eleven where he’s playing poker with Topher Grace and Brad Pitt. He decides to visit the old town and dilapidated house he grew up in to confront his fears and prove that it was all in his head, but of course it wasn’t and the boogeyman comes roaring back into his life to create all kinds of fresh hell.
I enjoyed the lack of backstory and explanation for this thing… he’s not some vengeful ghost with an origin montage in the third act, they just never even bother to say anything more than he’s simply a boogeyman thing, and there’s both power and potency in that. There are numerous effective jump scares from what I remember and some welcome turns from genre regulars Lucy Lawless, Emily Deschanel and Skye McCole Bartusiak. Like I said it’s been so long since I saw this, I only saw it once but let me tell you at that age it fucked me right up. Such would most likely not be the case now but oh well. I’ll hold onto the memory I have of seeing it theatrically.
I feel like Starz’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead doesn’t get enough love or praise. It was always going to be a tough task to update and fluidly continue a scrappy, deranged, hyperactive, genre pioneering classic from the early 80’s into contemporary long form storytelling, but damn they kind of nailed it. Raimi himself directs the first episode to kick the party into gear, and sets the stage for two knockout seasons of nostalgic bloody mayhem, new ideas and demons worked into the existing lore and more deftly written comedic dialogue than you can shake a boomstick at. This picks up decades after the original cabin massacre, which Ash has now himself been blamed for. That pesky necronomicon isn’t quite done with him though, and pretty soon he’s on an epic, gore laced quest to defeat evil with two awesome sidekicks, the sexy, fearless and spirited Kelly (Dana Delorenzo) and courageous, scrappy Pablo (Ray Santiago). Their adventures take them on countless endeavours, side-quests and tussles with every demon under the sun, and it’s the characters who ultimately make it worthwhile. Middle aged Ash is different from the jittery youngster of Evil Dead and even the reluctant avenger he became in Army Of Darkness. He’s kind of a goof, but a goof who gets shit done in the end and lives to swill a beer and tell a grossly exaggerated tale about it. There are some truly inventive monsters, demons and deadites on display here too, from your garden variety howling, decayed possesses corpse to full on legendary denizens right out of the bible, a haunted car in a cool shout out to John Carpenter’s Christine, a possessed cadaver that literally shits and pisses all over a very uncomfortable Ash as the deadite inside takes liberties with it’s bodily functions, and all kinds of other stuff including an an evil Ash hand puppet that has to be seen to be believed. Other great supporting turns come from Lucy ‘Xena’ Lawless as an immortal badass demon hunter, Ted Raimi as Ash’s ketamine guzzling high school chum, Lee Majors as his ladies man of a father and more. I’ve only seen the first two seasons so far, but I’ve got nothing but great things to say about this show. It’s consistent with the tone and feel of Raimi’s original classic horror trilogy while building upon everything he did to blast new pathways into the Ash legacy. Punishingly, rewardingly gory, spectacularly hilarious at every turn, filled with loving references, deadites galore, this one is a keeper.