it isn’t exactly clear what transpired behind the scenes, Mr. Boogedy was, at one point, meant to be a pilot for a TV show
And as we will see when looking at this movie is meant to be a horror parody though Disney had asked the writer to tone down the horror elements.
Mr. Boogedy writer Michael Janover said that the original pitch for the movie was a comedy named Cheap Thrills, an Airplane! Style parody of horror movies á la Scary Movie that was to be made by Columbia Pictures and star comedy duo Cheech & Chong.
Cheech and Chong being in this would’ve certainly been different than what the movie ended up being.
With that outta the way, let’s begin.
Me at the end of this thing. This was weird. Okay for some setup, Mr. Boogedy is a haunted house/ghost story that follows a new family as they move into their new house in New England. And yeah, the first time you see the house, you can tell it’s haunted. Of course, the presence of John Astin does sell this idea as well. I guess if you’re making something spooky, Gomez Addams had to be in it.
We find out the house is haunted as the eldest child Jennifer had been hearing sneezing and assumed that it was a ghost. Which it was and her two brothers don’t believe her until they see their toaster move on its own.
And this is where we get to the most annoying part, the kids learn the truth of Mr. Boogedy from John Astin and yeah, let it sink in pilgrims named this town Pilgrim Falls.
Mr. Witherspoon. Amused by the children’s curiosity, he produces an old pop-up book and tells them the tale of William Hanover, a grouchy old pilgrim man who fell in love with the lovely widow Marion 300 years ago. Marion did not reciprocate his feelings, so Hanover struck a deal with the Devil selling his soul for a magic cloak which granted him mystical powers. He kidnapped Marion’s son Jonathan and, casting his first spell, accidentally destroyed his own house
This section had a quaint charm, even if the devil looked like something the bots would riff on MST3K.
Jennifer and her brothers tell their parents but their dad keeps trying to play pranks as he runs a gag store and that is his whole character. It gets old fast. Oh, and when it’s revealed that Boogedy is real, his family wants to leave the house but he convinces him to stay. No, this is when you get in the car and leave.
Boogedy finally shows up with seven minutes left in this thing and his attacks are impressive but man, it does get old that the only thing he can say is Boogedy Boo.
The youngest child defeats Mr. Boogedy by sucking off his magic cloak that gives him all his power using a vacuum cleaner that the parents used earlier to prank their children. There are some fun moments when he attacks such as this. Oh and the daughter is played by a young Kristy Swanson.
In all, this is fun. A little dumb but fun and I could see the idea of tv show maybe have worked if this was the pilot for an anthology series a la Are You Afraid of the Dark. I say that as there was a rather eerie shot of Jennifer going down the hallway that gave off that sense. However, the humor is more akin to a lesser Goosebumps novel.
The characters don’t get a whole lot to do as characters as they are meant to serve the story and that doesn’t allow for much growth or development. Only having a 45-minute runtime didn’t help in that regard either.
My Final Thoughts
It’s fine, I don’t think I’ll ever return to this but I could see how someone that grew up watching this could view it as a fun Halloween staple but it’s not one that did a lot for me. We aren’t done with Mr. Boogedy as in 1987, this thing got an hour-and-a-half sequel. Join me as we look at…
Bride of Boogedy