A child’s imagination can have a positive and negative effect in the growing up process. At it’s best, it would allow you to create alternative worlds, stories and games with your friends/ or imaginery ones. Things didn’t need to be logical or make sense as you could leave that to the grownups. However at it’s worst, a child’s imagination could conjure some of the most horrendous manifestations within dreams or when the lights turned off a bedtime.
I suffered from recurring bad dreams, on a nightly basis, from ages four to six, these were fuelled by three pieces of furniture in my house. The oval mirror in the hall, my bed (or what lurked below it) and the screaming witch that lived in my cupboard. As I grew up these nightmares and fears relented as my imagination reduced in magnitude.
Gerard Lough’s take on the the Stephen King short story, The Boogeyman explores what happens when an adult tranfers his own fears, weaknesses and demons on his children and destroys them in the process.
The story focuses on a guilty and burnt out father, Andrew (Simon Fogarty) and how he attempts to regain some comfort or redemption by sharing his chilling story, regards the death of his three children, with a psychiatrist (Michael Parle). Andrew explains how he was unable to protect his children from the clutches of a demon he calls ‘The Boogeyman’. At one point he confronts it during it’s attempts to murder his third child but due to fear he leaves the room and is unable to offer protection. The psychiatrist does not need to say anything but Andrew shouts and curses at him that he is not believing his story -noone does.
Sources state that Lough constructed his short film on a budget of around £3000. If the latter is indeed true then he spent his budget wisely because production values, acting and effects are all very solid. The opening credits sequence makes use of an inventive and unsettling blurred effect while the director picks out strange angles and objects (i.e. child’s snow globe) to film from.
As with the very best horror movies, the monster is never in full view but has a suitably evil presence throughout the short running time. In one clever scene it appears to shoot off at rapid speed after killing one of the children.
Although I won’t own up to being on the edge of my seat with the movie, it did leave me unsettled. It has a similar downbeat and queasy atmosphere as some of the 70’s/80’s shockers like The Incubus (1981) and Patrick (1978). Both used suggestion rather than full on gore to repel their audience. A fine effort that excels in the visual department.