tek's rating: ½

Mr. Boogedy, on ABC
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Caution: spoilers.

This first aired in 1986 on "The Disney Sunday Movie." I probably saw it at the time, but I never remembered it very well, and always wanted to see it again. Then in 2015, it was finally released on DVD, exclusive to the Disney Movie Club (as a double feature with the 1987 sequel, Bride of Boogedy). So I was pretty excited to get the DVD, which I watched on the first Sunday of October, as part of my month-long celebration of Halloween. (If you're not a member of the club, you could at least watch the movie on Amazon Video.) I was a bit surprised to find that the movie is only 45 minutes long, and Mr. Boogedy doesn't even show up til the end. Still, it was fun, in a campy way. (There's nothing genuinely scary about it, and the humor is so corny it's redonkulous.) Mostly I enjoyed it for the sake of nostalgia, and because... redonkulous movies can be fun. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the cast were actually familiar to me from other things... I thought it was particularly cool that Kristy Swanson was in it, because she would later star in the original movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and this seemed like kind of a good warm-up for that. I guess. The cast also includes Richard Masur (whom I mainly know from the My Girl movies), and Mimi Kennedy (whom I mainly know from Dharma & Greg), and Benji Gregory (whom I know from ALF), as well as John Astin and David Faustino.

Anyway, it's about this family, the Davises, who move to a small town in New England, called Lucifer Falls. (Great name, that.) The father, Carleton Davis (Masur), runs a joke shop, and has a very corny sense of humor, which is shared by his two young sons, Corwin (Faustino) and R.E. (Gregory). Their sense of humor is definitely not shared by Carleton's teenage daughter, Jennifer (Swanson), and at first I was unsure about his wife, Eloise (Kennedy), but eventually it turns out that she actually does have the same sense of humor. Anyway... like I said, they've just moved to this new town, and the parents are excited to be moving into a real house for the first time. However, Jennifer is upset, because she'd rather still be living in the city. (I have no idea what city they're from, but it's not really important.) Things get worse when they actually see the house. Carleton is happy that it's a "fixer-upper," but everyone else is upset because it's kind of spooky. And when the go inside, they are greeted by a very weird realtor, Neil Witherspoon (Astin). He warns them that the house is haunted, but Carleton thinks he's joking.

Over the next few nights, the kids hear strange noises, and strange things happen. But these things are all easily dismissed, particularly since some of the occurrences are actually practical jokes played by Carleton and/or Eloise, so they assume anything they're not responsible for, the kids must be doing. But the kids know the place is really haunted, so they go to the historical society, which turns out to be run by Mr. Witherspoon, who tells them the story about this guy named William Hanover, who had lived there 300 years ago, in colonial times. He liked scaring children by shouting "boogedy boogedy boo!" at them (hence their calling him "Mr. Boogedy"), and basically nobody in town liked him, because he had no sense of humor. (Which I'd say makes the Davises the worst possible family to live in his house. But then, Mr. Boogedy makes good use of their gag props, to scare them.) And... I don't want to reveal the whole story, but it leads to himself and two other people (a woman named Marion and her son, Jonathan) becoming ghosts. And later, after the kids have gone home and told the story to their parents, Eloise meets Marion, and Corwin and R.E. meet Jonathan. And once the whole family believes in ghosts, they realize they have to help the mother and son by getting rid of Mr. Boogedy. Of course, once he finally shows up, he doesn't make that easy. (Actually, Jennifer had seen him once before, but no one else in her family- or the audience- saw him until the final five minutes or so.) Still, they do ultimately defeat him, in a redonkulous way that I won't spoil... except to say it kind of seemed to me like Mr. Boogedy accidentally defeated himself. (Though the movie does hint that he may not be gone for good.)

Anyway... as I said, I don't think he was really scary (though he might be for really young viewers; I can't remember whether or not I found him scary when I first saw this as a kid, but i doubt it). Actually... I can't say anything in the movie really rang any bells for me (other than Mr. Boogedy's catch phrase), which is understandable since it was such a long time ago that I saw it. But it's possible I didn't see it. I'm sure I saw at least one of the "Boogedy" movies; I might have seen them both, or maybe just this one, or maybe just the sequel. I wish I could remember. But that's not important. I don't know what else to say, but um... I'd probably like the movie less if I were definitely seeing it for the first time now, with no expectations or (vague) sense of nostalgia. Then again... I might still enjoy it, just for the campiness.

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