Ulli Lommel made an interesting career transition from actor/director in R.W. Fassbinder’s orbit, notably making The Tenderness of Wolves (1973), to US-based indie horror filmmaker, with The Boogeyman (1980), which was a big enough hit to give him some momentum, which petered out after a few video era ubiquities (Olivia/Double Jeopardy, The Devonsville Terror) … but, under the radar, he kept making movies until his death in 2017, turning out dozens of titles that have barely registered, making him as much a peer of Ray Dennis Steckler as Fassbinder.
That his first feature was a true-life serial killer film seems to have set him on a path turning out trashy tabloid pics like Son of Sam, Manson Family Cult, BTK Killer, Killer Pickton (based on the case that inspired Chad Ferrin’s Pig Killer), Ulli Lommel’s Zodiac Killer and more. And he also did a raft of horrors – The Tomb, Zombie Nation, Alien X Factor – many of which are add-ons to The Boogeyman (at least three different projects are Boogeyman 2, which makes it slightly funny that there doesn’t seem to be a Boogeyman 3 (unless Return of the Boogeyman counts) but there is this, Boogey Vampire Club 4, which includes some shots from The Boogey Man in its many dream/fantasy montages, which heavily feature newsreel clips of Marilyn Monroe and zoomed-in-like-a-hotel-cable-version footage from a 1990s porn movie with Tori Welles (not the vampire-themed Out for Blood, though). It’s also possibly funny that the clips from the X video look to have a higher budget and more polished filmmaking than the rest of the movie, which isn’t strictly a horror film – indeed, it isn’t strictly anything.
Teenagers Michelle (Michelle Bonfils) and Peter (Peter Sean) lounge around on Hollywood Blvd, on the fringes of various lowlife scenes. Inspired by Vlad Dracula (Rayder Woods), with whom she chats in odd out-of-time scenes that might have been added late in the shoot to explain what was going on, Michelle signs the duo up for a school run by good vampire Angelo (Lommel), who renames them Darling Dead and Dr Ghoul and puts them on the waiting list to become immortal and undead. Michelle dreams of being around in 2949, signified by a borrowed shot of a spaceship, but after various disappointments decides not to become a vampire but instead to ask Angelo – who has an evil twin brother called Santano (also Lommel) – to officiate at their wedding, scored to ‘Ave Maria’. Another couple have parallel but less satisfying experiences on the street and around the vampire school, but narrative isn’t really the film’s strong point – we get plenty of non sequitur speeches (George ‘Buck’ Flower drops in to reminisce a bit), over-edited and optically tinkered-with news and actuality footage (plus, you know, smut), jokes that don’t land, and music video-style ambiance speckled with stars and flares and distortion.
Pretty much an ordeal, with occasional flashes of interest (Bonfils has something like a personality). Less painful than most late-career Jesus Franco pictures, though. I guess someone will have to do a study of Lommel’s career eventually and watch all 66 of his films as director, but it won’t be me.