Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dare To Enter. Try To Leave.

If you're tired of seeing pretty teenagers getting killed in cheap horror movies, this movie just might be for you. If you're the type of horror fan who would get a big kick out of an animatronic 8-foot Phyllis Diller zombie, this one is definitely for you.

THE BONEYARD may or may not have played theatrically upon its 1991 release, but video is likely where almost everyone who has seen it. Potential viewers who have been scared off by its cast of LOVE BOAT guest stars or its silly video box art (which gives away the big surprise) are missing out on a real sleeper. Played decidedly with its tongue lodged deeply in its cheek, THE BONEYARD takes awhile to get going, but it really cooks once it does.

An overweight psychic (Deborah Rose), two cops (one played by top-billed Ed Nelson, a perennial TV guest star and SF-film actor going back to the 1950s), a hippie mortician (Norman Fell in a ponytail!), a young woman who attempted suicide, and Phyllis Diller (sans fright wig) are trapped in the basement of a rundown soon-to-be-demolished morgue, where they are chased by three zombie children. The kids were victims of an Asian serial killer who stripped them and stored them in his basement, where he fed them chunks of human flesh.

Don't worry about the plot making sense. Just enjoy the movie's energy and irreverence, particularly in its choice of monsters. The zombie makeup is outstanding and quite possibly the creepiest looking makeup you've ever seen in a movie nobody has heard of. The actors wearing it, be they little people or actual children, do a great job selling it too. Same goes for the larger monsters that arise near the end. It will be obvious by then that THE BONEYARD is not to be taken completely seriously, though the goofy monsters shouldn't come as a surprise if you've been paying attention. Old pro Nelson as a cop named Jersey Callum (a role originally intended for Clu Gulager, who also would have been great) finds just the perfect thickness of ham to match director James Cummins' screenplay, making this North Carolina creature feature a fun flick.

Hey, when you're the leading man, you've gotta play it up a bit if you don't want to get out-acted by Zombie Phyllis Diller.

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