By MICHAEL GINGOLD
The creator of the cult ’80s horror film THE BOOGEY MAN has passed on, and RUE MORGUE received some reminiscences from one of his friends and collaborators.
Ulli Lommel died yesterday of a heart attack at age 72. Part of the New German Cinema movement, he acted and served various crew positions on a number of films in that country with celebrated auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and first ventured into the horror genre as a director with 1973’S TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES, produced by Fassbinder and written by and starring Kurt Raab as real-life cannibalistic serial killer Fritz Haarman. After traveling to the U.S. and hooking up with Andy Warhol, who starred in his movies COCAINE COWBOYS (1979) and BLANK GENERATION (1980), Lommel made his breakout feature THE BOOGEY MAN (1980). Putting a supernatural spin on the then red-hot slasher genre, the film was one of a trio of horror hits that year for its distributor, The Jerry Gross Organization (along with Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE and Meir Zarchi’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE).
Lommel went on to make a string of horror and thriller features, all (like BOOGEY MAN) starring his wife Suzanna Love: the underrated BRAINWAVES (1982), THE DEVONSVILLE TERROR (1983) and A TASTE OF SIN, a.k.a. OLIVIA (1983). He produced, co-wrote and starred opposite Love in the meta sequel BOOGEYMAN II (1983), directed by Bruce Starr. After taking a break from fright fare for a while, he came back with RETURN OF THE BOOGEYMAN (1994), and harked back to his roots with a string of low-budget scare features based on actual murderers, including ZODIAC KILLER (2005), B.T.K. KILLER (2005), GREEN RIVER KILLER (2005), BLACK DAHLIA (2006), CURSE OF THE ZODIAC (2007), DUNGEON GIRL (2008), SON OF SAM (2008), BASELINE KILLER (2008), NIGHTSTALKER (2009) and D.C. SNIPER (2010).
Recently, he directed and co-scripted the last entry in his most popular franchise, initially titled BOOGEYMAN: REINCARNATION; also part of the writing team was David Bond, who tells us, “Ulli was one of those directors who was very polarizing in our genre, always searching for his past glory. He was a warm and generous man, always willing to teach and impart his knowledge to the generations that came after him. He was a filmmaker who truly lived as a filmmaker, and his adventures with Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, Klaus Kinski and the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder are the stuff of legends. Andy called him ‘the German cowboy,’ but he was still Old Hollywood. He kickstarted the careers of [cinematographer] Michael Ballhaus and many others.
“After years of friendship,” Bond continues, “he asked me to co-write BOOGEYMAN: RESURRECTION, and I came on board as a producer as well. I spent almost eight months developing the project with him. The last I heard, the film underwent reshoots in Germany and Brazil, and was being converted for television by its producers [it’s now being sold as a series entitled BOOGEYMAN CHRONICLES]. In the last few years, we have not been as close, but I miss him so much. He was truly an amazing man who lived an amazing life.”