The Boneyard

The Boneyard

To avoid fainting, keep repeating it's only a poodle, it's only a poodle… Entertaining low-budget horror film circa 1991 in which a couple of policemen, aging detective (Ed Nelson) and his young partner (Jim Eustermann), seek help from a retired, burnt-out overweight psychic (Deborah Rose) in the investigation of a mortician who claims to have been feeding parts of corpses to three dead children he has kept locked away at his Mortuary. Seems he's been compelled to do so because of a sense of duty and a family curse. Investigating the scene of the crime, the three go down to the morgue to try to identify the three dead children. Once there, they encounter a pair of oddball coroners (Phyllis Diller and Norman Fell [Three's Company]) and in no time the guano hits the air conditioning. Seems the three kids have now turned into angry flesh eating zombies and trapped inside the morgue as the zombie children wreak havoc, whilst this disparate group of people have to try to escape this living dead nightmare...

The Boneyard has its share of guilty pleasures, though never quite equals the sum of its better, more inventive parts. The acting is passable, Deborah Rose hits the right notes, lending some emotional weight to a character haunted by the crimes she has helped solve in the past and plagued by memories of dead children, whilst Phyllis Diller amuses in the role of Miss Poopinplatz, the desk clerk at the morgue and owner of the aforementioned poodle. James Cummins' helming is capable enough, the orchestral score atmospheric, and although the special effects are pretty poor, the characters are genuinely quirky and the plotting has some eclectic turns that put one in mind of Peter Jackson's Braindead -- not too many movies can boast zombies, splatter, Phyllis Diller, a fat psychic, and a gigantic zombie poodle - for which this is worth the price alone. Don't take The Boneyard seriously, don't think about it too closely, just sit back, crack open a beer, dig in and enjoy. If you've a tolerance for B-movies, you might want to try it out.

The Boneyard is presented in a mediocre 1.33:1 full frame version. The shoddy transfer is marred by grain, dirt, and is overly dark. Colours are muddy, fleshtones look sickly, and black levels are closer to grey. Poor.

The audio is flat, uninspired, insipid hi-fi stereo 2.0 English. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles can be found on the disc.

The Boneyard features its fair share of extra materials, however as is so often the case, the film loses some of them on its journey across the Atlantic. The Region 1 is chock full of extras and features an engaging commentary track by writer/director James Cummins and producer Richard F. Brophy. The Region 2 does not. A poor show. The fairly interesting missing Region 1 talk-through covers a lot of ground ranging across all the aspects of the making of the film from how Ms. Diller became involved in the project, to the fact that a local Minister actually played the main ghoul of the film and plenty in-between. Also MIA from the US Program Power release are a short gallery of behind-the-scenes still images from the production and many extra DVD-ROM features, including the original script, newspaper clippings, and some crew and cast info.

Moving from what is absent to what is present. We kick off with the awful theatrical trailer for the film. Do NOT watch this before the movie as it blows everything including the end. Whoever cut this together has a career in garbage collection awaiting them. There follows a trio of separate interviews featuring Phyllis Diller who serves up anecdotes from the making of the film, including how she got involved with the movie and even reveals that The Boneyard is the only film in which she appears with her own hair (she usually wears a wig), and also ruminates on her career, her life and history. Director James Cummins covers his first meeting with Ms.Diller, movie anecdotes, his past and some of the films that influenced him, while producer Richard F. Brophy tends more towards the business aspects of the production.

Finally, we get a collection of trailers for other Hardgore releases including Turkey Shoot, Aquanoids, Intruder, Maniacal, , Thirst, Strange Behaviour, Patrick, The Attendant, Buchered, Creepozoids, The Cannibal Dead, Nightmares Come at Night, Demonium, Nutbag, Aenigma, Red Monks (I Frati Rossi), Reign in Darkness, Deep Rover Savages, Last CannibalWorld (Ultimo Mondo Cannibale), Dead Creatures, Faces of Death II, I Spit on Your Grave, Hunted, Don't Mess With My Sister and Asian prison flick Bangkok Hell. Annoyingly, the trailers for Nightmare(s in a Damaged Brain) and Fulci's Un Gatto nel Cervello/Cat in the Brain are conspicuous by their absence despite the promo poster being included in the gallery that serves as a menu for this section.

When I vaguely recalled watching this little seen picture at about 3am during one of the Black Sunday/Shock Around the Clock festivals of yesteryear, and I can remember enjoying it considerably at the time (I think). It's good to see Hard Gore releasing obscure flicks like this. The Boneyard is an agreeable, underrated little zombie film that has a little charm and a sense of humour, and is a decent time-waster. I quite enjoyed watching it again. Recommended to devotees of B-moviemaking and no budget indie horror. Just keep repeating: It's only a poodle, only a poodle...

Review by Doc Obrero

Released by Hardgore
Region All PAL
Rated 18
Extras : see main review