B Movie Challenge: The Bone yard

Something dogs me about this movie. You might say I have a bone or two to pick (okay, okay, no more bad jokes. It was a grave mistake on my part). My main issue is grounded in the fact not many people have seen this chaotic, exciting, and confusing horror comedy from the 80s. In an era when Ghostbusters,  An American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn are constantly whistled at by film critics of proper ways to handle the mix of dread and yuck it shocks me that they forget the movie with zombie children running amuck in a morgue with a monster poodle and a wigless Phyllis Siller (maybe the dog buried it in the backyard?).

Anybody who has ever written a story that mixed these two emotions understands whole-heatedly (inside their chest cavity) what the response will always be: It’s too funny to be scary, or it’s too scary to be funny (ha-ha, eek-eek). It has always been a hard genre to sell, but when it works it’s the best. The Bone Yard is a sneaky little squicky-shrieky I feel only true horror hounds, who dug this VHS from the backyard of the local Ma and Pa video stores, can appreciate it with sadistic glee. The main difference between the thin line of a bad movie and a B movie (with a heart) is how the cast takes the material. Everyone in this movie gives a 114%, from the lead actress Debrah Rose (Ski Patrol) as a convincing cleric there to help find the child killer to legendary character actor Ed Nelson (Peyton Place, Police Academy 3: Back in Training) as the chief of police trying to solve the mysterious case, the fun vs. the seriousness was on the page and in the actor’s talents.  Of course, any movie with a legend like Phillyis Diller, corpse-eating mystic zombie children (out of the mouth of babes), and a giant six-foot tall schnauzer can make me laugh, scared, cry, confused, bewildered, behooved, etc., etc., etc…

Alley Oates has a “Dead Zone” ability and was a strong help to the police department until her life took a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, criminals who are killing young children haven’t gotten the memo and still cause some mischief. Detective Cullum tries his best, but he gives Oates a try. Hoping she might be able to help. Going against her better judgment (especially after a nice little dream with a decayed child hugging her) they travel to a local morgue for OPates to do her thing. However, the one doing the killings added a little ancient Asian curse upon the dead children and they come back to life, eating the morticians and anyone else who will get in their way (talk about a rough night shift)! Chaos ensues until a small group of survivors band together, but will they all make it (♫help me make it through the night♫)

Uprooting at a girthy 93 minutes, and directed by James Cummins (who worked as a special effects artist on Jaws 3-D, House, and Enemy Mine to name a few), the film also had a funny cameo by Norman Fell of Three’s Company fame as a hippie mortician with a seething headache. Although not released well when it came out (resulting in dirt cheap box office) it made the film very hard to come buy unless you shovel around some online sites. So arm yourself with a (funny)bone saw, bite down hard on a chew toy (at least it cleans your teeth), and circle yourself on the couch for a funny, yet scary, trip down late-night frights (would that be called a fairy or a sunny?)!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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