The Boneyard (1991)

Director: James Cummins

Starring: Ed Nelson, Deborah Rose, Norman Fell, Phyllis Diller

“The bodies… the bodies we saw? They’re not dead.” (Alley, The Boneyard)

This one’s a little off the wall. Alley Cates (Rose) is a psychic who’s been asked by the police to help them figure out what’s happened to three young children whose naked, rotting bodies have been found. When she gets to the morgue (which, conveniently, is underground and difficulty to leave quickly) she realises that the ‘children’ are actually zombies who were afflicted with an ancient Chinese curse and are ready to wake up and munch on some human.

A freshly-woken Cher reaches for her makeup case

Typically the morgue’s exit is blocked, trapping Alley, an experienced police chief, his young deputy, a mortician and a suicidal young woman who was pretending to be a corpse. As you do. They need to figure out a way to get out of the morgue while also killing the three zombie children and any other monsters that turn up. And trust me, they do. 

The first 25 minutes of The Boneyard are among the most boring I’ve seen in a while. Literally all that happens during this period is the police chief asking the psychic to come and have a look at the bodies, but for some reason this is strung out to nearly half an hour of needless chat about their past that it’s impossible to give a shit about. If you were to switch the film off during this section, I wouldn’t blame you for a second.

"I'm terribly sorry Miss Groupie, but I assure you I'm not Meatloaf"

Stick with it though, because once they get down into the morgue The Boneyard becomes a fantastic, hilarious film. The zombie child monsters are funny to watch, their bizarre little zombie bodysuits dripping with green ooze and gore. The dialogue is delightfully bad, the ‘chemistry’ between the rookie cop and the young suicidal lass is GCSE-level at best, the closing credits features one of the cheesiest ’80s rock ballads you’ll ever hear (despite this being a ’90s film) and there’s a genuine laugh-out-loud moment later in the film where 74-year-old Phyllis Diller calls Alley a “fat bitch”.

On one side: a 270lb beefcake known for beating people to within an inch of their lives. On the other side: Greg Valentine

Speaking of which, there’s no denying that the heroine of this film could only be described as unconventionally-sized. While it’s nice to see a female star in a horror movie that isn’t just there to provide eye candy for once, perhaps it would have been slightly less off-putting if the casting director hadn’t chosen a woman who looks exactly like former WWF star Greg The Hammer Valentine. Check the comparison above if you’re doubtful, then imagine how distracting it would be to watch the whole film after coming to that conclusion.

Despite the crushingly slow start and the casting of a female lead who looks like a 270-pound ’80s wrestler, The Boneyard‘s back half more than makes up for it. When things get progressively worse and more monsters emerge, including the largest killer poodle you’ve ever seen (seriously), you can sit back at the end satisfied you’ve seen something that was, if you’ll pardon the expression, a bit mental.

The Boneyard is out of print in the UK but you can get the German DVD (which is still in full English) through Amazon fairly cheaply by clicking here. Americans have an easier route to it and can get it from Amazon US right here. Alternatively, if you’re a LOVEFiLM subscriber it’s currently available streaming for free as part of the subscription, and if you take two seconds to look on YouTube you can find the legally dubious full film on there too but I won’t link to it just in case.

If you enjoyed this review and would like to read more, here’s a complete list of reviews on That Was A Bit Mental.

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