Plot: Jersey (Ed Nelson) is a grizzled veteran of murder cases, but his latest assignment is a rough one, even for him. A trio of children have been killed, in brutal fashion no less and he has to figure out what happened. In a tight spot for leads, he reaches out to a psychic Alley (Deborah Rose) and while she is hesitant to go back into the darkness of such cases, she agrees to help. Soon Jersey, Alley, and a deputy head to the morgue, to examine the bodies and see if the morticians there have been able to come up with any information. As it turns out, the morgue is home to things even more bizarre than crazy old Miss Poopinplatz (Phyllis Diller), as those dead kids have risen back to life as zombies, thanks to an ancient Chinese secret. As if zombie youngsters weren’t enough of a problem, there are other dead people returning to life and a mysterious ooze is causing some real problems as well. Can Jersey and his friends somehow neutralize this mystical menace and survive this hellish morgue visit?
Entertainment Value: This movie features Phyllis Diller, zombie children, and a mutant poodle, which should be enough to sell most genre fans. The poodle helped The Boneyard have one of the more memorable covers at the time, which given the era, was no small compliment. The movie is over the top and filled with silliness, but the humor works and the zaniness is one of the biggest draws here, as The Boneyard is a wild and unpredictable horror experience. Of course, if you don’t appreciate outlandish humor in your horror cinema, then you might be let down, but I think this is a super fun movie with tons of great moments. The pace is fast and between the wacky humor and outlandish horror elements, the movie never feels drawn out or padded out, not in the least. The cast is colorful and a lot of fun, with Diller in an unforgettable role that she really makes the most of, while Norman Fell, Ed Nelson, and Deborah Rose also have prominent roles here. The Boneyard has humor, gore, creatures, a wild cast, and a manic tone, I think it is a fun movie with a lot of replay value, so for fans of over the top horror cinema, this one is easily recommended.
No nakedness. I know, you hoped Diller would strip down and she does remove her wig, but she keeps her clothes on. But while the sleaze is low, the movie is generous with the bloodshed and throws a lot of crimson around. The narrative centers on zombie kids and so we have the expected attacks from the undead youth, including one scene with a lot of scooping, eating, and dripping involved. The zombies look cool, the dead girl looks cool, and the movie has some terrific creature creations. Diller transforms into this hideous monster that has to be seen to be believed, while her beloved dog turns into this mutant poodle that steals the show. I mean, a giant, mutant poodle fights a psychic in the finale, what else could you want? The effects throughout The Boneyard are frequent and look quite good, all things considered. The dialogue is ridiculous, whether it is serious, but comes off as ludicrous or just off the wall on purpose. The sense of humor is a wild one, so it leads to some terrific exchanges and for the most part, the cast embraces that tone and runs with it. On the craziness scale, we have Phyllis Diller on a rampage, Normal Fell with an epic ponytail, a mutant poodle, zombie children, colorful dialogue, and seriously, a mutant poodle. That’s worth some points.
Overall Insanity: 8/10
The Disc: 88 Films released this one with a new HD restoration from the original negative, which results in an impressive presentation. The visuals are clean and show little signs of the tolls of time, so detail is quite good. I also found colors to be natural, if a little muted, while contrast is spot on. I’ve only seen a couple other versions of The Boneyard, but this easily the best. The extras are impressive as well, kicking off with an informative audio commentary from director James Cummins and producer Richard F. Brophy. I love these first hand commentaries and was glad to hear the film’s creators discuss the movie. You can also check out the movie’s trailer, as well as interviews with Brophy, Cummins, and yes, Phyllis Diller.