The Boogeyman Director On Horror Lore & Stephen King's Approval (2024)

In The Boogeyman, high schooler Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer are still reeling from the loss of their mother. Their father, Will, a therapist, is stuck in his own grief and unable to give them the support or comfort they need. When a new patient shows up at their home desperate for help, he brings a demonic entity with him. This terrifying entity latches onto the Harper family and begins spreading fear and turmoil through the home as it feeds off their suffering.

The Boogeyman features a star-studded cast, including Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, Marin Ireland, LisaGay Hamilton, and David Dastmalchian. The Boogeyman, an adaptation of Stephen King's short story of the same name, is written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, and Mark Heyman based on a story by Beck and Woods. The movie is directed by Rob Savage.

Related: Every Movie Coming To Theaters In June 2023

Screen Rant spoke with Rob Savage about his new horror movie, The Boogeyman. He explained the extensive lore of the Boogeyman, the design of the monster, and how this adaptation expands Stephen King's original short story. Savage also praised The Boogeyman cast and reveals how, for one character, the movie starts in the third act of their own horror movie.

Rob Savage on The Boogeyman

The Boogeyman Director On Horror Lore & Stephen King's Approval (1)

Screen Rant: Rob, every time I walk by a dark room, I get this unnerving feeling that something is staring at me thanks to The Boogeyman! This is one of those films that blew me away, it's definitely felt more like a haunted house movie than a creature feature, which I absolutely love. Can you talk to me about the collaboration process working with Stephen King's short story and expanding that?

Rob Savage: I came on board. I did this movie Host, and I got offered this right off the bat of that. There was already a script that existed by Beck and Woods who did A Quiet Place. I developed it off in a very different direction, but they laid this great foundation, and had come up with a really cool idea of how to expand the short story. Which is basically just two people in a therapy session talking for eight pages.

They came up with the genius idea of having that be the inciting incident for a big movie or a bigger movie. This character comes in, and then almost infects this family with a demonic presence and that becomes our story. From there, it was me and Mark Heyman, who I worked with on the script, we were just trying to build it out, but make sure it felt true to the short story. Mostly true to King like it felt like it could sit on the shelf with the rest of the Stephen King adaptations.

Did Stephen King provide any notes on any of your scripts?

Rob Savage: Yeah, a couple. He was very kind of hands off. He knew that we were building this out into our own thing and he wanted us to feel free to do that. He gave some great notes. He really loved the script and he was always kind of shouting out about the movie as we went into production. He gave a couple of notes on the edit, but he loved it when we showed it to him. Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief.

You created a whole lore Bible for The Boogeyman. What's a piece of the lore Bible that audiences may not have picked up on, but impacted your approach as a director?

Rob Savage: We kind of had this idea that the creature, like you said like a haunted house movie, we went by Insidious rules. That this creature wasn't a physical thing that's bound to the house. That wherever there's darkness this thing can manifest. That even though it's a creature ultimately, and its flesh and blood, it can manifest through darkness it can kind of materialized like something spiritual. So it means that when Sophie goes to Rita's house to try and get information, the creature can follow her wherever she goes.

What's something from that lore Bible that would surprise audiences?

Rob Savage: We kind of had this idea of the creature being almost like Freddy Krueger. That it collects the souls of the people, the souls that it's reaped. And so we had the creatures voice made up of all the voices it's mimicking. So it mimics certain people in the house, but also we've got a whole cast of people from all around the world speaking different languages and we built that into the voice of the creature. So it's voice is almost made up of all these screaming tortured souls.

The Boogeyman Director On Horror Lore & Stephen King's Approval (2)

David Dastmalchian plays the person that goes to see the therapist to talk about this. Can you talk to me about his role in this, compared to the short story's original version of that character?

Rob Savage: It's different, but I think it kind of shares the same DNA. Both of us wanted this character to be much less abrasive and odious than in the short story. In the short story he's very aggressive, he's a very certain kind of person. We wanted our Lester Billings to be more empathetic. We wanted him to be someone that the audience wanted to invest in, but also felt like he could switch like that [snaps] at any moment. David's so great at playing that. He can play that vulnerability, and then you just see the tiniest little change in his eyes, and suddenly it's like, "Oh, this guy's going to kill me." He plays that scene so beautifully.

Talk to me about the actual design of the Boogeyman, because it is terrifying. What went into the design and how did you come up with that concept?

Rob Savage: The brief I gave to the designers is the Boogeyman is just the name that we call this as kids. This isn't the Boogeyman. Don't think of it like this. This is an ancient evil that's been around as long as there has been darkness. This thing, you've got to imagine it stalking caveman as they gather around their fire existing out in the darkness. It's an ancient primordial thing, and we wanted it to feel weathered. Its skin was like tan leather and it had to feel like something bigger than just the Boogeyman. So we took a long time to get that design right. I don't think we locked it until maybe a week before we started shooting. So it's really down to the wire.

Wow, that's incredible. You obviously have a great backstory for this character, but I get the sense that you could tell this backstory later on down the line.

Rob Savage: Yeah, we got into a lot of backstory me and David about where Lester had come from, what he wants from this interaction. We meet him, he's almost in the third act of his own horror movie. He's ready to face this thing down, but there's a whole horror movie that exists before the credits roll that lead him there.

Your cast is phenomenal in this. Can you talk to me about what they brought to their performance that maybe surprised you with what they did when you guys got in front of cameras?

Rob Savage: They all brought so much of themselves, which is the thing that I'm grateful for. Chris, especially really loves to play around with lines and they're all so collaborative. We had the script and we'd shoot a couple of takes of the script as written. Then it'd be like, let's play around, let's go off script. Let's improvise. There's an element of humor in this movie that was there in the script, but it's only accentuated through just how funny Vivian is. Some of those lines that get people every single time in the movie she came up with on the day and we work shopped it together.

The amazing thing about Sophie is that, and I didn't realize this until we were shooting, is just how much she carries this movie on her shoulders. She's in almost every single shot of this movie, and just operated at this level of intensity that I know was exhausting. And she was there every day. It felt like we were kind of truly building the movie together with it on both of our shoulders. It's incredible.

About The Boogeyman

The Boogeyman Director On Horror Lore & Stephen King's Approval (3)

Sadie Harper and younger sister Sawyer are still struggling with the death of their mother with very little support from their therapist father Will. When a desperate patient of Will's comes to their home begging for help bringing a terrifying entity with him. This malevolent entity feeds on the pain of the Harper family while spreading turmoil and fear into their home.

Check out our other interview with The Boogeyman star Sophie Thatcher.

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  • The BoogeymanRelease Date:2023-06-02
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The Boogeyman Director On Horror Lore & Stephen King's Approval (2024)


What was in the closet at the end of The Boogeyman? ›

Billings then hears a creepy voice from the closet say "so nice" before the door swings open and the Boogeyman comes out. And if that doesn't get you, King's final line of the story certainly will: "It still held its Dr Harper mask in one rotted, spade-claw hand."

What did Stephen King think about The Boogeyman? ›

"Showing him the movie was a really terrifying experience. He said that he loved it and that it terrified him. He jumped and threw his popcorn a couple of times. It's just incredible to think about the amount of times that that man has given me nightmares...

What was The Boogeyman doing to Sadie? ›

The Boogeyman is intent on killing Sadie and Sawyer, and uses Will as bait after killing Rita, Lester Billings' wife. After a few violent attacks, Sadie and Sawyer set fire to the terrifying creature. Seemingly dead, the house also catches fire, but Sadie and her family are able to make it outside to safety.

Is The Boogeyman inappropriate? ›

The MPAA gave The Boogeyman a PG-13 rating for terror, violent content, teen drug use and some strong language. As with all horror films, there are scary elements. A big part of The Boogeyman's eeriness stems from the terrifying nature of the titular creature.

Is The Boogeyman based off a real story? ›

The boogeyman is not real, but most cultures have some version of the boogeyman myth, although they go by many, many different names. The actual "boogeyman" name most likely originated sometime in the 19th century, but the mythology of these kinds of "monsters" have been around for much longer than that.

Who killed Boogeyman? ›

Boogeyman (2005)
NameCause of deathKiller
CrowCrashed into windshieldTim Jensen
JessicaDragged down bathtub/drownedBoogeyman
Ome MikeWrapped in plastic sheet, dragged into closet, killed (off-screen)
BoogeymanFall back into closet into ethereal pitTim Jensen
2 more rows

What was Stephen King scared of? ›

The “King of Horror” Stephen King says he's afraid of literally everything. He's afraid of darkness, death, confined space, clowns, the number 13, spiders… Fear of water, darkness and cemeteries haunted Edgar Allan Poe for his whole life.

What is the lore of The Boogeyman? ›

Oftentimes, the Boogeyman is a story told by adults to children to discourage them from misbehaving. In order to achieve this, the Boogeyman is usually described as being horrific in appearance and having grotesque tendencies such as kidnapping, attacking or killing those it views as being punishable.

Is The Boogeyman movie demonic? ›

The Boogeyman turns out to be a real demonic force. The demon threatens the ones he loves, so Tim decides to take action. BOOGEYMAN the movie is filled with scary scenes and scary supernatural encounters with the demonic title character.

What creature is the Boogeyman in Stephen King? ›

On the first occasion in which Lester Billings, the protagonist of the story, manages to catch a glimpse of him, he is described as a creature with a head similar to that of a scarecrow, with sloping shoulders and hands armed with sharp claws.

What is the meaning behind the movie Boogeyman? ›

The Boogeyman is a horror movie based on Stephen King's short story, and it explores the theme of parental neglect and trauma.

What happened to the mom in Boogeyman? ›

Therapist Will Harper is struggling to overcome the death of his wife, who died suddenly in a car crash. His daughters, Sadie and Sawyer, are likewise struggling to deal with their mother's passing. One day, a disturbed man called Lester Billings visits Will's office.

How gory is The Boogeyman? ›

Violence & Gore (6)

Occasional moderate sene of threat throughout related to a mysterious creature that stalks a teenage girl and her grief-striken family. Brief sustained attacks involving stabbings and death of children include blood spatter and the use of guns or flame-throwing devices to combat the creature.

What book was The Boogeyman based on? ›

"The Boogeyman" is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the March 1973 issue of the magazine Cavalier and later included in King's 1978 collection, Night Shift.

How scary is the new Boogeyman movie? ›

The film is off to a very creepy start, and the creepiness never lets go. This film is relentless, as it never allows the viewer to take a breath. It grabs you from the opening scene and completely reels you in, only to let go after the finale. Sadie (Sophie Thatcher) recently lost her mom in a car accident.

Is The Boogeyman under the bed or in the closet? ›

In the Pacific Northwest, he may manifest in "green fog". In other places he hides or appears from under the bed or in the closet and tickles children when they go to sleep at night, while in others he is a tall figure in a black hooded cloak who puts children in a sack.

What was the creature in The Boogeyman? ›

In King's original story, the Boogeyman is a monster who kills the three infant children of Lester Billings, played by David Dastmalchian in the movie adaptation. While there's a supernatural force in King's story, Lester's conservative comments about his dead children reveal that he didn't meet their needs.

Will there be a Boogeyman 2? ›

The Boogeyman 2 Isn't Happening Yet

Disney and 20th Century have yet to announce plans for The Boogeyman 2, so it is not officially happening at the moment. They moved it from streaming to give it a theatrical release in hopes that it would be a hit and even possibly launch a new horror franchise.

Was Dr. Harper The Boogeyman? ›

The Boogeyman, also known as Dr. Harper is a major antagonist of the Stephen King multiverse.


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