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Exclusive: How 'Sinister' Brought Mr. Boogie to Life

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Every great demonic curse has a great demon behind it, and Sinister is no exception. Drag Me to Hell’s Christine Brown is followed by the Lamia, in The Exorcist poor little Regan is haunted by Pazuzu, and Sinister’s wicked spirit from the netherworld is know as Bughuul, or Mr. Boogie.
 

Editor's Note: Beware spoilers below.

Mr. Boogie is writer C. Robert Cargill’s take on the malevolent Boogeyman hiding in your closet, but Cargill's version is probably a lot more sadistic than the one from childhood stories. Much like the Boogeyman, Mr. Boogie’s origin’s are a bit of an amalgam. Everyone has their own vision, most reaching as far back as their earliest memories, of what the Boogeyman looks like. How can you create something that only exists in stories and dreams? Cargill and Director and co-writer Scott Derrickson were faced with the task of bringing this monster to the big screen in a way that is original to the genre, yet recognizable to the audience. FEARnet sat down with the two creators to find out how Bughuul came together.

“The script described him as a fucked-up Willy Wonka—that’s how Cargill had described him in the original page that he wrote about him—but the name, when Cargill first pitched me the idea, he called him Mr. Boogie,” Scott Derrickson said.

“The core concept was just built around who he is and what he does. It was the idea of this monster that is both terrifying and could be seen as seductive. You could see how he might have some semblance of an appeal to children. And we moved away from that ultimately with what we got, but that was the core idea to begin with. He’s this seducer and devourer of children and to go ahead and take something that ties into childhood and radically pervert it, I think that’s frightening,” Cargill said.

Derrickson went on to explain how they agreed upon the look of Mr. Boogie.

“When it came time to actually make the movie I was really worried about that because I knew the scariness, the effectiveness, of the movie depended a great deal on me creating what could be a franchise film and how is that [Willy Wonka] not going to be silly. I knew I needed some inspiration, so, I went to Flickr and typed in ‘horror,’" he said.

Derrickson came up with 500,000 photos, but managed to edit them down to 15 and sent them to Cargill as a jumping off point.

“He emailed me back and said, 'I really like this one,' and it was a photograph called ‘Natalie.’ (I still don’t know why.) It was basically the ghoul, Mr. Boogie. His hair wasn’t as greasy and we made some little adjustments, and I remember looking at it thinking, ‘What if it’s just this guy? What if it is this, right here?’ So we contacted the guy and bought the picture for like 500 bucks and gave him the concept design credit and then I gave it to our make up effects guys and said ‘Make this,’” Derrickson said.

Derrickson explained that 'Natalie' appealed to him because it had just enough of a connection to black metal art, which he had been researching for Mr. Boogie’s symbol, to speak to the part of it he found compelling, but it was different enough that Boogie wouldn’t seem like a direct reference to the black metal genre.

Detractors of the movie might argue that Mr. Boogie has a Crow-meets-Juggalo look about him, but that makes perfect sense for the character. Boogie is part-creepy clown of death, part dark scavenger of human souls. Whether you love them or you hate them, there’s one thing that can’t be denied about the Juggalos: they’re disturbing as hell and they’re after your children. Just like Mr. Boogie.

Sinister is in theaters Friday. Don’t miss it.

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