Saturday, June 25, 2022

The frequent ‘Trek’ director also directed an amazing ’80s horror film

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The Star Trek franchise and a popular 1981 b-horror cult film share a common denominator: director James L. Conway. According to the Internet Movie Database, The Boogens was Conway’s third feature film as director, following The Lincoln Conspiracy in 1977 and Hangar 18 in 1980 and episodes of the television shows The Life and Times of Grizzly. Adams” and “Greatest Heroes of the Bible”, several TV movies and a few documentaries. Memory Alpha notes that Conway has directed 18 episodes of Star Trek, ranging from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine to Voyager and Enterprise.

The Internet Movie Database lists all of Conway’s “Star Trek” episodes. He directed The Next Generation episodes Justice, The Neutral Zone and Frame of Mind, as well as DS9 episodes Duet, Necessary Evil, The Way of the Warrior “. Little Green Men, Shattered Mirror, For the Cause and Apocalypse Rising. His Voyager episodes were The 37’s, Persistence of Vision, Death Wish and Innocence. Eventually, his Enterprise work included the series pilot Broken Bow, as well as Judgment, Damage, and In a Mirror, Darkly.

OutstandingJonathan Frakes as Riker in a scene from Frame of Mind.

According to IMDB, The Boogens opened on September 25, 1981. It starred Rebecca Balding, Fred McCarren, Anne-Marie Martin, Jeff Harlan, John Crawford, Med Flory, Jon Lormer and Peggy Stewart. Balding had previously starred in another popular horror film, The Silent Scream, and married Conway in 1981, according to IMDB. Conway confirmed he has been married to Balding for 41 years, having met during the film’s casting phase. He explained that he asked her out the first week of filming, that she proposed to him a few days later, and that they got married before The Boogens hit theaters. According to IMDB, Martin was married to author/screenwriter Michael Crichton from 1987 to 2002 and co-wrote the film Twister with Crichton.

Cavett Binion provided a concise overview of the film in a summary/review of The Boogens for All Movie Guide. “This rarely screened, well-crafted monster film involves the reopening of a Utah silver mine that had been closed for nearly 70 years after a catastrophic collapse, the circumstances of which remain one of the nearby town’s most legendary mysteries,” Binion wrote. “When attempts are made to explore the mineshaft, the investigating party never returns. It appears the mine collapse served to trap a nest of strange, many-armed, blood-sucking creatures – now free to seek new prey on the outskirts of town. This simple but intense horror film benefits from good performances and genuine suspense – it only offers quick, chilling glimpses of the titular beasts – and builds into a thrilling showdown down the treacherous mine shafts.”

Heavy reached out to Conway on June 10, 2022 to discuss “The Boogens” and his “Star Trek” connections. Conway confirmed that the only other character associated with both “The Boogens” and “Star Trek” was Jerry Fleck, who served as the film’s second assistant director, according to the Internet Movie Database, and later worked with Conway on several of his Star Trek Episodes. The website noted that Fleck and Conway previously collaborated on the Conway projects The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, Last of the Mohicans, Incredible Rocky Mountain Race, Beyond and Back, and Earthbound . According to Hollywood magazine Variety, Fleck died on September 14, 2003 at the age of 55. At the time, he was the first assistant director on Enterprise.

“I think ‘The Boogens’ is holding up pretty well,” Conway said. “My only regret was that the monster had too much screen time. We should have been seen a lot less. Jerry Fleck was one of my best friends. We worked together at Sunn Classic for six years. He was my AD on many projects. I left Sunn Classic a year or two before him and helped him get started in LA when he retired. It was on ‘Matt Houston’ I think. I don’t remember if I had anything to do with him getting hired on Star Trek, but he was a star there. Everyone loved him, with good reason. Best AD ever. A great man who I miss every day. I’m not sure if there are any other ‘Star Trek’ connections from ‘The Boogens’.”

Conway has been busy since Enterprise ended its truncated four-season run in 2005. According to IMDB, he produced or directed TV shows such as Charmed, Smallville, Supernatural, 90210, Aquarius. “The Orville” and “The Magicians”. His website states that he is also a photographer and has written the novels Dead and Not So Buried, Sexy Babe, and In Cold Blonde, as well as the children’s picture books A Duck’s Life, Rubby Ducky’s Guide to the Farm, and “Rubber Ducky’s Guide to the Holidays”.

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