|Clockwise starting top-left: Big Foot, The Legend of Boggy Creek, |
Sasquatch: the Legend of Bigfoot, and Shriek of the Mutilated
Just in time for Halloween, the folks at the website, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, have been reviewing the Sasquatch Cinema from the 70's every Friday this month of October 2012. These reviews of "Sasquatch Cinema" are a part of a larger annual installment, going on it's 9th year, called 31 Days of Horror. What they call Sasquatch Cinema, we call Sasquatchploitation. Surprisingly they review one movie, Shriek of the Mutilated, that is completely off our radar and not on our Top 51 Sasquatchploitation Movies List. The reviews are by David Carter and really excellent reading if you enjoy film in general. Below you can read an excerpt from the four reviews so far this month.
[John] Carradine anchors the film as Jasper Hawkes, a Southern traveling salesman who has made his way west with his associate Elmer (John Mitchum, Robert’s older brother). Radiator trouble leaves the pair stranded on the roadside for a time, but they make a hasty retreat after Elmer finds a massive footprint on the banks of a creek. High above them, the beautiful Joi is having engine troubles of her own and is forced to parachute to safety when her Cessna loses power. Joi lands on a heavily wooded mountainside, and she barely has time to get her bearings before she’s grabbed by a pair of large, hairy arms.
Meanwhile, a curiously well-mannered and clean-cut biker gang cleans out a small general store’s supply of beer and junk food. A pair of young lovers, Rick and his girlfriend Chris, break away from the group to have some alone time and stumble upon a giant, ape-like creature buried in a shallow grave, but surprisingly don’t seem very concerned about it and have a picnic nearby. Rick leaves to make some tune-ups to his bike when he’s attacked and knocked unconscious by a creature similar to the one in the grave. Upon waking, he finds Chris gone and he rushes back to town to report the incident. Due to his outsider status, he finds few willing to listen to his tale, despite the fact that they all agree they’ve heard of similar attacks by large monsters recently. Jasper listens to Rick, however, and he believes the monster the young man saw to be the legendary Bigfoot. Jasper and Elmer offer to help Rick find Chris, knowing that the capture of a such a monster will make them both millionaires. Read More...
The Legend of Boggy Creek
Boggy Creek’s narrator informs us that his first encounter with the Fouke Monster was an indirect one. “I was seven years old when I first heard him scream. It scared me then; it scares me now,” he muses, impressing that the creature is both authentic and something to be feared. The film reiterates this idea of authenticity subtly in the scenes immediately following, which introduce the small town of Fouke, Arkansas. The rural southern charm of the town is emphasized in such a manner as to imply that the residents of Fouke would be incapable of deception and are knowledgeable enough about the local fauna to be able to correctly identify an animal or, conversely, know when they came across an unknown animal.
Authenticity established, the remainder of Boggy Creek consists of case studies and reenactments of recent encounters with the Fouke Monster, who was peculiarly very active in the early seventies. The stories range from somewhat benign sightings of the creature at a distance to harrowing encounters where the lives of the witnesses were in danger. Certain details about the creature emerge over the course of the film: it is nocturnal, aggressive, and carnivorous. It is important to note that the latter two aspects differ greatly from the general consensus that Bigfoot is a gentle beast concerned primarily with avoiding detection. The Fouke Monster seemingly intentionally draws attention to itself in many instances, most notably in the film’s dramatic climax where he terrorizes a family over the course of several nights. Read More...
Shriek of the Mutilated
Shriek of the Mutiliated is the story of a trip to investigate Yeti sightings by Professor Ernst Prell and his graduate students, Tom, Lynn, Keith, and Keith’s girlfriend, Karen. The Yeti is Prell’s pet project – actually, obsession – and rumors that a previous expedition ended in disaster frightens the students. At the expedition site upstate, the students are introduced to Prell’s collaborator, Dr. Werner, and his imposing Native American manservant, the mute Laughing Crow. Werner gives Prell the welcome news that he has seen and heard the creature in the area recently, and the team begins their hunt early the next morning. Tragedy strikes the group almost immediately as Tom is attacked by a hulking monster with shaggy white hair. The remaining team learns of his fate much later, after a day of searching only finds Tom’s partially eaten leg.
Prell’s obsession with the Yeti determines that the expedition must continue, despite vociferous protests from Karen. The others agree to continue on, and Lynn is the next to fall victim to the Yeti. The surviving group is now faced with the harrowing possibility that they too will die and decide to undertake a drastic, previously unthinkable tactic in a last ditch effort to capture the creature. The group attempts to lure the Yeti into a trap using Lynn’s corpse as bait. This too fails; the Yeti escapes, the group is scattered, and Keith is knocked unconscious. Karen is attacked by the Yeti after returning to the safety of the lodge, but dies of fright before the beast can kill her. Read More...
Sasquatch: the Legend of Bigfoot
Sasquatch draws its influence from the Bigfoot films that preceded it, most notably 1976’s The Legend of Bigfoot. In addition to the likely intentional mimicry of the title, Sasquatch takes that film’s main focus – real life wildlife expert and Bigfoot hunter Ivan Marx – and essentially replicates him for its main character, Chuck Evans. Those who have seen Legend will be familiar with Marx’s frequent poetic musings about nature, ecology, and his mysterious prey, and Sasquatch’s Evans provides similar commentary during the film’s mostly uneventful trek to the fictional Peckatoe River Valley in western Canada. The similarities between the two films’ narration is intentional, as is Sasquatch’s appropriation of Legend’s overall structure and the documentary format. To the unfamiliar, Sasquatch would appear equally as authentic as Legend or any other Bigfoot documentary film—a technique that would greatly enhance the impact of the film’s conclusion.
While Evans and crew are making the journey to their ultimate destination, the film borrows a trick from The Legend of Boggy Creek and includes reenactments of famous Bigfoot encounters to satisfy the film’s horror quota. The first of these is the “Ape Canyon incident” from 1924, which took place near Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. Four miners claimed to have been attacked by a group of ape-men/”mountain-devils”/Sasquatch who battered the outside of their cabin and pelted them with rocks and logs for an entire night. Per one of the experiencers, Fred Peck, claims the men shot at the creatures – killing at least one – but no bodies were found the next day. Peck attributes this to his belief that the creatures were extra-dimensional beings—a not uncommon belief in Bigfoot lore. Sasquatch doesn’t address this aspect, but instead treats the incident as wholly terrestrial and factual in a well-executed scene that manages to generate a good deal of terror. Read More...