The Legend of Boggy Creek/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Aliens and Bigfoot were very interesting cultural crazes from the 1950's-60's era. Although I personally believe that aliens and UFOs actually exist, I think the Bigfoot story is pretty tame by today's standards. I mean, back then, Bigfoot was a very popular myth since we didn't have good technology and there were lots of areas that we couldn't reach. But now, we have satellites to survey areas while many of our forests are being torn down (which is pretty sad). It would be much easier to find Bigfoot or see it running in the street due to the extinction of all the forests that it used to live in. Anyway, there's a 1972 film that kickstarted the Bigfoot craze again. It's The Legend of Boggy Creek. Since it's in the Public Domain and the last PD movie I watched (Monstroid) is extremely awful, I expected nothing good.
To my surprise, this film is a lot better than what I expected. It's a solid "documentary" with lots of interviews and "re-enactment" footage. We start the film with the most cliche (yet still classic) claim in the exploitation film era, "This is true story". Again? Just like in Monstroid? Well, this film has a better chance of really being based on a true story since we have a very good build-up. First, we have a re-enactment of the first experience that the narrator had with the Fouke Monster (the Bigfoot-type creature) when he was a kid. Then we see the location, interviews with witnesses who claim that they've seen the monster and re-enactments of their encounters.
The cinematography is really well done and depicts a chilling and insecure atmosphere although nobody is killed in this film. For example, there's a scene which depicts a re-enactment of a female who has seen the monster. There's a pan-shot of the forest in the dark intercut with a woman who's reading a book in her room. Then, she walks to the window and sees the monster (while the audience can't see anything at all! Why? I'll tell you later). Next, the narrator tells us that the next morning a cat died at her house and "You know, he's out there somewhere". So, basically, it has a really good production just like an old documentary that was shown on CBS or NBC in the 70's. The finale is totally worthwhile to be waiting for. It depicts a family who tries to survive the attack of this monster. Women are screaming and hiding in a room while the men try to shoot it (***SPOILER ALERT***) one of the men is attacked by the monster. It surprises us since we saw a lot of people getting away from the Fouke Monster again and again. So since we aren't expecting the horrible shock, it thrills us as a lot.
To be honest, there are things that make some people hate this film. First, there are too many similar re-enactments. We have to see lots of people running away from the Fouke Monster again and again and again. It's redundant. Next, we have some campy elements. For example, there's a "music video" which shows the Fouke Monster walking in the forest while the corny song (that should have been in a Disney film instead of this "documentary") about the monster is playing. Imagine you're watching a "documentary" about Bigfoot, then suddenly it cuts to montage of the creature while The Beatles' "The Fool on The Hill" is playing. It's not too far from what I explained above at all. Just when you think the music video is over, there's ANOTHER music video about a kid named Travis Crabtree who spends weekends in the forest and tries to find the monster. Just look at the lyrics! "Hey Travis Crabtree/Wait a minute for me/Let's go back in the bottoms/Back where the fish are bitin'/Where all the world's invitin'/And nobody sees the flowers bloom but me ..." What's next? Could it be a montage of old men in the village walking while playing Snow White's Heigh-Ho song? Anyway, this song could get stuck in your head for few days! Another unintentional bit of comedy that I'd like to mention is one of the witnesses is named John W. Oates. Believe it or not, John Oates from Hall and Oates has the middle name "William"! Could this mustached guitarist be a witness of the legendary monster? Since they didn't write a song about Bigfoot yet, I think it's just a different person who shares similar name.
Unfortunately, since this film fell into Public Domain, the picture quality is awful. 95% of copies that you could find are presented in 4:3 ratio. No, it's neither Letterbox or Pan and Scan or Full Frame, it's literally the 16:9 version that's crammed into 4:3 scale (so lots of actors and objects are too thin look weird). The best version that you could find is the Letterbox version that, sadly, is presented in VHS quality, which means that when the story takes place in the dark, we can't see anything at all.
Anyway, if you're sick of generic horror films that try to scare and shock with as much gore as possible, this Halloween is a great place to impress your friends with The Legend of Boggy Creek. It gives you suspense, a chilling atmosphere and lots of comedy from the campy elements in the film (or your friends' riffing while watching it). Since the found-footage genre seems to be back again, somebody MUST remake it now!
Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.