The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)
Taking a detour from the usual blood and gore that’s a trademark of The Film Yap’s Schlock Vault, I decided to visit the deep south in search of the creature known as Bigfoot in 1972’s “The Legend of Boggy Creek.” What “Boggy Creek” lacks in shear bloody brilliance, it more than makes up for it capturing the times during which it was filmed.
“The Legend of Boggy Creek” is a docudrama depicting the incidents that surrounding the “Fouke Monster” and its exploits in Fouke, Ark. One look at the opening scene — which moves at a snail’s pace — and you know you’re going to be in for a long ride. The film is more remarkable for the culture it captures than for its entertainment value.
The film’s narration tells the accounts of the Bigfoot, which is said to have inhabited the Fouke area since the ‘50s, and the encounters the townspeople have had. Instead of a straight-up documentary, the film instead shows us the encounters — most of which are forgettable, but a few of which are standouts.
My personal favorite is when the Bigfoot crashes its hand through a bathroom window while a man’s sitting on the toilet. As he jumps off the toilet and tears out of the bathroom, he slams against the hall wall with his britches down (check it out here). Later, at the same house, a man spooked by the creature outside comes crashing through the front door, destroying the man’s biggest chance at staying safe.
The film is gritty and dark, and it’s hard to make out the creature at all. Another surprise while watching the film on DVD was when old VCR-tracking static revealed itself as the movie begins to flip for a few moments. It somehow made the movie more endearing to me.
What makes this film a worthy Schlock addition is it captures the emotion of the times in Fouke — the downright fear that gripped people as the word of a monster spread like wildfire. The scenes themselves are enhanced by the fact you never get a good glimpse of the monster. It’s what I like to call the “ ‘Jaws’ Factor.” Sure, the shark jumping out at Brody was scary and shocking, but the barrels they use to tire him are equally as terrifying.
Filmmaker Charles B. Pierce borrowed the film’s budget of $100,000 from a trucking company and used old equipment to film the movie, but the biggest surprise was the movie’s reception. A monster (pardon the pun) at drive-ins, it raked in more than $20 million, making it the seventh largest-grossing movie of that year.
“The Legend of Boggy Creek” is a low-budget docudrama that is classic because of the culture it captures instead of the creature it features. While there’s zero blood in the film, it’s Schlocktastic for the low-quality love it delivers in all its grainy wonder and for a cheap-looking Bigfoot to boot. Want an added treat? Keep an ear out for one of the worst theme songs you’ll ever hear.