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Monday, February 11, 2019

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)





The Bigfoot movies keep coming and I thought it was about time to review the granddaddy of all the documentaries that popped up in the drive-in during the seventies. While I’m a big fan of Mysterious Monsters from Schick Sunn this is still my favorite.

In the Legend of Boggy Creek director Charles B. Pierce tells the story of the Fouke monster. A creature similar to Bigfoot that has been spotted in and around Fouke Arkansas for years. Instead of shooting a traditional movie he mixes in stories from the locals with reenactments of their encounters with the creature. In many cases he used the locals, sometimes the actual people involved in the sightings, instead of actors. Since this was shot on a shoestring budget, I’m sure he did that to save money, but it also lends some authenticity and charm to the movie that sets it apart from other similar ones that followed.

So what kind of stories do we get? It starts off with a little boy running to the general store to tell a man that his Ma had seen something in his fields. He laughs this off because you know womenfolk and all… Hey it was the seventies. But then we get a series of men hunting that run across the creature. We also get to see it menace some girls at a sleepover, scare a kitten to death, and kill a couple of dogs. There is also a sequence where the kids want to wake up grandpa, but mom won’t let them. So, they take her out to show her the monster they saw. Yeah, they really should have woke grandpa up! The best story is saved for last where you have a pair of young couples renting a house together. Over two nights they are terrorized by something coming up on the porch and trying to open the door. I guess the Fouke monster learned how to use door handles. This ends up in them running into the dark with shotguns and wounding it, but not before it scares the hell out of one of them.

Speaking of scaring the hell out of someone this movie used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid. Seriously that last story where the girl is sitting on the couch and the arm reaches thru the window after her scarred me for years. I’m not kidding! I couldn’t sit next to an open window until I was in high school and even then I’d get nervous if I thought about it. Of course, that never stopped me from watching this every time it showed up on the late show. Isn’t that why horror fans watch this stuff?

Next time wake up Grandpa!
Other highlights from The Legend of Boggy Creek include the excellent narration, also provided by Pierce under a different name, and some wonderful music and stingers (musical cues). There are a pair of songs that I will guarantee you will stick in your head for days after watching the movie. They are sung by… you guessed it Pierce under yet another name. The guy did almost everything on this movie.

The biggest complaint that I hear from people about the movie is that it is slow. I can’t disagree with that because as much as I love the movie there are a couple points where it is clearly being padded out with some nature footage and other tricks. The difference is that I find that entertaining and expect it from a regional drive-in movie like this. It is cut in so that while accomplishing the goal of stretching the runtime out the movie doesn’t linger on it long enough to disrupt the pacing.

Bottom line is this. If you dig Bigfoot movies, then you have to watch The Legend of Boggy Creek. There were movies before this one, but this is what got the Bigfoot mania of the seventies kicked into high gear. I recommend it and think that with the right expectations you will have fun.



© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

1 comment:

  1. Did you see that the film has undergone a restoration and remaster at the George Eastman Museum, and will premiere again at the historic Perot Theatre, in Texarkana, TX, and will be seen again in it's full wide-scale format, with fully-restored sound? Here's a preview clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEvbmZoD8Us&t=2s

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