Welcome to a new feature at Beastly Bec – True Story Tuesdays! One Tuesday a month I’ll cover a true, inspired by, or based-on-actual-events horror flick. I’m kicking things off with The Legend of Boggy Creek, the cultiest of all culty Bigfoot movies out there.
Brought to you in glorious seventies SD!
The Legend of Boggy Creek is the 1972 directorial debut of Charles B. Pierce, who would go on to give us the classic The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Based on a spate of Sasquatch sightings that took place in Fouke, Arkansas, Boggy Creek is an early example of docudrama. The movie uses real townsfolk but plenty of staged interviews and dramatic reenactments. Also, it has this Bigfoot costume.
Vern Stierman narrates the film in such a way that he makes The Legend of Boggy Creek sound like The Waltons vs. Bigfoot. First seen by hunters, the Fouke Monster (as it came to be called) mostly stands at a distance and stares. But things quickly take a turn for the scary when Bigfoot spooks a group of women home alone and does not make friends with their cat.
Lacking a prop cat or an actual dead cat, panning out on a still shot of a live cat will do.
A few Sasquatch sightings later, the menfolk of Fouke have had enough. They get together lots of dogs and guns and hit the woods to try and rid the county of the Bigfoot menace. But the terrified mutts won’t track Bigfoot and the creature proves elusive.
The movie flounders a bit as we go from ramping up the tension to “and then no one saw the Fouke monster again for eight years.” Also, because it’s the seventies, someone bursts into song. Presumably because the movie is looking for something, anything, to put on film, this kid goes canoeing and later eats lunch.
Bigfoot finally shows up again, once on a dark road and once in a dark chicken coop, before someone finds his footprints in Willie Smith’s bean field. There is a short debate over whether or not the prints could have been left by a gorilla or an orangutan, but as neither of these are creatures native to the backwoods of Arkansas, and the prints have three toes, this is quickly ruled out.
Pictured: Not a gorilla
A few more folks see Bigfoot before he scares the pants off three girls in a mobile home, one of whom has the presence of mind to grab a rifle. Unfortunately the girls elect to scream loudly and incessantly instead of blowing Bigfoot’s fuzzy face off. While the narrator posits that Bigfoot is frustrated due to loneliness, it’s hard to feel sympathy for a creature that skins a dog (off camera) and repeatedly terrorizes women and children.
Middle of nowhere? Something scary happening? Make sure you take your kids outside.
Someone finally manages to get a few shots off at Bigfoot, but the sheriff insists the strange tracks they find are only panther tracks and leaves. Bigfoot finally physically attacks a man right before the soundtrack switches to a snappy jazz number. The movie winds down to the possibility that Bigfoot is still out there, lurking, waiting, watching…
The Legend of Boggy Creek is a fun foray into vintage horror. While not scary, it does a good job of tuning into the eerie feeling of being alone at night and hearing a noise that’s probably the wind, or an animal, but could just as easily be Bigfoot. Despite the cheese, lack of effects, and only fleeting glimpses of Bigfoot, Boggy Creek is an enjoyable watch fit for a warm summer night when the windows are open. And if you’re ever in Fouke, Arkansas, you might want to steer well clear of the creeks.
Until next time, my dreadful darlings! -BB