True Story Tuesdays: The Legend of Boggy Creek

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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.

IMG_7058Brought 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.

IMG_7060Eek.

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.

IMG_7063Lacking 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.

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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.

IMG_7069Pictured: 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.

IMG_7072Middle 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

 

 

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Shark Exorcist, or: The Power of Chum Compels You!

I imagine the meeting went something like this:

“Quick!  Name two of the best horror films ever made!”

“Well, there’s Jaws and, um, The Exorcist?

“Awesome!  So what if a shark got possessed?”

“Yeah!”

“And it should have boobs.”

“But what if kids want to watch?”

“Boobs in bikinis!”

“Hell yeah!”

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Shark Exorcist is a 2015 film directed by Donald Farmer who gave us An Erotic Vampire in Paris and Hooker With a Hacksaw.  Starring no one you’ve ever heard of, Shark Exorcist brings together a Z-list cast and potato-quality special effects.

She watched this movie.

This movie immediately forgets that being terrible is only one part of what makes B-movies great. Shark Exorcist isn’t funny.  Sharknado was funny.  Sharktopus was hilarious.  Even Jersey Shore Shark Attack made me snarf.  I want to give Shark Exorcist a fair shake so I’ll admit those B-grade shark movies had a budget and a few named actors.  Fine, I even enjoyed the approximately $12 production of Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You.  Also, some of the characters from the above movies were likeable and the stories are fun.  Remember all you wannabe movie makers out there: story and character are key even if your movie is B.

It all starts out with a (possessed?) nun who has already killed 13 kids then randomly kills another woman before tossing her in a lake called Paris Landing and asking “Lord Satan” to “send [her] an avenger!” At which point we cut to this:

How did the great white get in the lake?  Probably Satan.

Meanwhile, a group of girls goes to the lake, where one is attacked and then possessed by the possessed shark. I will admit some confusion because if the shark is still possessed and the girl is now possessed then who or what is possessing both of them?  Can Satan pull double-duty?  Is possession now transferred via shark saliva?  Also, how do we know the girl, Ali, is possessed?

This is how.

After Ali lures a boy to Paris Landing where he is consumed by the shark (in what is not one of the great shark attack scenes), we get to meet Father Michael, a priest who wears in ill-fitting Roman collar and crosses himself a lot so we know he’s definitely a priest.

I don’t know who these people are but they show up next:

I’m assuming witches.

There are various scenes of shark possession (out of the water) before this girl shows up for some reason and goes swimming with Ali.  Except she’s a dream!  I think.

I know, she’s the special effects team!

Fr. Mike somehow figures out Satan has come to Paris Landing and begins an investigation, concluding that Ali is possessed because she’s not eating and loves water.  I’m also guessing here because Fr. Mike doesn’t mention possession, demons, or Satan.

After a dialogue-free, action-free scene that stretches on for an excruciating five minutes, it’s time for Father Michael and Ali’s roommate to exorcise the demon!  Here the movie remembers that it’s supposed to be spoofing Jaws and The Exorcist so we have the pea soup barf, and, I wish I was kidding; “We’re gonna need a bigger cross.”

The King James version specifically mentions tiki torches as a must-have item for driving out Satan.

More stuff happens, including the demon shark descending from the sky. I’d normally be more specific than “stuff happens” but we’re never actually shown or even told what happens so stuff happens.

Finally, blessedly, with a few more deaths and a “Hail Satan!” for good measure, the movie draws to a close.  The demon shark is still out there eating people.  There’s still a few possessed people, and goddamnit no one performed an exorcism on a shark! I wanted to see an exorcism on a shark.

This movie totals two post-credit scenes, one of which is long and both of which are dialogue-free.  In the first, a girl does stuff with a plastic shark that makes everyone uncomfortable before spitting juice at the camera.  The second?  Well, I’d hate to spoil the ending and potential sequel for you all.

Farewell, flying demon-shark. You deserved a better movie.

Chernobyl Diaries, or: Midnight in Antarctica During a Lunar Eclipse

What are the three creepiest places on earth? I’d have to go with La Isla de Munecas (look it up if you don’t want to sleep tonight), Poveglia (ditto), and Prypiat. Prypiat, the Ukrainian town abandoned when the Chernobyl reactor blew in 1986 is absolutely one of the creepiest places ever.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, if you’re making a movie set in Chernobyl, Chernobyl should be a character in and of itself. They couldn’t film in Prypiat, because Prypiat is still contaminated. You can go there with the proper permits, but even the company that runs tours recommends you go in with a Geiger counter, protective suit, and “clothes that fully cover your body.” So while I support director Oren Peli’s decision not to give the cast and crew cancer, there are still plenty of places out there that could be made Prypiat-esque with a little window dressing.

I went into this movie expecting a slow burn, a movie that captured, at least a little bit, the pervading sense of tragedy and loss that surrounds the Chernobyl disaster. An eerie movie that melds the reality of Prypiat with fiction. A movie that’s creepy. Chernobyl Diaries is not creepy and it’s definitely not scary. Without giving away who/what is supposed to be scary in Chernobyl Diaries, I’ll sum up the plot.

Chernobyl Diaries centers around a group of kids cavorting through Europe who make a pit stop in Kiev to visit one guy’s brother. None of these characters are likable, and not one has the sense to say “eff that” when the brother gets the brilliant ideal to check out Chernobyl with the totally-not-sketchy tour guide, Yuri. So, our intrepid band of morons set off on a magical mystery tour of Prypiat.

The first scare has four legs. Assuming you don’t have a deathly fear of dogs (and even if you do), which one of these would you least want to encounter while walking through Chernobyl?

This guy?

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Or this guy?

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Yeah. Bear in mind that there is an active wolf population in Chernobyl. And Peli could have gone with scraggly wolves, with mutant wolves, hell, with glow in the dark wolves. Anything made of wolf would have gone over a lot better than remarkably healthy and cute dogs. Or if the wolf budget was that low, throw a little mud on the pooches. Make them scruffy and scary and mangy. The kind of dog you’d expect to encounter while day tripping through Prypiat.

Once the “real” scares start you can’t tell what’s going on. Not in the “holy crap what IS it?!” way, but in the Mr. Magoo way. Pictures speak a thousand words so here are two screencaps from my DVD:

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Few scenes are shot in daylight, completely squandering opportunities to set a really creepy trapped-in-a-desolate-and-radioactive-ghost town mood. The rest of the movie plays out with all the ambiance of midnight in Antarctica during a lunar eclipse. Most scenes are obliterated by either near-total darkness or an actor shining the flashlight directly into the camera, much like a cop at a traffic stop.

Oh, Chernobyl Diaries, I wanted to like you. I so, so wanted to like you. I would have liked you if you were mediocre, even. The final scare provides a meh ending to a sub-meh movie. So if you have the hankering for a creepy abandoned place movie, go watch the superior Session 9 while you wait patiently with me for someone to make a Chernobyl movie that’s actually frightening.

Photo Credits:
Wolf Picture German Shepherd Picture