Born in 1969, I was a wee child when my mother and older brothers subjected me to the horrors of UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, and the occult, which were all the rage during the 1970s. So it’s time to stroll down memory lane with a movie that cashed in on the Bigfoot craze, along with its official sequel from over a decade later.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972)
A classic of the 1970s, The Legend of a Boggy Creek has recently been remastered on Blu-ray for the first time. It scared the heck out of me when I was a single-digit age back then, especially considering I spent my childhood being dragged into the woods for dirt bike races by my motorcycle riding father. Viewing the movie again 5 decades later, I see it as mostly a few highly effective moments surrounded by a whole lot of filler.
In the opening scene, a little kid runs to a bunch of old men in some godforsaken hillbilly state to tell them he saw a hairy beast. They laugh at him.
That kid serves as the adult narrator describing his sleepy town and the cloud of darkness the legend casts over it (it felt like I was watching Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). About an hour of the film consists of mostly hunters out alone spotting a dark Bigfoot figure standing off in the distance in the woods. The first time it’s creepy as hell and perfectly captures that infamous footage of Bigfoot running through the woods, but then the movie becomes just one sighting after another with no actual physical encounters. And very often the scenes are set to a cute hillbilly theme song about the creature that sounds like it could be from a Rankin/Bass holiday special. WTF?
Finally, there are some cool Bigfoot POV shots around a derelict cabin…I mean, some hillbilly’s home…at night, and I would swear it’s the kind shot that inspired Raimi’s Evil Dead style. Very effective.
The climactic Bigfoot battle takes place at the house at night when Bigfoot reaches its arm in through a window while a guy is taking a shit. There’s a lot of shooting and a quick physical altercation between man and Bigfoot, but the HD resolution doesn’t help camouflage the fleeting glimpse of the gorilla mask that serves as the creature costume. Personally, I wasn’t very scared because I was too distracted wondering if the guy actually started dropping shit bombs when he was interrupted…and the fact that he ran from the bathroom without even wiping.
BOGGY CREEK II: AND THE LEGEND CONTINUES (1984)
Over a decade after the original was released, the director returns and stars in a sequel. He plays a teacher that takes a handful of students to hunt for the Bigfoot.
He also rocks the 80s shorts.
He even narrates the film, so it has that same sleepy feel as the original, and he tells one tale after the other of people that encountered the Bigfoot. I thought it was going to be the same cycle of scenes of hunters staring at a Bigfoot in the woods, but there’s actually variety here, including a goofy scene, an attack scene, and a baby Bigfoot attack scene! Awesome.
The other difference is that we see plenty of Bigfoot face. I think it may just be a doctored gorilla mask, but it looks much better than in the first film and gives this a good, cheesy 80s creature feature feel.
In actuality, the scariest scene in the film involves a wild dog that chases the group, but it does not end in a way that animal lovers will like. Not. At. All.
The group eventually shacks up (literally stays in a shack) with a hairy hillbilly, setting the stage for a final scene similar to that of the first film. Damn. This hillbilly was a trendsetter. I bought fashions like this from the International Male catalog to wear to New York City clubs in the 1990s.
The little surprise twist isn’t so much of a twist these days, but it does distinguish this one from its predecessor. I’m hoping this sequel also gets remastered onto Blu-ray.