Director – Charles B. Pierce
Cast – Vern Stierman, Chuck Pierce Jr., William Stumpp, Willie E. Smith, Lloyd Bowen, B.R. Barrington, J.E. ‘Smokey’ Crabtree, Travis Crabtree, John P. Hixon, John W. Oates, Buddy Crabtree, Jeff Crabtree, Judy Baltom, Mary B. Johnson, Louise Searcy
Release Year – 1972
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Faux-documentary films are not new to the genre, but at the time that this film debuted, 1972, they were. I personally find joy in these types of films because they allow you to (if you allow yourself) become enveloped in the film and in a sense…believe what you are watching is real, not a movie. This vastly underrated cult film focuses on the legend of Bigfoot, and despite a very low-budget and little filming experience from its filmmakers it manages to deliver a truly horrifying experience worthy of the cult fame it has acquired.
The Legend of Boggy Creek focuses on a sasquatch-like creature terrorizing the residents of Fouke, Arkansas, a small farming community of 300 or so residents. The town is shaken at the fact that such a creature exists in their swamps, but things worsen for this sleepy town when this once harmless creature begins to venture too close for comfort.
As I mentioned earlier, if you allow yourself to be enveloped into the film then you should find this to be a satisfying watch with some nice creepy scenes as well. A devout drive-in flick, The Legend of Boggy Creek managed to generate of $20,000,000 domestically, an astounding feat for a very low-budget film starring and filmed by a bunch of nobodies with little experience.
Director Charles B. Pierce, who gave us the equally excellent The Town That Dreaded Sundown, does a fantastic job making this flick flow and delivers some good creepiness without having to show very much. His execution is what makes this film happen, which comes very surprising given this was his first directing job. If you enjoy grainy flicks from the early 70s then this should appeal to you as well. I really liked that the filmmakers went with the faux-documentary approach, and a fantastic voice performance from narrator Vern Stierman helps with this film’s appealing nature. The film is “dated” in all possible elements, with some not-so-favorable acting and editing, but it goes with the gritty nature of the film and instead of finding a negative in such things I found that they only added to my enjoyment. Speaking of “characters”, the true star of the film, the creature, was excellently used and despite the fact that it was just a man in a suit (if this “movie” really is only…a movie) the usage of the creature was fantastic and definitely the film’s finest selling point. As I mentioned earlier, we are given numerous creepy scenes that came to us without showing very much, and included in these scenes was the blood-curdling moan the creature delivers. I do not know how they created such a unique and freaky sound, and I do not wish to know; some things should be left sacred in the horror genre, and the creature’s moan should be one of them.
In addition to Pierce’s direction, I really loved the storyline as well. I have always been an avid fan and reader of anything involving crypt- zoology, which naturally includes anything regarding Bigfood/Sasquatch/The Yeti. Those of you not interested in such things may not find this film as enjoyable as I did, but to those of you who have an interest in the topic then you should be glued to the screen as I was. Setting the film in the swamps of Arkansas was a great idea as it provides a nice chilly atmosphere regardless of the time of day, although things really kick into high gear right at sunset. Writer Earl E. Smith paced the film’s screenplay perfectly, with each creepy development coming at just the right time. He also sells the film’s characters to us with his great and believable dialogue, which goes hand in hand with the fact that the characters were apparently acted by the very people they were based on. Simply put, those who saw the creature played themselves.
I cannot really confirm that this film is a true documentary despite the film saying that the actual witnesses played themselves in the film, but regardless of this film being real or not…the scares are good, and this film is a true hidden gem that deserves much more appreciation from the horror genre.
Overall, this is an awesome and creepy watch that I recommend to those with an interest in anything involving Bigfoot or those like him. Amazing execution and good usage of the creature both seen an unseen are sure to leave this film an unforgettable watch to those who allow the film to do what it set out to do…scare the hell out of you.