Movie Review – Boggy Creek Monster (Documentary) 2016

Based on Lyle Blackburn’s 2012 book, The Beast of Boggy Creek, and produced by Small Town Monster Films, this hour-long documentary begins where The Legend of Boggy Creek ended back in 1972.

Like so many of my generation, I saw the The Legend of Boggy Creek when I was an impressionable youngster. It struck terror into the hearts of many. I’ve watched other documentaries on Bigfoot, as per my reviews HERE, and most were more than a little hokey. Not so with Boggy Creek Monster. Lyle has a serious curiosity about this legend and listens with genuine interest to the current residents of Fouke, Arkansas where it started.

You’ll learn back story that wasn’t touched on in the original movie and you’ll be brought up to date with sightings that still go on to this day. Previously unreleased audio recordings of Smokey Crabtree make their debut as well as interviews with current relatives of the Crabtrees and other families that were present during the initial filming in the early 1970s.

This documentary really makes me want return to Fouke with a little more time and a little more exploration. It’s a must-see for anyone who grew up both loving and fearing the ‘monster’ of Boggy Creek.

My only complaint … it wasn’t long enough.

4.5 out of 5.0 Ravens

Watch the trailer HERE.

 

Binging On Bigfoot

The 1970s was a, well, BIG decade for Bigfoot. It seemed like he was everywhere. On Saturday mornings we had ‘Bigfoot and Wild Boy”. Steve Austin took on a robotic version of the creature in The Six-Million Dollar Man, and of course, Leonard Nimoy went ‘In Search Of … Bigfoot.” There was even a Bigfoot board game where you got to track the elusive beast. But where Sasquatch really made his biggest imprint was at the movies!

When I learned about last month’s released of Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend the spiral into the depth of my childhood and my love and fascination with all things Bigfoot struck anew.  I selected five films from those fabulous 70’s to either watch for the first time or watch yet again to remind myself how good or bad they really were.

And so without further delay, let’s begin our Bigfoot Binge!

Bigfoot (1970) – Directed by Robert Slatzer. Starring John Carradine and Joi Lanning.

Two buxom and scantily clad babes are kidnapped by a small band of Bigfoots (or is that Bigfeet?)… Anyway … One of the ladies is part of a motorcycle ‘gang’ and her boyfriend isn’t too happy about his girl being taken hostage. Having been separated from his biker friends because these two just HAD to stop and have a romantic interlude down by the creek, and unable to catch up with them down the road, Rick returns to the general store where the group last stopped. With the locals and law enforcement unwilling to believe the biker’s story, he enlists the help of two traveling salesmen who just happen to have rifles and flashlights on hand.

Eventually it’s all-out war as Rick’s biker friends, who have returned to lend a hand, two traveling salesmen, three Indians, and Rick all chase down the leader of the Bigfoot band to try and save themselves and the kidnapped beauties!

Even John Carradine couldn’t save this one.

Watch It Here:  Bigfoot (1970)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – Directed by Charles B. Pierce. Narrated by Vern Stierman. Starring: The Fine Folks of Fouke, Arkansas as themselves.

In October 2014 on a return trip home from Texas, we decided to make a small detour to Fouke, Arkansas to realize a childhood dream, to see for ourselves where this movie was filmed.  As with many of our little trips, I wish we’d had more time to explore. As it was we were able to stop at Monster Mart and get a few souvenirs and pictures, but little else.

Told from the perspective of a young man growing up in the small town of Fouke, Arkansas, ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ always seems to stir up a lively conversation for people of a certain age who remember seeing it youngsters and being completely terrified by it. I am one of those people. The film is sort of a documentary, in that it stars mostly locals of the area telling and re-creating their lives during the time of the sightings.

I do have to wonder just how much of this is based on fact and how much has been over-dramatized or completely fictionalized to make it more interesting and profitable. Either way, it was realistic and creepy enough for an entire generation of people to never, ever forget it and to seek it out again for at least another couple of viewings as adults. This was without a doubt, the first Bigfoot movie I ever saw and I’m pretty sure it’s probably why to this day, I hate looking out my windows at night for fear of seeing someone, or something, standing out there looking back at me.

Additional movies, Return to Boggy Creek (1977), Boggy Creek 2: The Legend Continues (1985) and Bigfoot: Boggy Creek (2010) have all tried to capitalize on the story, but none were ever able to beat the popularity of the original. I am truly hoping the newest film mentioned earlier won’t disappoint.

Watch It Here:  The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

Mysterious Monsters: Bigfoot (1975) Documentary. Narrated by Peter Graves

Documentaries on Bigfoot (and a myriad of other cryptids) seem to have run rampant back in the good old 70s. In this case, the first fifteen minutes are devoted to the Loch Ness monster, before moving on to Bigfoot. Full of historic still photos, early captures on audio and video along with dramatized eyewitness accounts as well as statements given by the real witnesses, we are also told about other man-apes found throughout the world, Bigfoot as known by his many names worldwide, Yeti, Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, and Skunk Ape.

All in all, a seriously done documentary on what we knew and what was going on in the world of Bigfoot research in 1975. Though it’s a bit outdated, it’s still an interesting and informative watch.

Watch It Here: Mysterious Monster: Bigfoot (1975)

Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977) – Rated G – Directed by Ed Ragazonni. Starring George Lauris, Steve Boergadine, Ken Kenzle, Jim Bradford, Joe Morello

I saw this movie for the first time when it came out in theatres. My grandmother had wanted to treat me to a movie and being the odd child I was, this was my pick. She wasn’t so thrilled with my choice, but eleven-year-old me thought it was totally awesome at the time! It left me scared for many years. As an adult viewing it again, okay, maybe not quite so much, but it’s still a fun watch!

Seven men head out on horseback for a three-month-long expedition into the wilds of the American Northwest in search of Sasquatch. Among them we have the obligatory Mountain Man, a Native American guide, and the camp cook who also happens to be a crack shot with a rifle and, along with some pesky raccoons and a badger, provides us with comic relief along the way.

In between the long stretches of very Disney-esque scenes that felt more like a nature show than a movie about tracking Bigfoot, we are told some frightening tales in the form of flashbacks about previous encounters with the infamous creature in the area.

Our intrepid group doesn’t reach their destination, the heart of Sasquatch country, until the final fifteen-twenty minutes of the movie, but boy do they get what they’ve been asking for in those final minutes.

Watch It Here: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977)

The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) Directed by Bill Rebane. Starring Janus Raudkivi, Randolph Rebane and Stafford Morgan

Initially I was scared, very, very scared at what this movie might contain, being as it was brought to us by those same people who produced Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. But, I took a deep breath and braced myself for whatever I was about to commit myself to.

This time around we’re hunting Bigfoot in the American ‘North Country’, in this case that’s Wisconsin, where Bigfoot apparently prefers to wear white. Or maybe they’re like certain rabbits who change the color of their fur to suit the seasons.

Two trappers make the catch of the century when they snare a baby Bigfoot. Mama Bigfoot doesn’t take too kindly to this, leaving one trapper dead and the other seriously mauled. Word quickly spreads and soon others are out hunting down these elusive beasts and, as we all know, no good ever comes of a greedy business man who wants to cash in on capturing Bigfoot, some angry, gun-toting hunters, law enforcement, a vengeful Bigfoot Mama, and a nearby ski resort.

I was surprised at how good this movie actually turned out to be. I’m not saying it was good. I’m saying it wasn’t absolutely horrible. The acting was pretty good and the plot was interesting enough to keep me watching to the bitter end. And, they very skillfully included a couple of kids in one of the side plots. This would be a good one to watch while up in your winter lodge on a dark and snowy night.

Watch It Here: The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)

And there you have it, my lead up to viewing the newest film Boggy Creek Monster: The Truth Behind The Legend which, hopefully will be happening this weekend. Maybe even tonight! To learn more about this one, check out an interview with one of its creators, Lyle Blackburn over at the Monster Men Podcast on YouTube Episode #114 along with this trailer Boggy Creek Monster Trailer.

 

 

Road Gators, Vultures & Turkeys, Oh My!

I got me one of those new-fangled ‘smart’ phones about a month back. My previous phone was pretty old, took lousy pictures, and internet was next to impossible. I balked at spending so much on a new phone considering how little I used the old one, but not wanting to fall too far behind in the world of technology and thinking having something better for an upcoming road trip might not be such a bad idea, I bit the bullet and took the plunge.

Miraculously, I was able to transfer my minutes from my old phone to my new and input my contacts all by myself. Over the next two weeks, amongst other things, I learned how to answer my phone! Remember when all you had to do pick it up and say, “Hello?” I wanted to get to know this new piece of equipment as best I could before my teacher, my 23 year-old-son, was no longer available. Amazingly, my computer geek boyfriend’s phone is even more primitive than my old phone! He would be of no help whatsoever.

They say there are two tests that will either make or break a relationship; a building/remodeling project or a road trip. A road trip with a smoker not allowed to smoke in the car and this unfamiliar method of phone GPS promised to be an adventure. I was assured his need to smoke would coincide with my need to use the ladies room. This was not quite how it happened.

Our trip west was just over 1600 miles long one way. He’d traveled the roads twice on his own before and we’d made the journey together one-way a year and a half ago. His trips took two days. Our prior one-way took three, but we were pulling a U-Haul with a car stuffed to the gills. We allowed ourselves the time he’d made it in, two days. It seemed reasonable at the time. It also seemed a simple enough plan to take along lunch and drinks and snacks for the road. These were strategically placed, or so we thought, so that the passenger could easily turn around in their seat and get whatever beverage or edible was wanted.

Long story short, someone had to stop to pee AND have a smoke a whole lot more that there was need of the ladies room. Course, being as my daddy always taught me never to pass up a chance to pee while on the road, I made use of these stops, too. There was no hope of visiting Boggy Creek in Fouke, Arkansas, let alone play at Dinosaur World in Kentucky, but we did see plenty of Road Gators. Clearly we have different priorities when it comes to travel! Next time, damn it! As for those snacks and drinks, ease of retrieval involved undoing ones seat belt, turning around and half crawling into the back seat while your pilot cruised along at about 70 miles-per-hour keeping an eye out for the numerous police cars. Of course, if a cop had been spotted chances are pretty high in our less than nubile conditions, we’d never had made it back into our proper forward-facing seated positions in time. Hot coffee in a foam cup or thermos top was a blast. It was an adventure alright.

Admittedly it took longer than planned. We would like to blame a generous amounts of stop and go traffic due to construction, but I think it had more to do with too much coffee, sore bottoms, tired arms, head and neck aches, full bladders, nicotine fits, leg cramps, hunger and just plain “I’m tired and I’m cranky” moments. We rolled into the driveway of our final destination at about 1:15AM, a good three hours later than we’d hoped.

Our return trip thinking may not have been as well thought out as we’d intended. It’ll be faster if we miss all that construction, right? What’s a couple extra hundred miles, right? We’ll be going faster, right? It’ll be fine. Even if we get in by midnight, that’s alright. Did I mention Jim had to be to work by 2pm the day after we planned on getting home? No? Well… yeah. That’s not quite how it worked out either.

We got off track before we even left Texas! This is where the aforementioned new phone technology comes into play. It seemed a simple enough plan. Instead of going through construction riddled Waco and congested Dallas, we’ll just cut across and head towards Shreveport, Louisiana. Piece’o’cake. ‘Cept somehow we found ourselves heading towards Houston. Why does the car’s compass say we’re headed southeast? Without a paper map, we had to rely on my phone’s GPS which I had used maybe twice before and, of course, ‘Connection To GPS Has Been Lost’. Eventually, it kicked in well enough and long enough for me to figure out where we’d gone wrong and get us back on track, while Jim expertly avoided hitting a flock of five or six vultures dining on road kill armadillo. Past experience told him that it was in our best interest to not be driving around in the Deep South with a dead vulture pressed into the grill of the car.

We zipped through Louisiana and Mississippi like nobody’s business, keeping an eye on the numerous road gators, making certain they weren’t flesh and blood gators. We even stopped at the Mississippi Welcome Center and did a touch of site-seeing. Alabama welcomed us and at 9:30 we started looking for motels. By 10:00 our exhausted bodies and brains were settled in. As we unloaded the car, and the loud drone of whatever big and bizarre nocturnal bugs and birds they have in the woods of Alabama buzzed around us, we wondered what State “Deliverance” is supposed to be set in and if we were anywhere near there. (Answer: The remote northern Georgia wilderness on the fictional Cahulawassee River and no.) Course… there’s still Big Foot or Skunk Ape or whatever they call him down there, to deal with!

Our hopes high, we gobbled down hardboiled eggs, blueberry muffins, bananas, and coffee the next morning in the motel room and headed out, bright and early by 7am. Tennessee and Kentucky proved to be our friends. Yeah, we’ve made it to Virginia. I silently wished there was time to visit my cousin in Roanoke. And then, we saw the flashing lights.

“Urgent Message When Flashing” the roadside sign warned and told us where to tune for details. We tuned in. We listened. It didn’t seem to pertain to us. We sallied forth, returning to whatever decent rock station would come in, settling on country as we had to. Several miles later, “Right lane closed ahead. Prepare to stop.” Traffic reports on the radio told us there were delays ahead. We slowed to the pace of a rolling parking lot. Dead still and a walking pace swapped places for the next fifteen to twenty miles, at least. It seemed like a hundred. Jim threatened to get out and walk alongside the car while I drove so he could have a ciggy. It probably wasn’t really such a bad idea. I’m sure we’d have stayed abreast of each other well enough. Thank God neither of us needed to use the restroom.

Over the radio we heard something like this: “The right lane of Interstate 81 North in Botetourt County near mile marker 154 will remain closed until approximately 7 p.m. while crews continue clean up from a tractor-trailer accident. The tractor-trailer was hauling around 2,700 turkeys. Crews on scene are still removing turkeys from the area. Drivers are advised to keep watch for any other birds that may still be loose in the area.” What could we do but burst out laughing? I know, I know. It shouldn’t have been funny at all. Poor terrified turkeys and all, but all I could imagine were turkey running amok along the roadside like some sort of Warner Brother’s cartoon and an incident with my brother when he was just learning to read.

It was a different road trip entirely. I was seven. My brother would have been about ten. We were headed to Florida and suddenly he said, “Well, where are they?” One of my parents asked, “Where are what?” He said, “The chickens.” Confused looks were exchanged. “What chickens?” “The chickens I keep seeing the signs for.” More confused looks took place. He was instructed to point out one of these signs if he saw another and sure enough in only a few more miles he announced triumphantly, “There’s one! See! Speeding chicken by road! So, where are the chickens?” My parents both burst out laughing. “No, honey, that says, ‘Speed Checked By Radar’. My brother was quite disappointed.

We, too, were disappointed in some strange way. Not only did we not see any amok turkeys, speeding or otherwise, by the time we reached the accident site there was nothing but a dusting of white feathers scattered along the road while clean-up crew men picked up traffic cones and freed us to return to full highway speed once more. The Cracker Barrel in Bristol, Virginia fed us and the skies just outside of Winchester delighted us with a beautiful sunset. It was clear by now we were not going to make it home by midnight, not even close. GPS told us we still had five and a half hours to go. Stopping for the night seemed more sensible than getting ourselves killed.

Sleep was short and fitful. I felt so bad for Jim, knowing he was not sleeping any better than I was and that he had to be into work that afternoon. I took first shift driving, hoping he’d be able to get in a couple more hours of sleep at least. I’m pretty sure we were both feeling the stress more than either of us let on. We just wanted to get home.

By noon, we’d passed yet another test of our relationship. I realized along the way that different things about these trips and driving seemed to annoy us. That really worked to our advantage, because when one person was getting antsy and annoyed, the other was able to remain calm and interject some humor into the situation. We make a good team, me thinks.

Now… about that building project.