Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. As elusive as the creature itself, it’s damn hard to find a good Bigfoot movie. Being a firm believer that something is out there in the woods with some feet that would fill clown shoes and then some, I try to catch just about every Bigfoot film I can, no matter how good or bad. Right around this time last year, I checked out a whole Foot Locker full of Bigfoot films, so I figured I’d make it a yearly tradition. We’re grading these films by FOOTS and TOES with 5 FOOTS being the best of the best. So enjoy the Sasquatchonian cinema below and remember that giant shape roaming around in the woods might not be your Aunt Trudy. It might just be BIGFOOT!!!!
(Click title to go directly to the feature)
NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980)
CURSE OF THE BIGFOOT (1978)
TROMA’S BIGFOOT (2006)
SWEET PRUDENCE & THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT (2012)
DRAWING FLIES (1996)
LOST WOODS (2012)
And finally…DEATH OF A DREAM!
NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980)aka BIGFOOT SANGRIENTO
Directed by James C. Wasson
Written by Jim L. Ball, Mike Williams
Starring Michael Cutt, Joy Allen, Bob Collins, Jodi Lazarus. Michael Lang, Richard Fields, Maria Kanellis, and Shane Dixon as the Bigfoot!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
I’ve been searching for a good Bigfoot film for so long, I was about to give up hope…that is, until I feasted my bloodshot eyes on NIGHT OF THE DEMON. While the film may not be the best acted or directed, it takes the cake at being the most bugshit, batnuts crazy Bigfoot film ever made in terms of gore and violence. And that gets a lot of credence here at AICN HORROR.
The film begins with a cadre of doctors and psychologists around the bed of a man with a handkerchief over his face. We learn his name is Professor Nugent and he is the sole survivor of a group of anthropology students outing gone horribly, horribly wrong. Nugent desperately tries to convince the doctors that Bigfoot, the monster of folklore and SyFy shows, actually exists.
And he’s super fuckin’ pissed.
Though the entire film is told via flashback from Nugent’s bedside, the film’s most enjoyable moments happen as these idiot anthropologists begin interviewing the townies and sharing their own second-hand stories of encounters with the big hairy one. In these flashbacks, you will be privy to the most heinous and vicious Bigfoot attacks you will ever see in a film.
Due to the graphic nature of the attacks, the film was apparently banned in the UK. And rightly so. The violence in this film is most definitely ahead of its time. You’re more likely to find this types of gore in a Herschell Gordon Lewis film or a HOSTEL movie than any Bigfoot film I’ve ever seen.
Just to name some of the standout sequences, we’ve got Bigfoot stealing an axe from a lumberjack and using it on him. Though the scene may strike you as something Jason Voorhees would do rather than America’s Yeti, you’ll lose your shit as one of the hockey masked one’s most famous kills (the sleeping bag kill) happens in NIGHT OF THE DEMON first as Bigfoot nabs a dude in a sleeping bag, swings him over his head numerous times, then impales him on a tree branch.
Bigfoot also shows his inner MacGruber as he seamlessly tears out the throats of a couple of his victims. We also get to see one of the most hilarious kills of all as Bigfoot makes two adult Girl Scouts stab each other with buck knives while bellowing “BBBLLLLLLLOOOOAAAARRRR!?!?!?!” which I believes roughly translates in Bigfootese as “Why are you stabbing yourself? Why are you stabbing yourself?!?!”
But nothing can prepare you for the kill this film is best known for as Bigfoot, for no apparent reason, rips a biker’s penis off while he’s taking a leak. And every painful moment is shown on camera as Bigfoot reaches up from the bushes, grabs the bikers’ nethers, and tears it off. As the biker screams “OHHH NOOO!!!”, streams of blood pour out all over his chopper. It most definitely gets the award for most toe-curlingest gore kill of the film.
As I said before, the acting here is awful, but at least director James C. Wasson tries to make the kills somewhat artsy. The opening credit sequence is inspired as Bigfoot attacks a man, rips his arm off, and then there is an awesome shot of the blood pooling into a giant footprint. In those first few moments, you know you’re in for a bloody good ride.
Most of the others serve to highlight the gore, but there is a jaw-droppingly choreographed in slo mo sequence during the finale that will have you roaring right along with Bigfoot as he disposes of six campers at once a la Savini’s awesome hedge-clipper sequence from THE BURNING. The use of Bigfoot vision is also utilized hilariously, as through POV cam bordered by red filter we see Bigfoot stalk his prey.
Shane Dixon plays Bigfoot himself and does a fantastic job of balancing the man vs ape feel of the creature. The costume is surprisingly good with his front half bare and his back and limbs covered with coarse hair. There are even some nice facial appliances that allow for the monster to use expressions that you don’t normally see in most Bigfoot films.
NIGHT OF THE DEMON’s narrative hinges on a woman who was raped by Bigfoot as a young girl and had his baby. There’s also a crazy cult in the woods worshipping Bigfoot. I’m telling you, this film has it all and will most definitely make you feel uncomfortable while muttering “Holy shit, that was cool.” at the same time. Having seen this film, I think I’m experiencing the same feeling I would feel if the actual Bigfoot was caught: that after all of this time looking for the perfect Bigfoot film, now that I’ve found it, now what do I do?
You’ll never forget NIGHT OF THE DEMON. For all of its faults, I fear, it’s most definitely the best, goriest, most gut-bustingly sick Bigfoot film ever made! It doesn’t get any better than this.
NIGHT OF THE DEMON = 5 FOOTS!!!
CURSE OF BIGFOOT (1978)aka TEENAGERS BATTLE THE THING
Directed by Don Fields/David Flocker
Written by James T. Fields
Starring Bob Clymire, Jan Swihart, Bill Somonsen, & Dennis Kottmeier as the Bigfoot Mummy!
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug
You have to give this one points for originality. CURSE OF THE BIGFOOT isn’t your typical Bigfoot movie. This one has a mummified Bigfoot on a rampage!
A class of archeologists uncover a secret cave where an ancient Bigfoot is buried. Of course. it wakes up and ambles after them for lengthy periods of screen time. The monster itself looks like it was made from the pelts of about twelve different animals (especially the creepy mask). This snail-paced z-budgeter takes about an hour and ten minutes to actually get to the Bigfoot mummy, leaving just about 15 minutes for the Bigfoot mummy to go on a rampage. The first hour of the film is filled with stock footage of nature, animals, and lumber mills and lengthy and needless exposition. Even those with a patient fast forward finger will be tempted to skip ahead on this one to the parts with the monster. But once the monster is loose, it’s pretty fun as the beast wanders around, looms into the camera, and breaks tons of stuff. Despite the horrible special effects, the stilted acting, and god-awful pacing, the idea of a mummified Bigfoot is pretty awesome, giving this one a toe up on most Bigfoot films.
CURSE OF BIGFOOT = 2 FOOTS, 2 TOES!
HOWLS (2011)Directed and written by Jamie Tracey
Starring Joseph Gallo Jr., Nick Smyth, Jamie Tracey, and Andrew Hill, Kyle Fisher, & Kyle Everson as the Bigfeet!
Find out when and where you can see this film here and on the Facebook page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
HOWLS is one of those low budget gems that knows exactly the limitations it has and maximizes everything else about it to make it a fully enjoyable experience. While some horror films reach well beyond their means and show it obviously and amateurishly, HOWLS is able to convey an engrossing story with likable characters who just happen to be in a pretty scary story.
Though I don’t want to give too much away, HOWLS is about a pair of friends lost in the woods who encounter something not human. Whereas most bigfoot tales rely on phony looking guys in monkey suits stomping around the forest, HOWLS only shows just enough of the monster to convey a sense of danger and creep. Writer/director/star Jamie Tracey does a great job with what he has. Described bluntly, it is a pair of guys walking around a forest. But it’s the performances by Joseph Hallo Jr, Nick Smyth, and Jamie Tracey himself that make this story so much more than that. Because I came to care about these guys, my concern for their safety was intensified as they got deeper and deeper in the woods. The payoff at the end is both satisfying and exciting, mainly due to Tracey’s patience and excellent build up.
HOWLS is not one of those films that kicks in the door and announces it’s here, but it will creep up behind you and give you a good jolt.
HOWLS = 4 FOOTS!
TROMA’S BIGFOOT (2006)Directed by Bob Gray
Written by Bob Gray
Starring Todd Cox, Liza Foster, Bob Gray, & Shawn Kipp as the Bigfoot!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Surely the twisted minds at Troma would be able to deliver a half-way decent Bigfoot film.
Well, this tale of a military man returning home is better than some, but still pretty subpar. Some of the laughs hit the mark and there are some great scenes of gore. The opener is fantastic as the camera slowly flips from calm river beds to open fields to birds flying and a baby raccoon playfully bounding across the grass…then it’s snatched up and eaten by a Bigfoot! The final standoff between the military guy (armed with fireworks!) and the Bigfoot is so over the top, it’s hilarious. Though there’s a goofy vibe to this one (I love it how Bigfoot just ganks folks into the woods over and over in this film), this version of Bigfoot is much more tame in the gore and goofiness factors than most Troma stuff. This one had the potential of going ballz out, but wavers between wanting to be taken seriously and not giving a shit. You get the feeling that the folks making this one had a ball doing it, but only a portion of that transfers into the final cut. The potential for great fun is there, but it’s just a few feet short.
TROMA’S BIGFOOT = 2 FOOTS, 1 TOE!
Can be seen this month on Cinemax! (BWAH!)
SWEET PRUDENCE & THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT (2012)Directed by William Burke
Written by William Burke
Starring Angie Bates, Albina Hussain, Michael Slade, Lynzey Patterson, Luke Gallo, Heather O'Donnell, Bianca Gross, and Daniel Moshe Johnson as the Bigfoot!
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
So yeah, SWEET PRUDENCE & THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF BIGFOOT is one of those flicks you "happen upon" late at night on cable. One of the films that earned Cinemax the nom de plume Skinemax. It's a lo fi T&A film with lots of sex, a bare bones plot, and acting that consists of plasticine models whose faces seem to be stuck with a doe-eyed wonder look and buff dudes who like to walk around with their shirts unbuttoned. It's also got Bigfoot in it and since this is a Bigfoot column, I felt it was my duty to watch it and report back to you guys about it.
I know, it's a tough job.
Turns out, as far as skin flicks go, this one is actually not bad. The story revolves around a resort which has been hit financially lately because recent sightings of Bigfoot have scared away all of the clientele. Turns out, Bigfoot is kind of horny and curious and you probably would be too since most of the folks at this resort frolic around in their birfday suits and like to enjoy such recreational activities as yoga...in the nude, hot-tubbing...in the nude, lounging and swimming around the pool...in the nude, and of course, skinny dipping. A buxom blonde grad student, a buff and manly grad student, and their grad student friend who likes to be naked a lot and have sex (which is a pretty good description of nearly everyone in this film) decide that the only way to pass their classes is to get a snapshot of the legendary beast and set out for the resort. At the same time, there's a weaselly tracker in camouflage who wants to kill Bigfoot lingering around the camp too.
No one's going to be winning any academy awards in this film, but it sure looks like they are genuinely enjoying themselves having all of that sex. There actually is a lot of humor here and most of the time it actually hits its mark. Though of the lowbrow flavor, most of the jokes involve the same type of potty humor one might find in an AMERICAN PIE film. It's harmless jokes about bodily fluids. And though one of the jokes was lifted from TRADING PLACES involving a monkey suit and a real ape (you know the one), the reaction from the actor involved in this joke pulls it off pretty hilariously.
Oh, yeah. Bigfoot. He's here. He makes some appearances in between the sex scenes. The filmmakers try to explain what he is, which is more than a lot of Bigfoot flicks do, and though the science is not the brainiest, it's somewhat fun. Bigfoot does have a sex scene, as the relationship with one of the buxom babes is the central point of the story, but instead of the usual Bigfoot rape scene we get in most Squatch films, the sex had here is consensual and, according to the reaction of the actress, highly enjoyable.
The babes are gorgeous in this film. But that's a given in this type of film. It's definitely not something a lot of folks will admit that they sawt, but I have a feeling a lot of folks will check it out given the fact that the film is on heavy rotation on Cinemax at the moment. Sure, there are those who will get all haughty, hollering "How dare you review a skin flick on such a highbrow site as AICN?" But the fact is that as far as skin flicks go, at least this one is funny most of the time, has gorgeous babes doing naughty things, opens with a well made cartoon/comic book montage, and stars Bigfoot, which elevates it to the upper echelon as far as skin flicks go in my book.
SWEET PRUDENCE & THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF BIGFOOT = 2 FOOTS 4 TOES!!!
This trailer is most definitely not safe for work!!!!!
SWEET PRUDENCE: TRAILER by SweetPrudence
DRAWING FLIES (1996)Directed by Matthew Gissing, Malcolm Ingram
Written by Matthew Gissing, Malcolm Ingram
Starring Jason Lee, Renée Humphrey, Jason Mewes, Carmen Llywelyn, Martin Brooks, Joey Lauren Adams, and Kevin Smith as the Bigfoo—I mean, as Silent Bob, & Rob Glancy as the Bigfoot!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Kevin Smith produced this low budget stumble core film which is more like DAZED & CONFUSED than actual Bigfoot horror. Sure, Bigfoot shows up from time to time, mostly in the daydreams and nightmares of the film’s star Donner (played by Jason Lee), but this is much more a wandering slacker comedy genre than anything else. Since I’m a completist, I did want to include this little 60 minute ditty in this year’s selection of Bigfoot films. The film itself, directed by Matthew Gissing and Malcolm Ingram, is kind of cool as Donner tricks a group of friends into accompanying him into the Canadian woods in search of Bigfoot. Hijinkery ensues as Jason Mewes plays someone other than Jay, but has a lot of the same traits.
Filmed in black and white, the story proves to be kind of an interesting descent into madness tale with shades of THE HEART OF DARKNESS as Donner decides to shed his civilized life for a more rustic life among the Sasquatch. Though there’s nothing menacing going on, there is a lot of Kevin Smith-ish dialog filled with potty humor, homosexual/homophobic comments, and observations comparing pop culture with real life (in this one, Scooby Doo and his friends are put on the intellectual dissection table). Anyone who has seen a Kevin Smith film knows the type of humor found here by now. So if you like what you saw in CLERKS, MALLRATS, and JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKES BACK, you’ll probably want to seek out DRAWING FLIES, since it’s got a lot of the cast and more of the same scripting. But if you’re looking for Bigfoot scares and horror, keep searching.
DRAWING FLIES = 3 FOOTS!
New this week from Midnight Releaseing!
LOST WOODS (2012)Directed by Nathan Ellering & Phillip Ellering
Written by Joey Brown, Nathan Ellering & Phillip Ellering
Starring Joey Brown, Garrett Vander Leun, Nina Brissey, Phillip Ellering, Nathan Ellering, and Tosh Matteis as the Bigfoot!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
I really dug this lo fi Bigfoot wilderness tale. When I posted the clip from LOST WOODS a couple of weeks ago, some got their rage on in the Talkbacks. Though the budget is on the smaller side, the acting is hit and miss, and the Bigfoot is an obvious man-in-suit, directors Phillip & Nathan Ellering have put together a thoroughly entertaining film about male bonding, the great outdoors, and age-old legends.
There are some films that come off as straight up horror. Others have horror elements, but the interests lay in other areas such as drama, comedy, or sci fi. But there is a rare breed of film that feels like, given the money, it could be just a shade lower than blockbuster status. LOST WOODS is that type of film. Though the seams of budgetary restriction are visible here, I couldn't help but wonder what the two directors could do given a bigger budget. The ideas are there, the comedy is there, and the well rounded characters are all there. It's just that, given the limitations of budget, it's just not quite "great" yet.
LOST WOODS focuses on a quartet of guys and a girl who go out into the middle of the woods for a "man-cation". The four men are middle-aged and not in their prime anymore. Some have become successful, some have retreated from reality, while others have barely evolved past high school and are in a perpetual state of adolescence. The most engaging parts of this film are the smaller scenes of male bonding of singing a song they all know or ragging on one another incessantly (which, for those of you women who don't know, is the male equivalent of women saying "I love those shoes" to one another). The group of actors do this convincingly and comfortably, as if these guys really did grow up together, and given the low budget, this is probably the case. The strength of LOST WOODS lies in the successful establishment of the connection between these characters. It makes all of the dire things that happen once Bigfoot appears all the more effective.
Now, some might not like the look of the Bigfoot in this film. It is somewhat unrealistic as the beast looks more like Rawhead Rex or some hairy guy on Venice Beach, and I have to say that the actor playing Bigfoot could have moved a little more like an animal and less like a linebacker. That said, the face of the monster is pretty darn cool and menacing. I especially like the way that they highlighted the eyes with a red-eye glow that usually only occurs when animals are photographed with a flash camera. Though the laser eyes might be a detour from the regular way we look at Bigfoot, given the back story that gets explored later in the film, the mystical elements at play here do make the glowing eyes feasible.
Regarding the mystical elements of LOST WOODS, without revealing too much, it does touch upon both elements from HIGHLANDER and the Native American legend of the Wendigo. While this isn't particularly new in folklore, there aren't too many Bigfoot films dealing with the reason why Bigfoot has always been characterized as a nomadic wanderer of the forest. Here is makes sense and adds an element of cool that comes into play late in the film.
I don't want to oversell this film. It is low budget. The actors involved are capable, but not the best. But LOST WOODS succeeds in being an effective character study of male bonding as well as a pretty fine wilderness adventure film. The clunky suit and less than effective gait of Bigfoot aside, the beast is a formidable one and shades of PREDATOR are definitely at play in the latter half as most of the cast is whittled down by that time and it's just man, nature, and Sasquatch battling it out. LOST WOODS may not be the best, but it is a worthy addition to the Bigfoot subgenre.
LOST WOODS = 3 FOOTS 4 TOES!
And finally…possibly the best song ever written in the history of songs ever written…about Sasquatch. Take it away, Kyle and JB!
See ya next week, folks!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in October 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released in March 2012.
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