By Scott Phillips- May 26, 1998:
The Legend of Boggy Creek (1973)
Do I even need to review this flick?
Regular readers already know that Charles B. Pierce's classic is the Bigfoot movie.
This "true story" is told documentary-style, "recreating" sightings of--and better yet, attacks by--the creature that dwells in the swamps near Fouke, Ark. Featuring crotchety old fellas hanging around and spitting, Boggy Creek does what no other Bigfoot flick can do--actually give me the heebie jeebies. Sure, the creature looks like a skinny guy in a mouldering fur suit, but Pierce manages to do something few directors can do: direct the landscape, bringing a mysterious and spooky feel even to the daylight scenes.
Now, before you get the idea that I'm saying this is some kind of horror classic on a par with, say, The Exorcist, let's get one thing clear: A huge amount of this movie's atmosphere is provided by the weird, low-budget, see-it-at-the-drive-in-with-your-scared-girlfriend (or boyfriend, as the case may be)-quality of the thing, and not necessarily by the talent of the filmmakers.
But by God, if you can watch the scenes of the creature lurking outside isolated houses and scaring cats to death (!) and then go to bed without being freaked by the tree branch scratching against your window, you're a better man than I.
And what about those songs! "Perhaps he dimly wonders why/There is no other such as I/To touch, to love before I die/To listen to my lonely cry ..."--call it "Love Theme From Boggy Creek," call it "Shit Sandwich," but this sad ballad crooned over footage of the creature shambling through the forest will outlast that damn song from Titanic, I'm here to tell you.
Then there's "Bring me the Head of Travis Crabtree," featuring inspired lyrics like: "Hey Travis Crabtree/Wait a minute for me/Let's go back in the bottoms/Back where the fish are bitin'/Where all the world's invitin'/And nobody sees the flowers bloom but me ..." Take that, Celine Dion! Why touching ballads in a Bigfoot movie? Why the hell not! And check out Herb, who limps because he "accidentally shot part of his foot away in a boating accident." No song for Herb, but he's a great guy anyway. A hugely important drive-in classic.
Watch it late at night, curled up in bed with the lights off. (Lightning)
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