Rex Linn agreed to act in the movie under the condition that he got to play the monster in one scene.
EXISTS-United States-81 Mins. 2014
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez
Written by Jamie Nash
I have to walk a bit of a tightrope when it comes to reviewing the films of director Eduardo Sanchez. There’s a good reason for this: when I first began this blog in November of 2010 he was the first person I reached out to for an interview and fortunately he graciously accepted. During the interview he was courteous, informative and most of all patient as I struggled sometimes to ask relevant questions and maintain the proper train of thought. Since then I’ve been able to talk to him briefly at various times via social media and he is still just as kind as he was then. When I review his films I have a rule: If I dislike the film I don’t offer the same smart-ass attitude that I reserve for a majority of the bad films that I’ve had the displeasure of watching. I try to be as constructive as I can in my criticism because, simply put, the man deserves it. It was that way with The Blair Witch Project (which I loved); and Lovely Molly (not so much). Then, there is Exists.
I’ve made it clear several times that I believe Willow Creek to be arguably the best ‘found footage’ film that I’ve ever seen and that hasn’t changed. What has changed is that it is no longer the best Bigfoot movie that I have ever seen. I’m not being sycophantic when I tell you that cinematic achievement belongs to Eduardo Sanchez and his Exists. He gives us Bigfoot in the first five minutes of the film and never gives us a chance to breathe for the remainder of the film’s 81 minute running time. This isn’t Roger Patterson’s Bigfoot walking away from the camera and into the woods; this is the in-your-face, angry, rampaging king of the forest.
Sanchez and screenwriter Jamie Nash (Altered) keep the plot simple in order to keep the pace fast and the suspense cranked to it’s highest level. Five friends head into the woods to spend time in a cabin belonging to an uncle and are ceaselessly terrorized both night and day by the legendary cryptid. Like nearly all Sasquatch films we (nearly) never truly get a prolonged look at the creature and that’s a good thing because that means that Sanchez is giving us time to catch our breath. I sucked my breath in at the first encounter with the monster and didn’t exhale until the final frame of the film. I’ve often said that what you can’t see is ten times more frightening than what you can.
The worst criticism I have for Exists is that near the climax we are reminded a bit too heavily of the Blair Witch Project. It’s a reminder that lasts for a few seconds and I almost feel like I am nitpicking for even mentioning it. The main things that came to mind as I was watching Exists are that Eduardo Sanchez is the undisputed master of the found footage film. The second is that I may never venture into the woods again. If I do I will never, ever mess with Sasquatch.
Dora Madison Burge also appears in The Loft and Humans Versus Zombies.
Samuel Davis also appears in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Machete Kills.
Roger Edwards also appears in Bad Kids Go to Hell and Captain Phillips.
Chris Osborn also appears in Eye of the Tiger; Thrill of the Fight and Enemy of the Mind.
Denise Williamson also appears in Killer School Girls from Outer Space and Cherry Bomb.
BIGFOOT WARS-United States-94 Mins. 2014
Directed by Brian T. Jaynes
Written by Andrea Doss, Frederic Doss and Jacob Mauldin
Based on the best-selling book series “Bigfoot War” by Eric S. Brown
I begin this review with a back story. In 2012 I purchased my first, and so far only, Kindle Fire. One of the first books I bought to read with it was Bigfoot War by Eric S. Brown. Then came Bigfoot War 2, Bigfoot War 3 and so on and so on. What I’m trying to say here is that I have read every Bigfoot War book that I can get my hands on and usually with a voraciousness that rivals that of a starving pack of wolves. I became friends with Eric S. Brown on Facebook and have interviewed him for Written in Blood and watched as he chronicled his happiness at his work being adapted for the movie screen. There’s just one problem: after seeing Bigfoot Wars (why there was a need to add the ‘s’ to the end I do not know) for myself I find that even if I could I cannot share that happiness with him.
Bigfoot War the book is about a town that is besieged by a bunch of the biggest, meanest and most all-fire ill-tempered Sasquatch that you are ever likely to encounter. Human bodies are decapitated, dismembered and all around messed up and the mayhem is certainly not one-sided as the humans exact their pound of flesh from the hirsute beasts. The book is a gory, action-filled affair that never lets up from the word ‘go’ and if I remember correctly I read it in one sitting and was hungry for more.
Bigfoot Wars, the movie based on Bigfoot War, is a mess of a film that suffers from wooden acting, cookie cutter characters (the drug-addled doctor; the wily hillbilly hunter) and quite possibly the worst screenplay in the history of the movies. Bigfoot Wars is a result of what I call The Howling syndrome. Allow me to explain: The Howling was based on a book of the same title by Gary Brandner. When Brandner went to a screening of the movie he said that, aside from werewolves, there was nothing of his book up there on that screen. That was actually a good thing since the movie was more entertaining to watch than the book was to read. It’s just the opposite with Bigfoot War/Bigfoot Wars; there are Bigfoot in the movie and that’s about all that remains of Brown’s book and the movie is much the poorer for it. Bigfoot Wars is not about a town besieged by Sasquatch; it is about Bigfoot kidnapping women so they can get jiggy with them and about a sheriff who must rescue his daughter from the hairy lotharios before they can do the Bigfoot bop with her.
My question about the screenplay is why did Andrea Doss, Frederic Doss and Jacob Mauldin feel the need to make these changes to the story? What was wrong with the premise of the book? Why all the nudity and profanity? With his book Eric S. Brown used little if any swearing and I don’t recall there being any sexual activity whatsoever. I’m not a prude, don’t get me wrong. I do swear on occasion and I have been known to look at a nude female body on the internet from time to time. I guess my main point that I am trying to make about Bigfoot Wars is that if it wasn’t broke in the first place then why try to fix it?
C. Thomas Howell also appears in The Amazing Spider-man and Red Dawn (1984).
Judd Nelson also appears in Haunting of the Innocent and St. Elmo’s Fire.
Holt Boggs also appears in The Prodigy and The Cursed.
WILLOW CREEK-United States-80 Mins. 2013
Directed and Written by Bobcat Goldthwait
Bobcat Goldthwait may one day become the punchline of a Geico commercial:
Man: “Huh. 15 Minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
Woman: “Uh-huh. Everybody knows that.”
Man: “Well, did you know that Bobcat Goldthwait wrote and directed the best’ found footage’ movie of all time?”
There’s only one problem with that: it’s not a joke. Bobcat Goldthwait has officially written and directed the best found footage film of all time, or at least I think so. Goldthwait explores Bigfoot territory in Willow Creek-a film that is as tongue-in-cheek as it is absolutely terrifying. Willow Creek takes a slow ride to scaring the shit out of us and when it finally gets us to our destination Goldthwait pulls no punches in making our hearts crawl into our throats and out of our mouths to say ‘it’s been fun but fuck you very much.’ Do you want to know how much I enjoyed Willow Creek? I just watched it ten minutes ago as of my writing this post and already I’m psyched to watch it again. The old cliché about a film being a roller coaster ride of excitement has become new again with Willow Creek; only this ride has two settings: the slow ascent and the hellish ride down.
Jim and Kelly are re-tracing the steps made by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin when they filmed their historic footage of a Bigfoot as it strolled across their view and into infamy on October 20, 1967. Willow Creek divides Jim and Kelly in half-Jim has believed since he was eight years old; Kelly, not so much. There are the usual arguments: how come no one has ever found a body? How has a creature that big managed to avoid detection for all those years? As the couple move deeper into Bigfoot territory their search for Sasquatch takes a turn as they meet the ‘Bob Dylan of Bigfoot, Tommy Yamarone, who serenades the couple with ‘Roger and Bob (Rode Out That Day); and Tommy Red and his poignant ‘952 Frames of Truth’, a reference to the amount of film shot by Patterson and Gimlin on that day in ‘67. Deeper into Bigfoot territory and Jim and Kelly encounter a man who pointedly tells them to turn their car around and go back the way they came. Undaunted, our couple presses on by taking an alternate route into the terrain and setting up their campsite only to have it torn down by an unseen individual.
Nighttime is the wrong time for Jim and Kelly. For ten minutes Goldthwait, using the grainiest film he can find, puts us through sheer terror as the couple hear the sounds of wood being knocked together, an ungodly howl, the sound of a woman crying and as the sounds grow closer a sort of threatening, menacing scratch from deep in the throat and finally the rustling of the tent as whoever-whatever-presses against it and toys with their-and our-sanity. The scene outdoes every frame of The Blair Witch Project and never looks back as it drives a spike of terror into our chests and out the other side. However, the scariest part of the scene is not the noises and commotion outside the tent but the rationalization on the inside as Jim explains each sound or movement to a frightened Kelly. Afterward, the couple makes a decision that will impact them for the rest of the film.
Bobcat Goldthwait is known as that ‘comedian with the high-pitched voice that was in those Police Academy movies.’ He is also a director known for Shakes the Clown and satirical comedies such as World’s Greatest Dad and God Bless America. Willow Creek is a departure for Goldthwait to a certain degree. You can’t help but laugh when Jim and Kelly eat a Bigfoot burger or visit the Bigfoot bookstore and bed down at the Bigfoot Motel. Goldthwait lures us in with the subtle laughs before wrenching the terror to 10 in the final act; which despite being reminiscent of the finale of literally every ‘found footage’ film ever made Goldthwait still manages to make scary as hell. The only complaint I have about the film is a minor one: Goldthwait, although smart in casting relative unknowns Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson as Jim and Kelly, casts Peter Jason as a park ranger who recounts a story to Jim about a possible encounter with Bigfoot that left his dog bifurcated. Genre fans will recognize Jason from John Carpenter’s They Live and may be taken out of the world of Willow Creek for the brief time that he’s onscreen-but then again maybe I’m making something out of nothing. I do know that I wasn’t kidding about Willow Creek being the best ‘found footage’ film ever made. I’m even thinking about making a trophy and mailing it to the Bobcat. How does a gold representation of a dilapidated shack with a stash of film canisters underneath with the words “Best ‘Found Footage’ Movie. Ever” engraved on it grab ya?
The disclaimer ‘No Animals (or Bigfoot) were harmed during the production of this movie’ appears in the final credits.
Alexie Gilmore also appears in Surfer Dude and Definitely, Maybe.
Bryce Johnson also appears in Sleeping Dogs Lie and Supernatural: Bloodlines (TV).
BOGGY CREEK-United States-87 Mins. 2010
Directed by Brian T. Jaynes
Written by Brian T. Jaynes and Jennifer Minar
Five things that I liked about Boggy Creek:
1. There are beautiful shots of the swamp and the moss hanging low over the water from the trees.
2. There are beautiful shots of the swamp and the moss hanging low over the water from the trees.
3. There are beautiful shots of the swamp and the moss hanging low over the water from the trees.
4. There are beautiful shots of the swamp and the moss hanging low over the water from the trees.
5. There are beautiful shots of the swamp and the moss hanging low over the water from the trees.
That was the good part of Boggy Creek, now let’s look at the things I hated about the film; i.e., everything else.
1. The plot, if you take away the monster, plays out like a Hallmark Channel movie about a young girl, Jennifer, who comes to grips with the death of her father with the help of her friends Maya, Tommy, Dave and Brooke and by traveling to his old cabin in the woods of Boggy Creek to make peace with her past. It’s a good thing I keep a supply of Kleenex nearby as I found myself tearing up quite a bit.
2. The level of gore in Boggy Creek is non-existent aside from a few shots of entrails and a boar lying torn and bleeding on the hood of a car. You would think that a film about an 8 foot tall creature that could tear a person limb from limb with one hand whilst eating Jack Link’s beef jerky with another would have a hell of a lot more gore to it.
3. The death of a main character doesn’t occur until one hour and 10 minutes into the hour and 27 minute running time of Boggy Creek. I’ve heard of a screenwriter or author liking a character too much to want to kill them off but this is ridiculous.
4. The main character, Jennifer, is a runner. There’s a line that mentions that she goes on runs every morning. As soon it comes time for her to run from the big bad Bigfoot she tires out after a short distance. Do you know what I call being chased by a Bigfoot? I call it incentive to haul ass. What are you going to do; argue with it that it doesn’t exist?
5. There’s a sub-plot about a guy living next door whose wife was abducted by the creature. It only serves to give us a character that we will call “Scary Guy with Rifle Who Walks in the Woods Looking Solemn”.
Finally, we come to the main reason why I hated 99 and 44⁄100 per cent of Boggy Creek:
6. Bigfoot resembles a discarded throw rug combined with a Mr. Potato Head kit and is about as frightening as such. I’ve seen people in buffet lines that displayed more ferocity in 10 seconds than the creature in Boggy Creek does in 87 minutes.
There have been countless films made about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Fouke Monster or whatever he’s called in your neck of the woods; aside from the documentaries only two of those films, The Legend of Boggy Creek and Abominable, have displayed anything resembling a level of fright and suspense. Boggy Creek is another laughable, forgettable Bigfoot film in a long line of laughable, forgetting Bigfoot films.
0 BLOOD DROPS
Texas Battle also appears in Final Destination 3 and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.
Stephanie Honore also appears in The Final Destination and Mirrors 2.
Damon Lipari also appears in Shark Night 3D and The Guardian.
Shavon Kirksey also appears in Stalked at 17 and Dragonball: Evolution.
Melissa Carnell also appears in Humans versus Zombies.
Directed by Charles B. Pierce
Screenplay by Earl E. Smith
I said once that it’s easier to tear down a bad film than it is to build up a great one. “The Legend of Boggy Creek” totally flies in the face of that philosophy. Charles B. Pierce’ docudrama about the existence of a Bigfoot like creature in the wilds near Fouke, Arkansas is a new kind of bad that is nearly indefinable. For starters, Pierce decided to cast over 90% of the townsfolk as themselves. It’s bad enough when you suck at portraying another character; but when you suck at playing yourself…well that is a whole new level of suck. There are moments in the film that could be perceived as scary, like the infamous ‘Bigfoot attacks local yokel in the bathroom while he’s taking a crap’ scene. However, Pierce’s direction is so idiotic that he takes the thrills out of each and every scene. The only good idea he came up with was in not showing a clear shot of the creature, thereby leaving its appearance to our imaginations. Even so, “The Legend of Boggy Creek” is cause for Bigfoot to sue for defamation of character.
I wasn’t allowed to see “The Legend of Boggy Creek” when I was a kid. I was ten years old at the time of its release and I suppose my parents thought it would be too traumatic for me. It wasn’t until I was 25 years old before I finally tracked down a copy of the film to watch. That’s like waiting 15 years for a really big turd to come out of my ass.
The film was a tremendous success at drive-ins. It grossed 22 million dollars, making it the 7th highest grossing movie of its year.
The film is largely based upon actual reported encounters with a Bigfoot creature in the Fouke-Boogy Creek, Arkansas area throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. Most of the actors in the film were the real people from the encounters playing themselves.
Though Vern Stierman narrates the film it’s actually director ‘Charles B. Pierce’ heard interviewing some of the locals during audio clips. Pierce also sings the film’s folk theme song.
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