Format: DVD from DeKalb Public Library on basement television.
Until recently, I had never seen The Legend of Boggy Creek, but I had seen Boggy Creek II: The Legend Continues, which is inexplicably the third movie in the Boggy Creek oeuvre. I’ve seen the second/third film in this series because it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and to be fair to Mike and the bots, they made the right choice. I’m not going to sa which of these movies is worse, but I will say that Boggy Creek II is more entertaining for a number of reasons. For whatever reason, there’s a copy of this at my local library, so I figured it was time to watch.
I was originally going to save this review, banking it until I need 40 horror-related reviews at the end of October, but sometimes, you just have to go with what you have in front of you for one reason or another. In this case, there’s a moment in this movie that absolutely required that I post this immediately and not save it (and potentially forget this moment) months down the road. I promise that we’ll get there soon. I have to say that this moment—it’s just after 33 minutes into the film—is one of the most surreal things I have ever had happen to me while watching a movie. If you want to experience this for yourself without it being spoiled, stop reading here—don’t click to get past the break.
The Legend of Boggy Creek is a documentary-esque film about the “Fouke Monster,” a bigfoot-like creature wandering the in the southwest corner of Arkansas in the town of Fouke, just south of Texarkana. The film is presented as a sort of re-creation of stories told about the monster, often with the actual people playing themselves. These stories will touch on sightings of the creature, encounters with it, and a few people who are convinced that there is no creature. The film wants us to believe in the creature (and many of the recreations will show us essentially a guy in a bigfoot suit), which is exactly why this is done in a more documentary style.
The film is directed by one Charles B. Pierce, who sadly does not appear in the film. I say “sadly” because Pierce actually stars in Boggy Creek II as himself, playing an intrepid anthropological researcher looking for the creature. Here, though, he’s just the director. Not even the narration is done by him, but by Vern Stierman.
So let’s talk exactly why felt compelled to post this today rather than saving this for October when I’ll need a lot of reviews (and for which I am desperately behind at the moment). If you had made a list of things that would happen in this movie that I would not expect, I would have put “the narrator breaks into song” very low on that list, and yet it absolutely happens. Honestly, I thought I was hallucinating, and then it happened again. The second time, the narrator specifically starts singing about a kid in the area in a boat going out fishing. Travis Crabtree (played by himself) doesn’t encounter the creature, but he does get a song about him and about how great it is to go fishing.
The Legend of Boggy Creek is alleged to have made multiple millions of dollars at the box office in the months and years after it was released. I have to imagine that this would have potentially ended a few friendships. Imagine that you’re going out to the movies with some friends on a warm August or September evening in 1972. Your friend wants to see Super Fly, Sounder, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, or even a second-run theater showing of The Godfather, but instead, you insist on The Legend of Boggy Creek. You’d be hearing about that for the rest of your life.
There is a look a feel to this film that is similar to Faces of Death and The Last House on the Left. There’s a graininess to this that looks like grindhouse film stock not properly stored either before or after it was used. Based on my MST3K knowledge of Boggy Creek in general, I half expected Torgo to show up and talk about The Master.
The Legend of Boggy Creek is not a good movie. Any scares that show up here are incidental, mild, and aside form an incident or two that involve the creature actually approaching or attacking someone, nothing really ever happens, There are plenty of moments that could be turned into scare moments, but the movie never goes there. Much of this is because of how it is shot—is it a documentary? If it is, how is the film crew getting such good access to the creature?
Seriously, though, watch this for the singing. I still can’t quite believe it.
Why to watch The Legend of Boggy Creek: Who doesn’t love a good, local cryptid?
Why not to watch: You spent more than this film’s budget on your groceries this week.