This 1970 oddity opens with Joi (Joi Lansing) flying her private jet over California’s Big Bear Lake one fine afternoon, only to crash land into greenery a short while later. She’s okay, and quickly vacates the fallen vessel. For some unexplained but welcome reason, she decides to unzip her flying tracksuit and unveil the cleavage-revealing swimsuit beneath.
This is enough to get the titular creature’s pulse racing, and he pounces on her.
Next we meet a gang of travelling bikers, two of whom are loved up couple Rick (a bearded Chris Mitchum) and Chris (Judy Jordan). When their pals go for a ride one afternoon looking for somewhere to drink and dance badly, the amorous twosome decide to stay behind and make out in nearby woodlands.
Chris soon spies something iffy in the soil. Upon closer inspection, Rick discovers it to be Bigfoot lurking in the Earth. The creature rises and knocks Rick out with one punch, before tossing Chris over its shoulder and scarpering.
When Rick finally wakes and realises his woman has been abducted, he rushes to the nearest town and rings the local sheriff for help. The sheriff initially laughs Rick’s claims off, but passing salesmen Elmer (John Mitchum) and Jasper (John Carradine) pay the yarn more credence. Especially when they learn of the bounty that’s been put out for the capture of the creature...
Rick also enlists the help of his biker pals in his search for his beloved Chris. As they all venture into the heart of the California Big Bear forest, they have little idea of what they’re about to face.
Unlike Joi and Chris, that is, who we soon learn are tied to stakes in their bikinis, at a camp built by not one but an entire family of Bigfoots. "They’re a dying race and they want to reproduce more of their own kind" Joi tells a fretful Chris. Brilliant.
There isn’t much more to add in terms of synopsis. BIGFOOT is what it is, from its gratuitous scenes of women running through greenery in their bikinis to ridiculous fist-fights between monsters and bikers. There is no logic or consistency to any of it, and the storyline effectively collapses about 30 minutes into the 83-minute running time.
The last time I looked, BIGFOOT scored an average rating of 1.7 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database. Just to put that into perspective, Ezra Gould’s incomprehensible, pretentious and boring SAINT FRANCIS – a criminal waste so far as "Dita von Teese’s screen debut" goes - scores an average of 4.5.
I have to admit though, I actually quite like BIGFOOT. I saw it on telly as a kid and maybe that’s why I’m so forgiving. Or perhaps I’m just the type to derive perverse pleasure from watching renowned actors shamelessly partaking in terrible filmmaking just to feed their (alleged) habits. If I’m honest with myself, it’s a little bit of both.
Okay, BIGFOOT is shot with all the finesse of an episode of ‘Cagney and Lacey’. It’s a sucker for utilising stock footage of greenery and overhead outdoor shots. And it’s edited in a manner that seems to focus on drawing out the mundane, cutting short the moments that should be exciting highlights.
But I can see past all that. I can see past the staccato pacing which sees pauses in dialogue almost as often as those in David Cronenberg’s CRASH. Of course, Cronenberg no doubt intended his pauses – I very much doubt that director Robert F Slatzer meant the conversations in BIGFOOT to stop and start so jarringly.
So what if the acting is truly terrible (I swear you can see some actors holding back their laughter) and everything has been put together in such a way that continuity seems to be something that was consciously avoided?
The fact remains that some bad films are good, if only for the wrong reasons. BIGFOOT is great for all of the above reasons, and also for its reliance on some of the most amusing ‘man in a monster suit’ creatures this side of the 1981 NIGHT OF THE DEMON. The budget is clearly very low – I’m sure there’s a moment where one of the monsters’ suits flaps up around the waistline. Oh, the hippyish score is unintentionally cool, too.
The film is presented here in a crud full-frame transfer that exhibits the same softness and diluted colours that you’d associate with old video. Bizarrely, it sort of suits the film. However, it’s worth noting that the original aspect ratio is supposedly 1.85:1.
English mono audio is surprisingly clean.
Cheezy Flicks’ region-free DVD opens with a static main menu page. From there, a static scene selection menu allows access to the main feature via 9 chapters.
Extras begin with an 11-minute promo reel showcasing other films from the Cheezy Flicks roster. These include DESTINATION INNER SPACE, THE LOST MISSILE, FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (this looks awesome), INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS, BLOODSUCKING NAZI ZOMBIES, THE NAVY VERSUS THE NIGHT MONSTERS and ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE.
We also get a pretty painful 6-minute reproduction of an original vintage cinema ‘intermission’ – cinema adverts, basically. They’re mildly funny, I suppose, but they’re equally redundant.
BIGFOOT is a terrible film. But, call it nostalgia or maybe plain bad taste, but I have a soft spot for this film. It looks like crap on this DVD, but that’s a given. Until someone releases a restored version of the film – which I reckon is hugely unlikely – this will suffice.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by CHEEZY|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|