Monday, September 12, 2005
Bigfoot on Film
One of the most American of monsters, the character of Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch), a halfman/half beast creature that is believed to be living in the forests of US Northwest, has appeared numerous times on film. A recent movie taking on the subject is Sasquatch Hunters (originally titled Primeval before Sony picked it up for DVD distribution this year and changed the title). The low-budget film uses a combination of live action and digital effects to tell the tale of a group of forest rangers and researchers who come face-to-face with a clan of Bigfoot creatures during an expedition. But perhaps the most famous "Bigfoot" film is the Patterson-Gimlin film. On October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reportedly spotted a real Bigfoot in Bluff Creek, CA and shot about 24 feet of film, with a 16mm hand-held Kodak movie camera, before the creature ran away. (Next to the Abraham Zapruder film, a silent 8mm movie which captured the assassination of JFK, this little snippet of celluloid may just be the most famous amateur film of all time.) It generated an image of Bigfoot that is now known the world over and, in the 1970s, influenced a spate of B-films and "documentaries" about the creature. In short order, films such as Bigfoot (1970), The Legend of Boggy Creek (1973), Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot (1977) and The Capture of Bigfoot (1979) hit the big screen. The character even showed up in one of the most popular TV shows of the 70s: The Six Million Dollar Man. Played by both Ted Cassidy (Lurch of TV's The Addams Family) and Andre the Giant (wrestler and actor from The Princess Bride), Bigfoot teamed with the Bionic Man for adventures that fans of the series STILL say are their all-time favorite episodes. In the ET-friendly 80s, Bigfoot was recast as a kindly creature as depicted in Harry and the Hendersons (first on film and later in a short-lived TV series). But recently, the fear of the creature that sparked the nationwide interest back in the 70s, has returned in films such as Sasquatch Hunters. Interest in this monster story is apparently still fairly high, as Sasquatch Hunters, when released on DVD, jumped into the Top 10 List for Direct-to-Video title rentals and stayed there for six weeks. Do you have a favorite Bigfoot film? Do you remember the first time you saw the footage of the creature? Let me know. Post here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.