“If fingerprint evidence can be used to hang someone, why can’t footprint evidence be used to prove the existence of someone?”
A BRIEF PERSONAL HISTORY
The year: 1976. The place: Bellingham, Washington. In an effort to discover the origins of my love for horror movies, I’m turning to the first movie to scare the ever-lovin’ shit out of me: a documentary titled The Mysterious Monsters. According to the trailer, it promised actual indisputable proof of the existence of three legendary monsters: The Abominable Snowman, The Loch Ness Monster, and the real selling point – Bigfoot. Bigfoot was huge in the 70s, appearing in everything from The Six Million Dollar Man (as Bionic Bigfoot, no less) to the Saturday morning kids’ show, Bigfoot And Wildboy. As a fan of both shows, and foreseeing the need for material for ColuMn, I felt it was my sacred duty to attend a showing of this film. Somehow, my parents agreed and took me on one fateful night.
What I witnessed that night utterly convinced me of the existence of these creatures and further convinced me that they all (and especially Bigfoot) thirsted for my blood. What followed was a week of nightmares, insomnia, and sleeping in my parents’ bed. Tonight I view that film again for the first time since the initial viewing. I’m hoping it will not be so traumatic. My parents live many miles away now and would not appreciate me showing up at midnight, frantic and begging them to let me stay there.
Available on Amazon for less than the price of a lapdance (the only thing I compare prices to), I ordered a copy last Friday. It arrived today (Tuesday) and I didn’t even have to pay extra for shipping (I think). The cover features a giant big foot apparently stomping out the entire planet Earth. Below are still frames of all society’s monsters: Bigfoot, Nessie, the Yeti, and Peter Graves.
I am somewhat put off when I see the dvd is distributed by “Cheezy Flicks”. I am further bothered by the last line in the back of the box description, “Hosted by Peter Graves, the host.” Something tells me this isn’t exactly going to be a Criterion Collection-caliber presentation.
Puzzling, but not exactly disappointing is the stand-alone text that reads, “BIGFOOT! Making Big News”. I guess they forgot to include any context or source in the rush to get this important film into the public’s terrified hands.
No explanation is necessary. These are simply the chapter titles for the documentary as listed on the dvd.
ALSO FROM CHEEZY FLICKS
Trailers are included for all of these forgotten grindhouse classics:
The Legend Of Boggy Creek
House Of Whipcord
Jive Turkey, which includes this title card:
THE HISTORY OF MONSTERS
Peter Graves almost swears on his children’s lives that this will be “the most startling movie you’ll ever see.”
A guy in the fakest-looking Bigfoot costume outside of a K-Mart peers out of the trees as the viewer realizes this was obviously intended to be just a Bigfoot movie, with Nessie and Yeti tossed in as an afterthought.
The quality of this transfer is somewhere on the scale between “shit” and “what’s supposed to be happening here?”
It starts out with Bigfoot, immediatle throwing all of my so-called memories into question. I would have sworn it ended with Bigfoot.
You always forget about the “overwheling stench”.
Is this true? The panda wasn’t discovered until 1937? I think Bigfoot needs new representation. He probably would have been discovered much sooner if he was cute. And if not for the whole “overewhelming stench” thing.
It looks like they’re using Bigfoot as a framing device. We’re now learning about the Loch Ness Monster.
The photos of Nessie are fairly compelling. This movie is winning me over and I’m questioning the appropriateness of calling this a “Cheezy Flick”.
So basically it looks like this movie will present archival footage alongside eyewitness interviews and current (in 1976) scientific expeditions to determine whether or not these creatures exist. This is a solid movie for what it is and when it was made. That said, I fear that they will at somepoint employ “dramatic recreations”. *sigh*
Observation: explosions are awesome. Even more awesome: explosions caused by actual living dinosaurs.
A LARGE POPULATION OF HAIRY GIANTS
The Bigfoot suit returns. It still looks like a homemade Chewbacca costume.
Did I say “dramatic recreation”? These aren’t horrible, but they totally undermine any credibility that the movie had somehow, against all odds, established.
After briefly checking in on Bigfoot, we’ve abruptly moved on to the Yeti, or as Shaggy would call him, The Abominable Snowman.
None of the evidence supporting the Yeti is very convincing. But, see, they’re implying that the Yeti and Bigfoot are the same thing.
This is shaping up to be a chapter made up of dramatic recreations.
Oh god. This is terrible. Bad acting combined with what could be a close encounter with a coked up naked Robin Williams may be the disturbing thing Graves was talking about at the beginning of the film.
Now we’re into some on-camera interviews with completely unconvincing eyewitnesses.
Peter Graves interviews a scientist and tries to convince him that science sucks and “oral testimony” should have as much or more weight than actual physical evidence. Graves gets visibly exasperated when the scientist refuses to agree.
Graves then interviews a more agreeable scientist who has obviously been drugged.
What’s better than your average dramtic recreation? A dramatic recreation featuring extremely untalented and homely children.
FOOTPRINTS OF A GIANT
Plaster casts, photos, and photos of plaster casts. Still, Doctor Science remains unconvinced. Fuckin’ science. Jesus feels your pain.
Nobody has either asked or answered the most important question: does Bigfoot also have a big penis?
PHYSICAL & PSYCHIC “EVIDENCE”
This extremely dubiously titled chapter starts out terribly with another ill-conceived and poorly executed dramatic recreation.
Graves takes sound recordings of Bigfoot to a 1976 computer geek. This is really the most interesting part of the documentary yet as we witness the “state of the art” technology in use. Computers have come a long way. That brings the score to Science: 1, Peter Graves: 0.
This movie is way longer than it should be.
This part is so boring. But now we’re visiting the “world’s foremost psychic detective”.
Peter Graves just used the term “psychometrize’.
Maybe a psychic shouldn’t be your star witness. I don’t care how much psychometrizing he does.
The psychic is drawing a picture of Wolfman Jack.
More eyewitness reports. Dare I hope for more dramatic recreations? You know I do. And I am not disappointed.
Okay. This is the one that scared me as a kid.
Now they’ve convinced a witness to take a lie detector test. Something tells me Dr. Science would reject this as irrefutable proof that bigfoot exists.
No wonder this freaked me out though. This bigfoot sighting took place just a few miles from where I grew up.
Now hypnosis. They’re pulling out all the stops to completely discredit their “case”.
This begins the discussion of the “Patterson Film”, sort of the Zapruder film of Bigfoot enthusiasts. Gotta say, it looks pretty authentic to me. I’m sure Dr. Science disagrees.
Yep. Science is shitting on it. But they’re totally burning science by getting a nerd to explain away all science’s criticisms. Hey, Science. Quit being a dick.
Not sure why this is a separate chapter. See my above comments regarding the Patterson Film.
LIVING HABITS OF THE BIGFOOT
At this point, the producers are just as fed up with science as we are. Shoving a giant middle finger in The Man’s face, Graves begins completely making shit up.
Example: “The young of the bigfoot probably enjoy a longer childhood than other animals.” (citation needed)
THE EVIDENCE IS CONCLUSIVE
I have seen no conclusive evidence in this movie. Peter Graves sums it up best: “Bigfoot is as much a part of our life as the gorilla or the Loch Ness Monster.”
Amen, Peter Graves. Amen.
Eh. Nothing that frightening here. But as a time capsule of the bigfoot craze of the mid-70s, it’s really rather well done. Worth the cost of a lapdance? Let’s not get crazy. In the words of science, “The only thing worth the cost of a lapdance is a lapdance.”
We’ll leave the last word to Bigfoot himself, who when asked for a response to this documentary would only roar, “BAYABA!” before hauling his repulsive stench back into the woods. Dude, if you don’t have any toilet paper on hand, do yourtself a favor and just use leaves.