By Jason D. Grooms
There are scant few creatures that speak louder or bigger to the American fascination with monster lore than the super-hairy, unkempt, woods-tromping, barefooted beast we all know and love. No, I don’t mean me. I’m talking about the one and only Sasquatch or as you common folk might refer to him, Bigfoot.
OK, I admit there may possibly be a common hairy branch or two between our family trees, but that’s not the point! The point is that the mystique and folklore that surround this mountain of a creature is without comparison in the United States. There is no other mythical creature that comes close to this legend of Americana.
Thus it would seem logical that there would be a plethora of movies telling the tale of this long-lost pseudo-human wandering hill and dale, but alas, the pickings are actually relatively slim considering the monster’s status. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, hell even mermaids have more movies.
I know what you’re thinking, “What about Harry and the Hendersons?” but that doesn’t count. That had John Lithgow, Don Ameche and makeup artist legend (and goatee god) Rick Baker for God’s sake. (Rick also worked on a couple of other projects you may have heard of: Star Wars, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, My Science Project, Thriller, Captain EO, etc. etc. etc.)So why the gap? Why aren’t there more successful movies about the big guy? I have a theory. Aside from the brilliance of Dr. Baker’s Harry, it’s really, really hard to make a good looking Bigfoot creature. They almost always come out looking like a guy wrapped in brown shag carpet (although I have to admit that Andre The Giant gave it something special in his episode of the Six Million Dollar Man. [I miss you Mr. The Giant.])
But that has to be because no one has tried to make a CGI Bigfoot, right? If we were able to craft an artistic rendering of the wild American yeti in computer form it would look great right? Wrong! Case in point the SyFy original movie Bigfoot (2012) directed by Bruce Davison.
The Bigfoot in this most recent version is not the 7 foot-high man-beast that Mr. The Giant was, but a ginormous 20-feet tall monstrosity more like a giant Hulk than a walking ape. Exciting and scary, right? Wrong! He’s covered in oddly-layered, cagey, cheap, PS1-style hair and walks with a worse-then-robotic stomp that barely interacts with the scenery. While stills of the beast’s snarl are actually rather impressive, the long shots are lackluster with odd sounds effects that don’t seem to match the action. Harsh words, I know, but stick with me.
So you would guess that with such a tough critique that I hated the movie, right? Wrong again cupcake! I really liked it. In fact, I loved it, but not because of the creature. This movie has a LOT going for it and despite the low-budget creature effects it has a cast that delivers on all levels. In a rare departure from the typical SyFy flick, the actors and actresses actually upstaged the creature.
The primary trifecta of amazingsauce comes in the form of Danny Bonaduce (Danny from the Partridge Family), Barry Williams (Greg Brady) and Sherilyn Fenn(Twin Peaks and Just One the Guys). All three not only act the hell out of the script, they do not fail to deliver on the cheese. While all of them seem to be fully aware of the fact
that they are in a made-for-SyFy creature feature they chew up the scenery with reckless abandon. Central (and a “Bigfoot among men” if you will) is the man Danny Bonaduce, who plays a fast talking local radio DJ and concert promoter who is determined to put on the best 80s reunion concert of all time, even if it does only have Alice Cooper.
His foil is one Simon (Barry Williams); a tree-hugging ex-band mate of Danny’s whose self-proclaimed mission in life is to save the forest where the Bigfoot lives (even if it does cause dozens of fatalities) and to do whatever it takes to make Danny look bad. Sherilyn Fenn plays the once-big-city detective now turned sheriff of their small town. While battling her own demons (and some minor daddy issues) she tries to bring a little sanity and drama to the situation.
While the CGI is nothing to write home about (unless you hate your mother – then definitely write her about it) the kills and death scenes are truly fun. I won’t spoil it for you but I will tell you that Bigfoot has two primary methods of dispatching his victims: 1) stepping on them and reducing them to bloody puddles or 2) biting off their heads and throwing away the body. I have to say that the head biting does not get old at all, trust me. I won’t give away the ending either but our 13th president, an F-16, and an epic 70s TV show death match may or may not be involved. It’s worth the price of admission.
The rest of the movie is packed full of famous faces that will make you jump out of your butt mold on the couch and scream “I know that guy!” more times than you can count. Of special note are Howard Hesseman, Bruce Davison (director and actor in this one) and Andre Royo. (I’ll let you IMDB those for yourself.)
Bigfoot is a perfect Saturday evening spectacular and will leave you clapping and laughing in glee, at least it did for me. Any true lover of big B creature features would be proud to have this gem under his or her cinephilic belt and eventually as a proud part of their DVD collection.
Bigfoot airs on SyFy channel and Space channel in Canada on Saturday June 30th at 9:00 PM EST.
The trailer isn’t on YouTube (yet) but you can find it here on SyFy’s site.
*Full disclosure – I did receive a free prescreener of this movie from Spacecast.com, however I guarantee you that had no impact on my review or thoughts on the film.