Monday, October 29, 2012

Bigfoot (1970)



          My vote for the weirdest of the myriad ’70s movies about Sasquatch, this no-budget oddity transforms everyone’s favorite Pacific Northwest man-beast into an old-fashioned movie monster in the King Kong mold. When the disjointed flick begins, fast-talking drifter Jasper B. Hawks (John Carradine) drives through a forest with his idiot sidekick, Elmer Briggs (John Mitchum), while big-breasted blonde Joi (Joi Lansing) flies a small plane over the same area. Joi’s engine conks out, so she parachutes to safety. Arriving on the ground, she strips out of her flight suit into a mini-dress (!) and screams because Bigfoot has emerged from the woods to attack her. Then laconic biker Rick (Christopher Mitchum) rolls into the woods with his curvaceous girlfriend, Chris (Judy Jordan), who for no good reason is wearing a bikini (!). She stumbles onto a Bigfoot burial ground, and then screams because Bigfoot has emerged from the woods to attack her, too. Because, of course, smooth-skinned white chicks make Bigfoots blood boil.
          Rick seeks help, but only Jasper (remember him?) believes his story; Jasper offers aid because he plans to capture a Bigfoot for freak-show exhibition. Meanwhile, Peggy—still wearing her swimsuit and, of course, sporting perfect hair and makeup—wakes up tied to a tree beside Joi, who also has perfect hair and makeup. They’re being watched by three Bigfoot creatures (portrayed by actors in ridiculous monkey suits), so Joi and Peggy scream some more. Then Jasper, Elmer, and Rick trek through the woods, bickering all the way, until they reach the Bigfoot lair. Before long, more people get tied to stakes, more people scream, and Rick’s gang of hog-riding biker buddies arrives for a big brawl with a bunch of Bigfoot creatures. Oh, and it turns out the monsters who’ve been guarding the women are the hairy brides/sisters/whatever of the real Bigfoot, a giant ape-like dude.
          Bigfoot is a truly awful movie, combining a doofus storyline with shoddy production values and terrible acting, but it’s arresting in a fever-dream sort of way. Carradine’s supposed to be a formidable big-game hunter, but he’s an arthritic, emaciated senior dressed in a suit and tie. Christopher Mitchum, the son of screen legend Robert Mitchum, is supposed to be a tough-guy biker, but he’s a passive nebbish who politely refers to Carradine’s character as “Mr. Hawks.” Jordan and Lansing are so outrageously curvy—and so nonsensically underdressed—that their scenes feel as if they were guest-directed by Russ Meyer. The movie toggles back and forth between second-unit location shots showing actors full-figure from a distance and cheesy soundstage footage with the principal cast in close-up, so it’s like the flick drifts in and out of reality. Bigfoot creatures get more screen time here than in virtually any other ‘70s Sasquatch movie, which is not a good thing—prolonged exposure highlights the bad costumes. And we haven’t even talked about the upbeat honky-tonk music that plays during suspense scenes, or the incongruous surf-music cue that appears whenever the bikers are shown driving. Oh, and at one point, a lady Bigfoot wrestles a bear.

Bigfoot: FREAKY

1 comment:

Heli0tr0pe said...

"Breeds with anything..."

So that makes Bigfoot the Warren Beatty of '70s movie monsters?