Thursday, May 2, 2024

Bog (1979)

I’ve long wondered why so many zero-budget filmmakers botch their attempts at creature features, given that the formula for these pictures is so well-established. Sure, lack of production resources makes it challenging to build convincing onscreen monsters, but inventive people have found ways to convey diverting narratives while minimizing critter footage. But I suppose the answer to this conundrum is obvious—filmmakers with greater aptitude also have greater ambition, meaning the folks who make anemic monster movies often lack the drive to attempt anything else. All of which is a lugubrious path toward discussing Bog, a thoroughly uninteresting horror flick about a supernatural creature issuing from a murky lake to bedevil locals and tourists. Think Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) except set in America and bereft of everything that made Creature from the Black Lagoon exciting. Bog begins with a rural dimwit using dynamite to fish in a remote lake. Naturally, this activity rouses something deadly from down below. As the movie progresses, more people fall victim to the monster until the requisite duo of a policeman and a scientist join forces to tackle the crisis. These drab characters are played by actors late in their long careers, Gloria DeHaven and Aldo Ray, though it’s a stretch to say their participation gives Bog any patina of Hollywood gloss. While the narrative is coherent in an idiotic sort of way, everything about the movie is depressingly awful. The production values are weak, the thrills are nonexistent, and the monster suit is a joke—the costume is crowned by a giant fish head. The only novelty in Bog arises from DeHaven’s presence. Not only does she spew pseudoscientific gobbledygook about the creature’s reproductive habits, but she plays the second role of an aging backwoods mystic who may or may not have enjoyed relations with the creature. I suppose if you’re going to appear in a terrible movie, you might as well commit to the endeavor.


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