Okay, so after watching The Creature of Black Lake I realized that I’d never seen The Legend of Boggy Creek. I did watch The Mysterious Monsters, a documentary that came out in 1975, in the Drake Theater in Oil City. I was struck by Peter Graves’ serious tone and the information the film conveyed. I’d not knowingly heard of Boggy Creek then (Graves does list “the Fouke monster” as another name for sasquatch), and besides, Arkansas was far, far away. Well, to make an honest man of myself, I decided I’d better see it. The opening of Boggy Creek is clearly the inspiration for the opening of Black Lake. Their opening shots are very similar. (I guess I watched them in the wrong order.)
Although Boggy Creek does have a guy in a costume (better makeup than Black Lake), many of those in the film are the actual eyewitnesses to the events it portrays. They’re clearly not professional actors. Interestingly, the narrator constantly insists that there’s only one such creature and that it acts out of loneliness. If there are sasquatch they, out of biological necessity, must have a breeding population. There had to be a Mrs. Boggy Creek somewhere in the picture—at least on a national scale. In any case, this movie has become a cult classic, but I can’t help but think it’s so that people can laugh at it. The acting’s not great and the long, long shots of hunters getting their dogs out of the truck show the problems with the pacing. Then there’s that folksy song (also echoed in Black Lake) about the lonely monster.
Boggy Creek came out in 1972, making it one of the earliest Bigfoot documentaries. Given that sasquatch has gone mainstream (lawn art and Christmas ornaments featuring Bigfoot are common), the movie perhaps started a new cultural meme. In the movie the poor critter gets shot several times, engaging viewer sympathy (but maybe not enough to write a song about it). The narrator reflects if this particular southern hospitality might not’ve been overkill. After all, some of the armed witnesses said they couldn’t shoot it because it looked too human. The pacing was slow enough to make keeping my weekend weary eyes open a challenging prospect a time or two, but overall it’s a film worth watching. I have the feeling, however, that this chain of events might lead me back to The Mysterious Monsters.