U.S.A. | 1970
Directed by Robert F. Slatzer
John Carradine
Joi Lansing
Christopher Mitchum
| 84 Minutes | Not Rated
Format: DVD(R1 - NTSC)
Cheezy Flicks
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Review by
Brandon Tenold

"The greatest monster movie since King Kong!'" - The Post
"The most realistic, horrifying film ever." - Leo Guild, Philadelphia Enquirer
    So say the quotes on the DVD cover to the 1970 monster movie Bigfoot. I personally have no idea what kind of crazy drug these people were on when they decided to heap such high praise on this dull, low budget cheese-fest, but whatever it was, I want some!* Hell, even if it ended up being the infamous brown acid from Woodstock, dropping a tab of that would still probably be a more enjoyable experience than having to sit through this schlock again.
    Bigfoot begins with a voluptuous blonde woman (drive-in movie vixen Joi Lansing, in her last film role before her untimely death) boarding a small single engine plane and taking off for... uh, somewhere. Unfortunately, something goes wrong mid-flight and she's forced to bail out. No sooner has she parachuted to safety when she's attacked and captured by one of the titular monsters (there are actually several creatures in this movie, so I guess a more accurate title would've been "Bigfeet").
    Meanwhile, traveling salesmen Jasper (horror movie legend John Carradine) and Elmer (John Mitchum, brother of actor Robert Mitchum) are driving along a deserted country road in their dilapidated station wagon and eventually make their way to a remote general store. While trying to hawk their wares, Jasper and Elmer ask the owner of the store for some beer, but the store has just been cleaned out by a group of bikers who are driving through the area to do what seemingly all bikers did in the early 1970s, namely drink beer and awkwardly dance to music in the woods. One of the bikers breaks off from the group for some alone-time with his girlfriend, and after stumbling across a Bigfoot burial ground, promptly gets knocked out by one of the creatures and wakes up to find his girl has been kidnapped. The women, y'see, are being kept prisoner at the Bigfoot camp, and the presence of what seem to be Sasquatch/human hybrids leads them to believe that the big hairy monsters intend to mate with them. The disgruntled biker makes his way back to the general store to phone the sheriff, and upon overhearing his story of a strange, hirsute monster, Jasper sees dollar signs in his eyes and sets out with Elmer to capture the creature.
    Will they be able to rescue the women in time?
    Will you even give a shit?
    Bigfoot is the type of film that even bad movie connoisseurs will have a hard time enjoying. I certainly didn't expect an early '70s movie called "Bigfoot" to be high art, but I thought that it would at least have some schlocky entertainment value. The DVD cover, which depicts a large, ape-like monster hoisting a motorcycle over its head while a policeman fires at it with a tommy gun, promises far more B-movie thrills than the movie delivers (spoiler alert: at no point in the movie does Bigfoot lift a motorcycle above his head!). While there are a couple of unintentionally funny moments ("They're practically subhuman, except that they still live like animals!" exclaims Lansing at one point) for the most part Bigfoot is just a big snooze. Instead of the action-packed grindhouse ride the cover promises, we're instead treated to endless scenes of people walking through the woods and the bikers dicking around and drinking beer. One early scene even evokes Manos: The Hands of Fate with Jasper and Elmer silently driving through the woods for what seems like forever.
    The acting, as you may expect, is amateurish. John Carradine, while clearly slumming and waiting for his paycheck, is still leagues above most of the other actors, one of the worst offenders being Robert Mitchum's son Christopher Mitchum (yes, there are actually two members of the Mitchum clan in this movie), who delivers his lines with all the enthusiasm of a coma patient. The Sasquatches, although not as laughably bad as the monsters in movies like, say, The Giant Claw or From Hell It Came, are still quite obviously guys in dime store furry costumes, and the baby Sasquatch kinda looks like what would happen if Cha-ka from Land of the Lost got addicted to smack.
    Even hardcore exploitation fans will find little to get into here. Although the premise of primitive monsters wanting to mate with human women and being stalked by a gang of bikers would seemingly lend itself to some trashy R-rated action, Bigfoot is disappointingly short on sleaze. Other than a couple shots of women in bikinis and a small amount of blood at the end, the movie is remarkably tame. There are few things sadder in this world than an exploitation movie that doesn't even have the balls to be exploitative.
    While Bigfoot had all the elements to be a "so bad it's good" movie, instead it's just "so bad it's bad" and although it's not the worst movie I've ever seen, that says far more about how many bad movies I've watched over the years than anything about this film's merits. Carradine's presence and a couple smirk-worthy moments are the only and I do mean only things keeping this from getting a "Pure Dookie" rating, and a less forgiving man than I could easily justify giving this movie that score.
* That's assuming these are actually legit quotes... Seriously, just what kind of publication is "The Post" anyway?

Bigfoot comes to DVD courtesy of the aptly named Cheezy Flicks, and they have given the movie all the care and restoration it deserves: that is to say, not much. The movie is obviously sourced from a VHS copy, complete with tape distortion and tracking lines at the bottom of the frame, and the 1.33:1 fullframe presentation awkwardly cuts off some of the opening credits. The effect is like watching one of my old VHS tapes of late night monster movies I recorded off the TV, only without the commercial breaks. The audio doesn't fare much better, although I really don't know how much could've been done to clean it up considering the source material.
    Extras include trailers for other releases from Cheezy Flicks (such as Destination Inner Space and The Navy vs. The Night Monsters) and a feature called "Intermission Time" which collects a bunch of amusing "let's all go to the lobby" type concession stand ads. A sub-par DVD for a sub-par movie. 12/13/12