Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Legend Of Boggy Creek!

The Legend of Boggy Creek is a fondly remember favorite. I saw it in the theater many many moons ago as a boy and it left a big impression. Certain scenes linger in my memory and of course have loomed larger there than they existed in reality. That is only enhanced by the weirdly graceful image of the creature rendered by Ralph McQuarrie for the classic poster. (The creature never looks that good in the movie, in fact he hardly looks like anything since the creators smartly keep him in the shadows and out of sight almost all the time.)

It didn't take but a few minutes of watching the 1972 movie again as an adult to realize of course that my boyhood impressions were more poignant than the reality of the film. The movie purports to be a documentary of sorts detailing the existence of the Fouke Monster, a bigfootish creature who lived in the dank creeks and woods around the Arkansas town of Fouke.

Shot on the exceedingly cheap by Charles B. Pierce, this is actually a silent movie with dialogue doped in later (and with little subtlety). The first hour or so of the show details the earliest sightings of the creature, mostly a series of largely harmless sightings in the early 50's and throughout the 60's. Salted in with these musings are many images of the natural world around Fouke. Actually the first five minutes or so of the movie are fascinating as the camera lingers and lingers on scenes of the natural world, evoking a resolute peace and quiet which ultimately is broken by a strange cry in the distance. Wonderful way to bring the viewer into the flick.

But the movie's fame rests largely I'd suspect on the last half hour which details one series of weirdly creepy encounters between the Fouke Monster and the Ford families in 1971. It is these encounters which have lingered in my memory for so many decades.

The creature slinks around an isolated home occupied by two mothers and their children (the menfolk are at work) and attempts to enter the home but fails to do so. The women flee but return and some nights later when two male relatives are visiting the creature returns and becomes much more aggressive, even at one point thrusting a furry arm into a window. (This is the moment I remember with so much gusto after all this time.) The husbands return and a cruel game of cat and mouse ensues. Eventually the police are called and there is even something akin to a battle when the creature attacks and injures one of the men.

The show ends as you'd suspect with the open question of the creature's continued existence. Like all of these movies, this one proves nothing but merely offers up some seemingly legit testimony and raises some questions.

The low-key nature of the narration really adds to the flavor of The Legend of Boggy Creek. The narrator is Vern Steirman and his calm and warm voice delivering the words of scripter Earl E. Smith give the proceedings a matter-of-fact  and marginally nostalgic quality which succeeds in making it all sound so reasonable. And the performances, most by amateurs add some indescribable nuance to the documentary nature of the movie. Also for reasons no one really fully understands there are several little songs sprinkled throughout the movie. Check this out for a sample.

The version I picked up was produced by the Cheezy Flicks folks and I've found their productions to be full of fun and flavor, loaded with nifty extras which try (in this case at least) to evoke some of the character of the vintage drive-in experience.

Loved seeing this one again after all these many years. Look forward to watching it again soon.

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