The Legend of Boggy Creek is not for everyone, let me just get that out of the way. It’s very slow, very subtle and delivers its scares more in a “What was THAT!?”-fashion than with cheap jumps and loud noises.
The production values are low. VERY low. This was a TV-movie made back in the late 70’s, after all. But then, that’s half the charm of the film. The Legend of Boggy Creek is filmed in a documentary-style, on location in Fouke, Arkansas, and even having the dramatizations re-enacted by the actual witnesses of the events.
That’s both a good and bad thing, however. While having the genuine witnesses re-enact the sightings and struggles adds that extra ounce of credibility to the “True Story”, it also provides for moments of down-right painfully bad acting.
Before I get too ahead of myself, the basic plot of the movie is that back in the day, a strange “hairy man”, not unlike a sasquatch, was frequently seen prowling around the area of Fouke, Arkansas, traveling along the creeks riddled within the dense forests. The “Fouke Monster” murdered live stock, damaged property, harassed citizens and left bizarre 3-toed footprints wherever it went.
The low-budget, documentary-style of the films gives it a creepy, believable atmosphere. The best scares in the movie come from the brief glimpses you get of the dark, hairy monster, usually at a distance, shambling its way through the woods late at night. All you see is a large, black figure which is only vaguely human in appearance (but more often looks like Cousin It on steroids) and the imagery will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been walking through the woods late at night and thought they glimpsed “something” from the corner of their eye.
There is no gratuitous gore or overly grotesque monsters (you never even really “see” the monster at all), so it’s a horror movie that’s perfectly appropriate for children so long as they don’t suffer from ADD.
As I mentioned earlier, some of the yokels starring in the movie, actors or authentic, can get on your nerves rather quickly. To paraphrase one of the funnier moments:
Narrator: “Sir, living out here all alone in these woods, have you ever seen the Fouke Monster?”
Hermit: “Ya’ll take a gander ats them there bottles hangin’ frum dat tree over yonder? Dat’s mah bottle-tree, shore ‘nuff. I uses them bottles fer floats when ah sets mah fishin’ traps. Every day a big ole hawk comes a flyin’ ovah dem traps. Not shore whut ‘tis he’s lookin’ fer, buts I waves ta him anyways. Every day, yassir.”
Narrator: “Er, yes…but have you ever seen the Fouke Monster?”
Hermit: “TAIN’T NO SUCH THANG!!”
It’s either funny or annoying, depending on your point of view. But I suppose the major detractor of the film is their attempt at a “Climactic Ending”, dramatizing an encounter where the Fouke Monster supposedly invaded the home of some family and tried to kill everybody for no good reason. The segment just doesn’t gel with the rest of the film and watching a bunch of hillbillies wrestle with what’s most likely another hillbilly in a gorilla costume is just absurd.
Barring that ridiculous portion of the film, The Legend of Boggy Creek is one of the better “Bigfoot” movies out there and delivers its scares in a subtle yet effective manner. I wouldn’t recommend it for the focus-challenged, but for anyone who has ever been interested in American folklore and monsters of urban legend, it is a must-see.
It gets a C+. It would’ve scored a solid B if it weren’t for that last part of the movie.