Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot
The incredible story of seven men who defied death in a primitive wilderness where no man had gone before.... and survived to tell the shocking story of this legendary creature.
Year of Release: 1976
Also Known As: Sasquatch
Running Time: 92 minutes (1:32)
Director: Ed Ragozzino
George Lauris ... Chuck Evans
Steve Boergadine ... Hank Parshall
Jim Bradford ... Barney Snipe
Ken Kenzle ... Josh Bigsby
William Emmons ... Dr. Paul Markham
Joel Morello ... Techka Blackhawk
Lou Salerni ... Bob Vernon
A group of scientists and their guides set out into the woods of the Pacific Northwest to find and capture a Sasquatch, better known as Bigfoot. As they go deeper into "Bigfoot country," they find what they are looking for. And wish they hadn't.
Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot, remindin' us that when we wander off from the campsite to take a dump, Bigfoot is watchin'. So pick up your dad-blame toilet paper when you're done, cause he ain'tcher mama. I for one don't want that guy gettin' the idea we're ALL disrespectful dookers, cause he may just start sneakin' up on us while we're gruntin' like Bob Vila tryin' to loosen a rusted bolt without his precious Craftsman Quick Wrench an tippin' us over like narcoleptic cattle. Seriously, a scare like that durin' a moment of maximum rectal strain could cause a brain aneurysm, an that'd be a real embarrassin' way to be found by the park ranger. An speakin' of cryptozoological conundrums, you ever wonder what your pets do all day while you're out bustin' your hump to buy 'em kibble? Yeah, me neither. Least not until I was out at the Soldered Hazards miniature golf course with Sadie Bonebreak watchin' top heavy women lean over an expose their Titleists. That's where I noticed this cork board covered with eye witness acounts an artist's renderins of somethin' resemblin' the werewolf in Ginger Snaps that's been terrorizin' the patrons the last several months. The "Mini-Golf Menace," they call it. Lemme just read a few of these reports to ya, it's pretty funny stuff:
"It came from 'round the backside of the windmill like a bullet. Snatched up mah ball an vanished into the woods. Musta been 300lbs an 6' long whatever it was, an I'm sure it wasn't no natural critter."
"I only took my eyes off the ball long enough to put in a fresh dip. Next thing I know this blur goes by at an unpossible speed an whisks the ball away go God knows where. I reckon it was one of them spirit beasts the Indians talk about, come back to ruin our fun for takin' their land or somethin'. The Chickawalkas must be angry."
"We'd just set our ice cream cones down to take a selfie with the stuffed bass obstacle, an when we turned back around, our cones were missin' an this horrible thing'd taken ahold of the selfie stick an started shakin' its head back an forth til it ripped the stick clean outta my hand. It was really scary."
The girls actually managed to get part of "the beast" in their selfie, an yeah, it's Apollo. They only got part of his torso in the shot, but I'd recognize the dark patch on his right side that looks like Mac Tonight anywhere. Now if I can just figure out where he's stashin' those balls I'll make a fortune sellin' 'em back to the mini-golf pro. Actually, that's small potatoes. Maybe Apollo an I can get a guest shot on Mountain Monsters an make enough scratch to buy that '87 Trans Am Leonard Rankleton has for sale.
I guess some people'll believe just about anything, an just in case any of you're readin', I'm discussin' this here Sasquatch movie just for you on account of it havin' some of the best action sequences an indisputable evidence in favor of the Satch-man's existence since The Legend of Boggy Creek. Now, I admit that the Squatch-Meister'd fallen on hard times an hadda take this gig to support his little Squatch-Crotchlings back in Bluff Creek, an that he even went so far as to make the director sign a contract promisin' not to show his face, but this flick was made at the peak of Bigfoot-mania back in the mid-'70s. So let's all go into it with an open mind an take a look at these here legendary learnins an quit gettin' depressed about the vomit mats in Bigfoot's chest hair that he got drownin' his sorrows off-screen. First, if you tell somebody "that attitude of theirs is gonna get somebody killed," an then immediately hand 'em a gun, you might be a redneck. Second, Bigfoot crouches durin' all his point-of-view shots to conceal his true size. An third, it's okay to walk off an leave your campfire still burnin' so long as the movie's over. But all kiddin' aside, I'd like to give credit to the cast an crew of this flick for what hasta be the most intricate, ingenious scheme ever concocted just to get away from their wives for a campin' trip. I imagine the conversations went somethin' like this: "Honey, I'm gonna be shootin' a movie down around Bend for the next coupla weeks with the guys. It's somethin' I've wanted to do since high school, an I managed to land a part at last week's castin' call that I didn't mention until now cause I thought you'd laugh at me." Then they all pile into their Jeeps an shoot scenes between fishin' trips to the various rivers in the area, edit in a buncha stock footage from Wild, Wild World of Animals to pad it out, an record all the narration in a two hour marathon session between beer runs. Next thing you know they've got a drive-in hit in the makin', all while enjoyin' a break in the tedium of their unbearable home-lives which consist of interrogations from the wives about purchases made at True Value, an listenin' to their teenage daughters blubber about how nobody'll take 'em to the prom cause of their braces. Now don't go bein' modest you guys, there's no reason to dispute these charges an pretend like you went out there in a sincere effort to make a movie, it's been 40 years an prolly at least two marriages since then, an the male population of this country is dang proud an impressed by your level of dedication. The rest of us'd never go to these lengths just for a campin' trip. You guys're truly masterminds of matrimony to've pulled this off, an supreme specimens of American ingenuity in action. You won't see European men scammin' their wives on this level, no sir, an I've never been more proud of my heritage than I am at this moment. My hat's off to you guys.
The movie begins with a whole buncha pirated Jack Hanna wildlife footage showin' animals chewin' their butts an what have you, cept pretty quick the composer hits Bigfoot's entrance music an all the other animals get scared spitless an start headin' for town so they can beg the zookeepers to lock 'em up where it's safe, while Hairy Humeanie stumbles through the woods gettin' more'n more P.O.'d every time a limb hits 'im in the face. Then this narrator who makes Al Gore sound like Axl Rose starts talkin' about Bigfoot while these newspaper clippins come careenin' at the screen. Most movies use spinnin' newspapers for this effect, but the budget here only allowed for clippins, an plus the director thought the spinnin' motion might possibly induce minor excitement in the audience. Then he screens the Patterson/Gimlin footage from '67 an talks about how all the scientists at the Center for Ill Tempered Primates with Powerful Stank Gland Studies agree that the footage is legit, an to prove it they print out this Etch-a-Sketch renderin' of what Bigfoot might look like if he was a paint by numbers drawing. Anyway, the narrator (Chuck) has assembled a crack team of hillbillies an a token Indian guide to help 'im find Bigfoot an traipse around the woods until he becomes the kinda manly man his wife'll hafta respect, instead of bangin' around on him while he's teachin' his anthropology students about carbon dating. I could waste a lotta time tryin' to figure out who's who in the cast, but it'd be easier just to describe 'em, so here goes: Paul (the load), Magnum T.A. (the shitkicker), The Klondike Pizza Guy (the grizzled prospector), Barney (the comic relief bungler), Techka Blackhawk (the superstitious Indian guide), and the Poor Man's Bradford Dillman (the skeptic). Then we basically got about an hour of guys ridin' through the woods on horseback yakkin' endlessly about the harmony of the forest an a buncha other new age hippy crap that might be worth hearin' if we couldn't actually see the landscape as they describe it in painstakin' detail. Eventually, the director notices that his test audience (by which I mean his cat, trapped in a pet carrier against its will an shoved in front of the TV set) has passed out from the lack of sensory stimuli, an so he gets one of the grips to hurl a cougar offa the hillside an onto one of the guys' horses.
If the movie were a little newer we might get to see a fistfight between the PETA protestors an the rednecks, but instead the horses just spook a little an Magnum T.A. gets his dogs to tree the cat so they can claim it was goin' for its gun when they blow its furry head off. Then the Seven Dorks make camp an the Klondike Pizza Guy gets all stoked up on black coffee an tells everybody this story about some old prospector friends of his who liked to dance around like the cast of Fraggle Rock after a pixie stick binge. Seems they'd just hit the sack, when outta nowhere a platoon of P.O.'d murder monkeys start pitchin' boulders down on toppa their cabin until they've installed multiple sunroofs an pretty well made all the miners ohmahgosh in their B'Goshes. Then everybody gets some shut eye an the next mornin' we watch more animals caught in the act of bein' cute until the group comes across a coupla grizzled bears dukin' it out by the river to try an impress the lady bears so they can get into their honey pots. This don't work as well for us humans anymore, but if you're a bear, that's how you score some Winnie the Poon. Anyway, they finally cross over into the Lands of the Fuzzy Mans an Techka tells 'em to speak now or forever lose their pieces (cause as we all know from watchin' Night of the Demon, the Big Man don't take kindly to hairless midgets tinklin' on his lawn), an that this's as far as his people ever venture after bein' banished for gettin' a little too rowdy at one of Bigfoot's shindigs. Then a badger steals Barney's dinner an everybody laughs at 'im, an T.A. Magnum tells a story about a coupla trappers who trespassed in the domain of the Woolly Bully. Apparently they spent so long settin' their traps that by the time they made it back to camp the blue filter'd come out an the place'd been turned into a bigger disaster than the Olympic Village in Rio by somethin' with feet the size of Peggy Hill's. Then, when they tried gettin' some shut eye, the Satch-Man Cometh into camp, drank all their beer, pissed in their coffee pot, an screamed at the top of his lungs "What's Goin' On?!" all night long, given his honorary status as a non-blonde.
So the next mornin', one guy heads out to retrieve the traps while the other packed up the Coleman cook stove an the plastic forks, cept by the time the first guy came back his buddy'd been attacked an had his neck turned into a wobble socket. But back in the present, Chuck's runnin' low on Van Camp's pork 'n beans an Bisquick, so he hasta get Airwolf to lift 'im in some supplies while the Klondike Pizza Guy argues with the racoon that's taken over his tent. Then they cross a river an everybody has a good laugh at Barney after he gets bucked off his horse an nearly drowns like a 60 year old prostitute in a vat of Avon perfume, an after that Chuck hasta beat the crap outta his horse with a belt when it gets bogged down in a mud pit so it won't give in to the sadness like Artax in The Neverending Story. Suffice to say, everybody could use a little break to collect their marbles an burn off some of their ticks with a heated coat hanger, only while the Poor Man's Bradford Dillman's on night watch, he detects Bogey Bear on radar an gets mauled like an old slipper in the jaws of a hyperactive bulldog. This does not bode well for the guy's shot at camp MVP status, cause even Beethoven woulda heard that bear comin'. Fortunately, the next mornin', The Lagnificent Seven finally start seein' signs of His Squatchness embedded in the ground an follow the prints to this lake that's surrounded by trees with the tops busted off of 'em, which're basically the Sasquatchian equivalent of a no trespassin' sign that attempts to demonstrate what'll happen to anybody who sasses the Squatch. Which is at least half as dangerous as hasslin' The Hoff. This's prime territory for gettin' your head ripped off like a bra in a Pantera mosh pit, so the crew sets up its Bigfoot burglar alarm system an hooks up this Satchmo-graph that'll tell 'em from which direction to expect their untimely demises. From here it's simply a matter of loadin' up their Bigfoot bazookas with paralyzer darts an parkin' their butts at the tree line, where they hope to take down one of the hairy hill-folk an drive 'im around the south in a horse trailer chargin' a dollar a peek at county fairs. Kind of a lousy place to cut off the summary, what with the movie bein' on the verge of havin' somethin' happen, but them's the rules.
Alrighty, well, this is another flick where I have to wonder whether everybody else watched the same movie I did, or just exactly how thick the lenses on their rose tinted nostalgia glasses are. Granted, the 1970s were a pretty good time to be alive if you were into all those mysteries they examined on shows like In Search Of, but try to imagine what a flick like this'd do to somebody with absolutely no interest in Bigfoot. We're talkin' a relaxing vacation on the shores of Comacabana. Now, I enjoy a good Bigfoot movie as much as the next geek, but this's one of those flicks where the writer forgot to include plot points. The entire movie can be summed up by a riff Mike Nelson delivered during Boggy Creek II, which was "we're goin' campin' and you're gonna watch." You've really gotta be one of those people who enjoys looking at the neighbors' slides from their vacation to Moosepunt, Canada to get anything out of this, because you're basically watching guys travel through the woods for 75 minutes with nothing but Wild America outtakes and a coupla sighting recreations to keep you engaged. They literally coulda trimmed 40 minutes offa this sucker, told the exact same story, and saved the viewer a whole lot of the cinematic rug burn that accompanies anything capable of yielding this much drag. That's how they getcha though; they promise shag rug monsters, but all you get is burned. I know a lot of Bigfoot enthusiasts really like this one, but I'll take The Legend of Boggy Creek over this any day. Heck, I'd even rather watch Night of the Demon, despite the fact that Sasquatch has decidedly better production values. For my money, Bigfoot's at his best when he's cantankerous, and while you may argue that he's mildly irritated in this movie, let me just remind you that this flick received a G rating. Never thought I'd review a movie that got a G, but here we are, so don't try givin' me that bunk about Bigfoot having any gumption in this one. The other thing that really plucks my pubes about it is the comic relief character. There's a simple rule of comedy that I feel has been completely forgotten these days (and I'm paraphrasing Joe Bob Briggs on this explanation), and it is as follows: the first time you do something, it's funny, because it's a surprise. The second time you do it, it's about half as funny. The third time you do it, it SUCKS. Now, how many times in this flick do they have the clumsy cook trip over a log, or get out-foxed by some woodland creature, or get criticized for the quality of his meals? Doesn't help that the guy seems about half retarded, and because the rest of 'em have an average IQ of about 92 they feel intellectually superior by comparison, but the attempted humor is absolutely pathetic. I dunno if I'd call it unnecessary, because I gather that it was an attempt to breathe something resembling life into this snorefest, but it's still an unforced error.
Anyhow, let's run Sasquatch through the ole car wash and see if he comes out still stinkin' on the other side. The plot is about as simple as you can possibly get; guys go searching for Bigfoot for 85 minutes, find him in the last 5, and head home. No twists, no turns, when pissed, it burns. Friday the 13th movies have more of a story than this flick, I shit you not. Technically speaking, they did exactly what they set out to do, but even in the '70s we expected more action, and a little more depth than this. The acting is alright for a movie where everybody's intended to be a at least a little bit dull, given that all the characters involved are part of what you'd have to call a scientific expedition, for want of a better term. In a lot of these kinds of movies you have a hard time telling the characters apart, but these guys do at least get the barest of personalities, thus allowing you to keep them straight in your mind. The performances are all pretty flat, and not one of them does anything to earn any individual praise, but nobody comes across as bad enough to warrant laughter. You'll laugh at the dialog from time to time, but actors don't have much control over that. Here's who matters and why, so try not to blink: George Lauris (The Legend of Grassman), Steve Boergadine (Dominion 2006).
The special effects are limited entirely to the Bigfoot suits, which you never get to see in much detail. However, you can see enough to know why they were kept concealed, as the bits and pieces you are able to catch a glimpse of are akin to something you'd rent from a costume shop. No worse than any other Bigfoot film of the era, but still pretty bad. While I'm on the subject, that very point is one of the things I find interesting about the '67 Roger Patterson Bigfoot film, because if you look at how bad the suits are in these movies and compare them to that footage, that's either a real animal or a suit that's 10x more convincing than anything put to film for upwards of 30 years after it was originally taken. So that footage is still kinda interesting, and these flicks tend to remind us why, due to their inadequacies. The shooting locations, hands down, are the best (and only) thing this movie has going for it, and they are undoubtedly excellent. The areas in which the movie was shot (Bend, Mount Bachelor, and Three Sisters, Oregon) is thick enough to come across as deep forest, but not so thick that you can't shoot in it, and furthermore, it's such a nice looking region that you don't have to have that great a cinematographer to bring out its natural beauty. I'm not knocking the cinematographer, mind, just making an observation. But the nature footage is exceptional, and the only real pleasing thing about the movie. The soundtrack, while rather cheesy and reeking of the 1970s, does actually manage to generate a little bit of atmosphere when the director occasionally remembers that kinda thing can benefit his movie. It adds a base level of peaceful serenity to the nature shots, and mild excitement during the Bigfoot sequences, so I'm inclined to give the movie a pass on this front. Still, overall, this movie is straight up boring, and I do not use that word lightly. Only fans of the Bigfoot mystery should bother with this, because the Sasquatch carnage is nonexistent.