Bigfoot (1970)

Bigfoot_(1969)‘Been strange doings in them mountains… ‘specially at night…’

The local Sasquatch and his family kidnap a pilot who has crashed her plane and the girlfriend of the leader of a local biker gang. Luckily, travelling salesman (and ex-student of archaeology) John Carradine is in the locality and the biker is Robert Mitchum’s son in a funky bandanna.

Low budget stupidity made to cash in on the famous Patterson film of ‘the real Bigfoot’, which has only been debunked as a hoax in recent years. The pilot is played by Joi Lansing, a singer and actress who had already appeared with Carradine in the world’s greatest ever country music/horror hybrid film ‘Hillbillys in a Haunted House’ (1967). Her plane gets into difficulties when offscreen stage hands begin rocking it from side to side and the camera zooms shakily into close ups of the engines accompanied by grinding mechanical noises. Personally, I think it was probably the weight of her magnificent false eyelashes that brought the plane down.

Local law enforcement is skeptical about the existence of our furry friends of course, although the Sheriff does go on to mention that there have been many sightings over the years. He mentions that quite a lot actually. The bikers get the obligatory, and very tame, ‘freak out’ party sequence but spend most of their time just riding their bikes through the forest. They do that quite a lot actually. Matching between location and set shooting is poor and it’s fairly apparent that neither Carradine nor Lansing did any hiking in the mountains. In fact, one of the biker girls is a reasonable double for Lansing so may have been used in the long shots.

'Ooh, I like your dress! Do you think they'd have it in my size?'

‘Ooh, I like your dress! Do you think they’d have it in my size?’

The Sasquatch themselves are none too impressive either; one or them seems to be wearing a furry jacket and trousers combo as he jumps down on our hapless heroes from above. They are captured and taken to a clearing where Lansing and biker girl are tied to fake saplings. Lansing wears quite a revealing outfit for a pilot but this is a deliberate artistic choice by the filmmakers. No, not just the obvious exploitation angle, they are going for something here.

You see, great grandaddy Sasquatch is out there in the forest and Lansing is offered up to him, tied between two trees. Big Hairy appears and fights a dozy bear as Lansing screams (a shot that crops up several times over the next 20 minutes – sometimes even when it’s relevant). Do you see what it is yet? Yes, it’s ‘King Kong’ (1933) of course! This is confirmed by Carradine’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ payoff line at the climax. Classic. Oh, and Sigourney Weaver’s uncle plays a forest ranger.

By the bitter end, you won’t be rooting for either the hunters or the hunted, you’ll just be rooting for the credits to roll. Or should that be the debits?

The final caption says: ‘The End…or this is the beginning?’ Sequel? You’re ‘avin’ a larf, mate!

Buy the poster of ‘Bigfoot’ here!