Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)


As a boy growing up in South Western Pennsylvania, it was easy to develop an interest in the unexplained. Everywhere you looked, it seemed like something strange as being seen or experienced. Since that time, I have had an interest in Bigfoot and the other creatures that wander our countryside. One of my first experiences was when I  saw The Legend of Boggy Creek .That really may be the only movie that actually scared me. The visuals took me to my home, a small wooden farmhouse in a valley on a desolate highway between Uniontown and Masontown. Even worse, the dreaded woods surrounded our house making it easy access for any creatures that wanted to straggle in.

This past weekend, I was reminded of this great movie on my friend Eric Altman's radio show Beyond the Edge Radio, where they interviewed Lyle Blackburn, who has written the definitive book on the subject. This was not only an informative broadcast, it was entertaining as usual.

Plot/ A documentary-style drama which questions the existence of a monster in an Arkansas swamp.
Looking at the movie today, it is a stretch to call the film a work of art or cinematic masterpiece. In fact, it has many flaws in the script, in the effects and in the filming. Yet, when you consider that the 1972 movie was made for roughly $100,000, it can be considered a work of genius for that day in age. Many of the shaky, grainy hand cam movies (Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity) should thank them for conditioning society to viewing that type of film. Besides the camera work, the documentary-like script, mixing staged interviews with some local residents who claim to have encountered the creature, along with fictitious reenactments of said encounters made it feel like the monster did live and survive in the swamps, waiting to terrorize its next victim.

I know now, 40-years later, that a man in a cheesy monster costume portrayed the creature in the movie, but at that time, it scared the crap out of me. Ironically, like many other groundbreaking films of a genre, The Legend of Boggy Creek, started a run on similar creature features and docudramas (The Legend of Bigfoot or Snowbeast for example), but this one is the true classic!

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