Harry & the Hendersons
Director: William Dear

Directors: Matt Gissing & Malcolmn Ingram

aka DEMON HUNTER. 1965
Director: Massey Cramer

Director: Massey Cramer & Donn Davison

Director: Bill Odenkirk

Director: Jon Olsen

Director: Jay Edwards

Director: David H. Venghaus Jr

AMONG US. 2004
Directors: Mark & Jonn Polonia & Jon McBride

Director: Carmichael Lynch Agency

BIG & HAIRY. 1998
Director: Philip Spinks

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Comedy of Bigfoot:
Cinematic Sasquatches Part II

Drawing FliesSome filmic sasquatches are just for laughs, as well they deserve to be. In other articles I've given overviews of "The Horror of Bigfoot," & looked separately at "The Abominable Snowman of Cinema". Many such films are comical by default not by their intention; others go intentionally for the funny bone instead of the jugular.

Matt Gissing & Malcolm Ingram's black & white comedy Drawing Flies (1996) shows some bumbling city folk encountering a sasquatch in British Columbia. It has a seat-of-your-pants filmmaking charm.

Four abject losers (among them Kevin Smith in his recurring character "Silent Bob") are at risk of losing their home. They're offered help by a pal (Jason Lee) who would like to lead them to an isolated cabin belonging to his uncle.

Once he has them where he wants them, however, he reveals that they're actually on a sasquatch hunt. Realizing they're lost in the woods with a nutsack, life just gets harder & harder for our pack of goofs.

Legend of Blood MountainMassey Cramer's Legend of Blood Mountain; aka, Demon Hunter (1965) was filmed on the ultra-cheap on Stone Mountain, Georgia. It's about some kind of wacky two-tailed wild-man serial killer.

It's totally amateur but it's also intentionally played for laughs & now & then succeeds. The central character is a fat & goofy would-be journalist by the name of Bestoink Dooley (George Ellis). He has a dress code & a set of wheels as amusing as his name.

McCullough's MountainLegend of Blood Mountain was re-edited by Donn Davison with a bit of gore added for re-release as McCullough's Mountain; aka, Blood Beast of Monster Mountain (1976).

Davison's an actual Bigfoot enthusiast & makes the film more explicitely about a sasquatch, removing all the scenes with the original super-cheezy monster suit, & splicing in a more certainly ape-like monster.

But Davison was an even more amateurish filmmaker than Cramer, with much less of a sense of humor about the subject of Bigfoot. So whatever comedy the original drummed up is undermined by the revamped version which favors the dullest sort of horror.

So if there's a choice, try to see the original cut with the way stupid monster intact. The film's dreadful in either incarnation but whatever charm it does drum up is watching Bestoink being the unique oddball that he is.

Tenacious D Jack Black & Kyle Gass are the comedy rock band Tenacious D. In a series of short films they did for HBO, the third one was called Death of a Dream (1999).

When nobody came to their t-shirt signing, a realistic burnt out weirdo (Ernest M. Garcia) tells of his youthful adventures with Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix, which brought him to this useless position in his life.

He convinces Tenacious-D their dream is no more real than the Easter Bunny or Sasquatch. They descend into depression & are on the cusp of giving up their dream, burning their t-shirts & guitars out in the forest.

Just then they discover first-hand that Sasquatch (John C. Reilly) is real, & he'd like to join their band as drummer. His existence revives their belief in themselves.

A funny little film with a wonderfully "tragic" ending. You should be able to find it at YouTube, or on the HBO Tenacious D live performance & complete music videos available on dvd under the boastful title The Complete Masterworks (2003).

Ape CanyonApe Canyon (2002) is a real place in the Pacific Northwest. The film posits a ridiculous love triangle of a Pacific Northwest truckstop waitress (Clover Lutter) who falls in love with a lusty Bigfoot & whose jealous husband (Chris Henry) strives to track down his rival to kill him.

The humor is often on the level of flatulence jokes. Some of it will fail for many viewers who'll wonder why, if the creature is such a great lover, he has to be a rapist rather than a seducer. It kind of spoils the alleged funniness of the situation.

But the trailer trash populating the story lend an offensive believability that it could be true that inbred honkies couldn't tell the difference between hot sex & violent rape & some girl might fall head-over-heels for her attacker. The script is not unaware of this contradiction & the plot, if it may be called one, takes it very much into consideration.

Turning off the "rape's not a joke" monitors & ignoring almost everybody's egregiously bad acting & a sasquatch "costume" that looks like a moth-eaten gorilla suit, one is left with Clover Lutter's wonderfully over-the-top performance as the lovesick waitress.

She seems really to be some kind of pervo masochistic monkey fetishist & scoring a sasquatch lover is wayyy more exciting than breaking into the gorilla enclosure at Woodland Park Zoo or settling for her hillbilly hubby's ape-like manners.

This film is cheap, gory, & relentlessly stupid, which is all in its favor. The disgusting climax should please anyone who has ever applauded a disgusting climax.

Stomp Shout ScreamJay Edwards' Stomp Shout Scream (2005) is a no-budget spoof of teen flicks, a rock 'n' roll beach party movie set in 1966 when beach party films were a fad, & cool hair-dos.

Set near the Everglades where dwells the "Skunk Ape," the creature menaces the members of the girl-band when their van has broken down.

They Call Him SasquatchSeveral moronic people go sasquatch hunting & suffer pratfalls in David H. Venghaus Jr.'s cheapo comedy They Call Him Sasquatch (2003).

It's a gag-filled family-safe sub-adolescent tale, really one of the few of the genre that is completely safe for kids.

It has the feel of being a home movie, but one made by a charming & witty batch of comedians.

The horde of sasquatch hunters do slapstick in the woods, then for climax they meet the beasty briefly. Be sure to keep watching through the end credits.

Among Us (2004) is a bad film about a talentless filmmaker (Bob Denis as Billy D'Amato) who makes bad films, having started his career with a sasquatch porno movie.

Among UsTen years later he has come to a point of re-evatulating his career & wants to do something more significant. But he's so self-absorbed & genuinely void of talent that doing something better really means doing more of the same.

There are a couple "trailers" incorporated in this film which show some of the "best" films of this talentless moron's career. The clip with the magician (Dave Fife) who turns out to be a space alien is really quite funny. Not much else in this film ever is, except the general concept of actual filmmakers without talent filming a story about fictional filmmakers without talent.

While out in the woods scoping out potential locations for a new movie, it will turn out that sasquatch is real. Armed with meat cleaver & rolling pin, the cast gets all hysterical with certainty that the pounding on the door is a sasquatch. Eventually the sasquatch will make an actual one-second appearance, so don't blink.

This one's a new low in sasquatch cinema even though much better than most films with the directorial names Polonia or McBride attached. Among Us makes other bad movies about bigfoot seem pretty good. It can probably only be enjoyed with fellow shlock collectors so that it can be made light of as a group effort.

Jon McBride's abominable singing & songwriting under the end credits, as he performs "Bigfoot Stole My Sixpack," is the perfect capper for this in-its-own-way remarkable homage to talentlessness that never gives up.

Messin' with Sasquatch A series of four "chapters" were made for an advertising campaign for Jack Link's Beef Jerky of Minneapolis. Three of these aired in advertising slots, & one was for the web only.

The award-winning ads are just about good enough to qualify as artful short subjects, mini-movies in their own right, some of them we may hope will remain indefinitely findable at youtube at least. They had an official website for a while, but that was discontinued.

In "Water Bowl," hikers sneak up on a sleeping sasquatch & put his huge hand in a bowl of warm water to make him wet himself. In "Salt Shaker" the hikers again sneak up on sasquatch to unscrew the cap on his salt shaker. In "Shaving Cream" the guys sneak up on our wild sleeper to fill his hand with shaving cream.

In "Binoculars Prank," a young couple in the woods provide sasquatch with a pair of binoculars that leave charcoal circles around his eyes. The pay-off in each of these wee episodes is that messin' with sasquatch always backfires one way or another, cuz hey, don't mess with sasquatch.

Harry & the Hendersons William Dear's slapstick Harry & the Hendersons (1988) is about a sasquatch in Washington state that moves in with a nice suburban family.

As a commercial Hollywood comedy & unexpected hit, Harry & the Hendersons was effectively amusing, & certainly in a different class than the plethora of cheap & silly B & Z bigfoot movies. Whoever likes corny shlock may be disappointed in this "upmarket" version, but for a solid grin-giving family film, this is much funnier than the premise would lead one to expect.

The success of the piece is in the manner by which Harry expresses compassion & love in ways that not all humans seem capable of doing, so that he becomes more rather than less than a man.

As the Henderson family, headed up by John Lithgow as the family patriarch, strive to protect Harry from hunters while coping with his unexpected presence in their home & lives, they take on a degree of heroism that renders all of it much more than slapstick. And as the family struggles with whether or not to take Harry back to the wilderness, it becomes downright tearful.

Big & HairyIt inspired a shortlived children's television series of the same name (1991, 24 episodes) with Kevin Peter Hall reprising his film performance as the lovable huggable Harry, who is like a gigantic child & puppy rolled into one.

More charming than similarly absurd fantasy sitcoms like Alf, the Hendersons have pretty much been adopted by Harry, just as a golden retriever might adopt a family, while the family has to keep the existence of Harry a secret.

Philip Spinks' Canadian telefilm Big & Hairy (1998) might appeal to slower children. It's about a sasquatch (Trevor Jones) befriended by a school kid saddled with the horrific name Picasso Dewlap (Robert Burke). The sasquatch subsequently joins the school's basketball team.

It's another Harry & the Hendersons wannabe, & what a silly thing to wanna be. Unlike the original, it pretty much fails as comedy, though Hairy having to be Chewbacca when the kids want to pretend to be Star Wars characters was good for a moment's grin. Still, very young or slow children are apt to mistake it for a drama & get something out of it.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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