Sympathy for the Sasquatch
Cinematic sasquatches are surprisingly often sympathetic characters.
Cinematic Bigfoots Part III
Corey Michael Eubanks' Bigfoot: The Unforgettable Encounter (1995) has an eleven year old lad (Zachery Ty Bryan) saved from a grizzly bear by a helpful sasquatch.
Cody must later return the favor, striving to save his sasquatch buddy from bounty hunters, who come off like villains from a Dudley Doright cartoon.
It succeeds in a disneyesque sort of way for viewers eleven & under, but it also has some moments of humor that make it fun for adult viewing, just so long as you've got a soft spot in your heart for badly made movies.
Bill Rebane is one of the world's worst filmmakers. His The Capture of Bigfoot aka The Legend of Bigfoot (1979) is about Arak the Bigfoot (Janus Raudkivi) whose mountain territory is encroached upon by a ski resort.
The local yokels have made sasquatches something of a regional cottage industry & don't want their resident bigfoot captured, except for one enterpreneur who'd like to put him on display, a la King Kong.
It's entertaining, in that moronic sort of way that harks back to the "best" of Ed Wood. The Capture of Bigfoot as a no-budget affair has a certain camp appeal, which cannot be said of all Rebane films, as you may be able to tell from reviews of additional Bill Rebane films).
Capture of Bigfood is one of four films included on Bigfoot Terror, together with other ultracheapy sasquatch movies, Shriek of the Mutilated (1974), Search for the Beast (1997), & the moronic Ivan Marx "documentary" Legend of Bigfoot (1976).
Robert Vernon's made-for-tv Legend of the Desert Bigfoot (1995) is a Christian family film in the "Last Chance Detectives" series. It produced by Focus on the Family, a hate-group, so-designated, & rightly so, by the Southern Poverty Center & a number of hate group watchdogs.
The organization boasts of waging a "Holy War" against feminists & gays hides its hardcore right-wing agenda behind crippled notions of family values. But given that so much cinema is sleezy, who is to say right-wing phony moralism is any worse than, say, a well made slasher movie?
There's always a moral lesson in this series & this time it's about animal abuse, not necessarily of a sasquatch, but of a neglected dog. One might think even the menacing lunatic fringe of Christian bigotry couldn't be against a kid trying to save a dog's life, but you'd be surprised.
The heroic child Mike (Ryan Calhoun) has to make a decision to break the "thou shalt not steal" commandment, if dognapping is the only to save its life. Very weirdly, the commandment takes precidence; it is wrong to save the life of an animal without its abuser's permission, even if such permission is never forthcoming.
In the main plot, the four Arizona kids calling themselves the Last Chance Detectives set out to investigate a sudden rash of Bigfoot citings. If sasquatches aren't real, what could people be seeing?
The sneaky use of a nice monster to teach scripture might work in households where the kids are going to be bombarded by scripture anyway, & they might as well get a gorilla with their next sermon. It's otherwise not worth the effort.
Much the same very young age-range targetted by Desert Bigfoot can be entertained sans sermons with Jay Schlossberg-Cohen's Cry Wilderness (1987).
It should thrill the most naive & littler kids who won't realize the nature photography is stock footage. The film is so badly put together it'll entertain parents on the sheer glory of its sundry eneptitudes.
With a no-star cast, Cry Wilderness regards some bad guys tracking an ape-man in a California forest.
No one will believe the forest ranger's teenage son (who acts eight) when he insists the creature is friendly, having shared a Coke with the enormous galute.
The youth goes into cleverness overdrive to keep dad & dad's armed-to-kill buddies from harming the endearing smily ape-man.
Danny Huston's telefilm Bigfoot (1987) has forest campers encountering a family of sasquatches in the Pacific Northwest. Though aimed at very young kids, it's one of the better of the kiddy films on the topic.
Distributed by Disney, it's a family-friendly film with the Bigfoot befriended by children (Adam Carl & Candace Cameron). When the kids get lost in the woods, a husband & wife sasquatch find them. Having recently lost a child of their own, the sasquatches adopt the kids & care for them very much.
But the adult world, launching a lost-child hunt, may not understand the creatures meant only good. The main thing preventing the tragic capture of the nice ape-people are the kids.
Such a theme seems like it must inevitably be mawkish or gag-me-with-syrup, but it's surprisingly restrained with as much realism as such a fantasy can muster, & has a skilled cast who seems to believe in their characters.
Robert F. Slatzer's earlier film of the same title Bigfoot (1970) presents another family of Sasquatches likewise living in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. There's a lot less sympathy for sasquatches in this one, despite that they've got a sasquatch kid.
It's not kid-friendly, either, as it has tepid sexploitation with busty babes, & badly staged violence. But it's hard to call it quite for adults either, unless for very drunk adults.
There's a macho male sasquatch, three female sasquatches, & a baby sasquatch, pitted against a motorcycle gang. In this world motorcycle gangs dance in the woods & more like hippies than bikers. John Carradine in his down-and-out years got a few days work playing Jasper the travelling salesman stuck in the woods.
Monster make-up is fabulously unconvincing, though those sasquatch faces would sure scare a little kid. The whole film laughable throughout, making it a loveable film for shlock addicts.
The Revenge of Bigfoot was imaginatively retitled Rufus J. Pickle & the Indian (1979) about a Texas bigfoot interfering with a bigot's (Mike Hackworth) desire to run an Indian (T. Dan Hopkins) off a neighbor's (Rory Calhoun) ranch.
The independent cheapy, filmed in Texas, hit the drive-in circuit, distributed mainly in the South. It's today on many a shlock-collector's want-list.
Alan Grosland directed The Secret of Bigfoot (1975) which starred Andre the Giant in the titular role as a semi-heroic sasquatch who turns out not to be such a bad guy after all.
This was a movie-length two-part television episode of The Six Million Dollar Man & can be had on dvd.
It's regarded as the best or at least the most over the top episode of the whole series.
It features not only Andre as the bigfoot wrestling with Lee Majors as the bionic man, but amps up the fantasy quotient by bringing in Stefani Powers as the bionic woman & -- zowwy! as if that's not enough -- there are even some aliens from outer space.
The children's television series Bigfoot & Wildboy (1977/8, 20 half-hour episodes) was about a feral boy (Joseph Butcher) raised in the wilderness by a sasquatch (Ray Young).
For the first season episodes their best friend & tag-along was the forest ranger's little daughter Suzie (Monika Ramirez).
Together Sasquatch & Wildboy roam the Pacific Northwest wilderness stomping out pollution, walloping bad guys, encountering space aliens, helping campers in distress, & all sorts of exciting nonsensicality.
Sentimentality toward sasquatches is taken to its furthest extreme in two "baby bigfoot" films, Little Bigfoot and Little Bigfoot II: The Journey Home both from 1997 & directed by Art Comancho.
These are kind of a combination of Son of Godzilla with the cutesy big-eyed baby befriending children, & ET: The Extraterrestrial with the smart boy helping the sweet creature find its way back home.
The baby bigfoot costume is a bit more convincing than Barney the Purple Dinosaur. These are children's films through & though, replete with moral lessons, slim for the adult diet but apt to be much enjoyed by the very young.
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