WRITERS: Original story by Robert F. Slatzer
Screenplay by Robert F. Slatzer and James Gordon White
DIRECTOR: Robert F. Slatzer
STARRING: John Carradine as Jasper B. Hawks
Joi Lansing as Joi Landis
Judy Jordan as Chris
John Mitchum as Elmer Briggs
James Craig as Cyrus
Christopher Mitchum as Rick
Joy Wilkerson as Peggy
Lindsay Crosby as Wheels
Ken Maynard as Mr. Bennett
James Stellar as Bigfoot
QUICK CUT: One day, a perfectly innocent traveling salesman is dragging his car through the backwoods when he runs afoul of a biker gang and a clan of Bigfeet. Wackiness ensues.
Jasper - He's just a simple guy driving along trying to sell junk out of the back of his car before it falls apart on him. He's always on the lookout for a buck, and he can find the angle in anything.
Elmer - Jasper's right hand man, a bit of a big, lovable goof, and not quite as much as in it for the money as Jasper. However, he's loyal to his friend and partner, probably more than he should be. He is the Jiminy to Jasper's Pinnochio.
Joi - One of the few women in the story, and while she may run around without much clothes, she's actually written as pretty smart, and she's a pilot in her spare time. That's saying something for 1970s cinema. They try having their cake and eating it too, with her, and it just about works.
Chris - Another of the missing women, and she doesn't come off quite as well as Joi. She's relegated to being Rick's girlfriend, and a kidnap victim more than anything else.
Rick - One of the motorbike tourist people, and Chris's boyfriend. He seems like a nice enough guy, and is willing to do almost anything to bring her home safely.
Bigfoot - Our eponymous creature, and he seems like the only thing interesting to him is breeding with women. Kind of a smaller King Kong, really.
THE GUTS: Oh hello, and welcome back to The Quest for Triskaidekafiles! On this week's episode, we shall travel deep, deep, DEEP into the backwoods of bad movies to try and find...Bigfoot! Many brave souls have tried to find this elusive movie, and we are here today with *exclusive* footage of this mythical beast! So, come with me now into a world of pure terror...
We kick things off, and you know immediately this is the 70s, with a soundtrack that would not be amiss in a stereotypical porno. I have serious fears that the music may well be the best part of this movie.
After seeing a woman hop into a puddlejumper of a plane and take off over the mountains, we find two guys driving around the backroads in a hearse. Well, at least when they die, they've already got the vehicle to take them back to the cemetary.
ECTO-1 dies long before anyone else does, and John Carradine sends his pal off into the woods to fetch a pail of water to cool the engine down.
The wannabe Jack heads off and starts mugging into the camera at something off screen. One of my favourite gimmicks, when they don't actually have something there for someone to look at on set, so they just film the face. And it is rarely this obvious.
We see Elmer's gawking at some gigantic footprints, so either he's stumble upon some tracks of the titular Bigfoot, or Sideshow Bob is camping. Either way, he's probably smart to run back to the car and get the heck outta there.
Back in the skies, little miss flies-a-lot is having engine trouble with her plane, so radios in her location before jumping out.
The plane goes down, she parachutes to safety, and then immediately starts stripping out of her clothes. OH no wait, they just had her wearing an unfortunately fleshy coloured top under her flight suit.
And it looks like our monster had the same reaction I did, as he comes shambling out of the woods to meet the visitor who just dropped by. Who knew that women were delivered by air mail??
Jasper and Elmer arrive in town on the heels of the cast from Pod People traveling through, and try to sell their junk at the local general store. In the meantime, a pair of the bikers zoom off on their own into the woods to have some fun on their own.
Because going off alone is always a good idea.
While Rick makes sure the bike is still doing okay, his girl wanders off into the woods to explore. She comes across some strange mounds and calls him over. Rick thinks it looks like an Indian burial ground, and starts digging through one of the graves.
Because disturbing an Indian burial ground in a horror movie is the BEST idea. Even by 1970, this must've been a common trope.
After they uncover the face of the creature buried in the ground, a rather more lively specimen shows up, and is not happy at their friend being unearthed. Rick gets knocked down, and Chris is taken. Oh good, the pilot will at least have a friend to talk to.
Back with the rest of the tourists, they've found a spot to settle down for the night, and are having your usual drunken camping shennanigans. Dum-Dum is harassing one of the girls, Wheels is taking charge, Hardrock and Slim are messing around. This is what the Howling Commandos did after World War II??
Now that everyone has had some beer, they decide to move on, because getting drunk and jumping back on their bikes is a good idea. One of them actually notices Rick and Chris haven't returned yet, but they move on anyways, saying that Rick is a big boy and can find his way back whenever.
Miraculously, Rick wakes up unharmed, save for a headache I'd imagine, and races to catch up with the gang. All he finds is the remains of their campsite and moves along.
He heads back into town, where Jasper and Elmer are still jawing away at the store, and calls the sheriff. Rick tells him about the creature, and Cyrus just laughs it off. His response is along the lines of, but I get so many of these calls about creatures in the woods!
Well, here's a thought, if you keep getting them, especially one like Rick's, did you ever think there might be some truth to them? Especially when there's a missing woman in the mix? Sigh, horror movie police, ladies and gents...
Still, the sheriff decides he'll come by in the morning to check things out, which is amazing. Rick tries to get a gun and a flashlight, but Bennett is fresh out. Oh, if only there was a traveling salesman with a bunch of junk in the back of his car!
Oh, hello there, Jasper! Yep, he's more than willing to supply Rick's expedition, for the right price. Oh, and if he catches the creature, he sees that as a money making opportunity, too.
And so, armed with guns and given the usual warnings from the Harbinger at the general store about dangers in them there woods, our trio set forth on a traveling montage. Now, I normally will give some leeway on padding such as this of the scenery is nice, because hey! Show that stuff off if you got it right there, right?? Yeah, well, it really loses something when the scenery IS FILMED AT NIGHT AND YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING! For nearly three whole minutes.
Enjoy our glorious splendour, if you can see it! Filmed in thrilling Dark-o-vision!
They end up back at Makeout Point with Rick, and hey! It just so happens Jasper used to be an archaeologist! He is the Indiana Jones of our time! Traveling across the country, selling his wares, and unearthing strange objects and bad movies!
Jasper uses his skills and recognises the strange symbols on the bigfoot gravestones, at least enough to know they are of 'peculiar significance'. Rick further convinces them by brushing away the dirt to show off the face of the Bigfoot. It sure is nice that the Bigfeet bury their dead in shallow graves, eh?
Hawks is determined to capture a living specimen, but let's hold up here a moment. Yes, getting one alive is great, but...you've got one laying RIGHT THERE at your feet. This is kinda a huge find, even if it IS just a dead one. I'd be securing what we definitely have, at the very least, before stumbling off into the darkness. A bigfoot in the hand is worth two in the bush. And they don't know about the one in the bush!!
Oh, and yeah, Rick is still intent on finding Chris, so there's that too.
Speaking of which, we jump over to her tied to a pole next to our missing pilot. Who has decided that these creatures have captured them because their race is dying, and they want women to breed. Human girls are easy, I guess.
But isn't that also a bit of a leap? I do appreciate moving the plot forward in a large way there, getting it out of the way, but it's also a big jump, with no real evidence. That we've seen, at least. Sure, I *guess* the ape rape could've happened off camera, and probably should. But why does she think they're there to be brood mares, and not, I dunno, dinner?
While the Bigfeet play with their marshmallows on sticks, the ladies talk about the plot, and we get the usual bad science about the missing link. I'm not going to get into *why* the outdated concept of missing links isn't the best science, because this isn't a class on evolution, and I'll let it slide for being 1970.
The girls notice their captors are scared of something out on a nearby ridge, but have no clue what. They can figure out the fuzzy people wanna boink them, but can't take a guess what's scaring them? Bad movie logic!
Meanwhile, the mighty hunters have decided to take a break, because it's, y'know, darker than my heart out there. Rick wants to plow forward, but Elmer is done, needs a rest, and Jasper is gonna stick to his friend like glue. It doesn't do anyone any good to just go crashing through the woods in the dark until someone gets hurt.
With the morning, the hunt resumes, for both parties. The humans wake up, and Jasper shows off his tracking skills, following the beasts even across the river. And the Bigfeet go out hunting, likely for our trio, leaving the baby behind to watch the girls.
The trio spend a lot of time wandering the woods, and I guess we have officially entered the padding portion of our plot. They at least break things up a little by the occasional break to chat, so it's not quite as daunting to get through as an infamous rock climbing scene in some other movie.
Still, it's a lotta walking and a lotta trees, so I'm grateful when the monkeymen show up to liven things up by attacking people. Which is naturally the best time for the movie to change plots and have the sheriff arrive at Bennett's store. Sigh.
Movie C keeps things stalled as the Howling Commandos bike on past the Bigfoot graveyard and...uh, suddenly run into a shack with a Native girl sitting in front of it. Someone maybe coulda mentioned them earlier? Maybe?
They run into a guy living there who has heard of the legends of sasquatch in the area, and yes, they actually call it that. I'm not about to get into the differences between Bigfoot and Sasquatch, but whatever.
Oh, important plot point when Dum-Dum comes running up with a fistfull of dynamite he discovered out of nowhere in the plot point shed behind the cowboy's shack. And he still takes it with him. On his motorbike. After he's been told it's been sitting there for years. He's not called Dum-Dum for nothing, I guess. Oh well, he'll go out nicely in a boom...
With the bikers coming to the rescue, it's time to check back in on the girls, and we see they've been joined by Rick, Jasper, and Elmer, all tied up as well. Here's hoping they're not gonna try and be mated with too!
The wookiees grunt and growl, waving their arms around, and finally decide to drag Joi off to who knows where. Sure hope it's just to get her fitted for a pair of pants, and not mating...
Meanwhile, in Movie D, Forest Ranger Doodles Weaver nyoooms through the plot, talking to the sheriff about how hunting season is gonna look, and mock all the fake joke stories of creatures in the woods some more. Meanwhile, in the background, one of the grape apes is badly sneaking by for a listen. Ultimately, this has nothing to do with the plot, whatsoever.
So, a woman is missing. The authorities keep laughing about all these fake stories, and keep saying, "Hey, we should go look tomorrow!" "We'll be right out tomorrow!" Meanwhile, days and days keep passing, and the GIRL IS STILL MISSING. Yeah, these are GREAT cops
Yes, fine, they may not believe the creature stories, but they should at LEAST check out a missing woman. At least before TWO WHOLE DAYS has passed. I know places normally wait 48 hours, but they're still LAUGHING about it.
Things are going a little too King Kong for Joi, though, as she gets dragged to some poles and tied up. Well, she WAS tied to a pole before, but now she's tied to TWO poles! See the difference?? And then the most giantest Bigfoot arrives on the scene.
While they're tied up, Jasper thinks this is a great time to talk with Elmer about the massive money making opportunity, if they survive this massive monkey making opportunity. I guess it's his way of focusing on happy thoughts to stay positive.
But as they're ogling Littlefoot and plotting their future traveling show, Joi is being pursued by a bear with no ability to exit since she's tied up. That's okay though, because Biggestfoot is there to get into a wrestling match. Which, thanks to this movie being the darkest dark that ever did dark, is harder to follow than a Michael Bay Transformer battle.
Joi somehow manages to get herself untied while the fur is flying. I suppose Bigfeet just aren't that good at tying knots. Which is good news for the guys, I suppose! Anyways, she zooms off, and when Biggestfoot realises she's gone, he leaves the dead bear behind to chase after her.
And all of a sudden, in what is quite literally five seconds, almost every single plot comes crashing together. The bikers suddenly arrive at the Bigfeet campgrounds, they suddenly untie the captured guys, and Hawks suddenly grabs himself Littlefoot. The only thing NOT going on right now is Joi running in, or we'd have collected the complete set of plots here.
Now that Jasper has his prize, and Rick and Chris have been found, the bikers just up and nearly disappear from the film. Jasper borrows Elmer's tie to keep Littlefoot under control, for all of 30 seconds until they see a larger creature and let the baby go. All on the logic that it might lead them to nabbing a larger creature. But...but you just escaped, and they caught you before, and what about the bird in the hand quote you just said and...aww man.
Elmer however, is so done with this movie, he just walks right out and back to the car, money be damned. Smartest move of the entire movie. They got the girl, they escaped, and Elmer just walks off screen with a big old can of Nope. Which is pretty much what almost everyone else does when Jasper tries to enlist their aid in hunting the creatures down.
So of course that means we are back to running around the woods and...oh no. In the name of Corman, no. They head to the scary mountain, and...there is an actual rock climbing sequence in this movie.
We spend over five minutes of running up that hill, which is at least punctuated by Biggestfoot putting the girl down to throw rocks at Jasper and friends, before chasing the girl to recapture her. Finally though, everyone reaches a clearing, and the shack cowboy shoots Biggestfoot in the kneecap. Hawks isn't too happy about it, but on the upside, the creature's not dead yet, so he still has money walking around.
There's a few too many people with guns in the area though, and they may not all be on the same page with Jasper's 'keep him alive' agenda. No matter how much money he tries to offer them. People keep firing at Biggestfoot, which is an unsurprisingly easy target.
Oh yeah! Remember that dynamite that some guy with the name Dum-Dum has? Yeah, well...Biggestfoot stumbles into a cave to try and catch his breath, and the guy lives up to his name by tossing the dynamite in after the creature. And so, with an explosion, Jasper's hopes and dreams go up in smoke, and fuzzy red bits.
Everyone but Jasper is pretty happy, since the girls are saved, the monkeyman is dead, and everyone gets to live happily ever after, except for the one lone Bigfoot that died. And I cannot believe Hawks actually tries to say the classic line that it was Beauty that did him in. I AM PRETTY SURE IT WAS THE DYNAMITE THAT SLAYED THE BEAST.
Not one to be deterred by a little explosion, Jasper has one last attempt at making some sweet cash off this whole botched adventure, and offers Joi what amounts to a tour of the talk show circuit, so people can pay to see her and hear her harrowing story. And so Jasper and his meal ticket walk off into the sunset...
Video: Eww. This is almost as bad as the public domain stuff from a 50 pack. The dark is way too dark, it's very dull and grainy... You can make out who's who and stuff, but the bigfeet are little more than fuzzy black blobs most of the time.
Audio: Pretty bad, but for a 1970s crappy forgotten movie, it could be worse. Everything is clear enough, and it doesn't come anywhere close to the nadir set by Blood Beat.
Sound Bites: "There's been strange doin's in them mountains!" That sums the movie up, right there.
"They're practically subhuman! Except they still live like animals!"
And on top of that, let's not forget that while it's not a line, Elmer's face is a goldmine throughout the movie.
1! 1 exploded monkey man, ah ah ah!
Seriously though, April is having a serious lack of deaths. What gives?
Best Corpse: Geeze, that's an easy one this week, huh? Still, multiple gunshot wounds plus being blown up, PLUS buried in a cave? Impressive way to go!
Blood Type - F-: The only blood anywhere in this movie is in smatterings of bloody dust when the Biggestfoot gets shot. Even the makeup effects are nothing to write home about
Sex Appeal: Zilch, the most we get is scantily clad.
Sights and Sounds: I bring you the jaunty rock climbing scene towards the end of the film, with some great lines from Jasper. He's like this the whole movie.
Drink Up! Every time Elmer makes a funny face, or Jasper says something rustic. Use your own judgment there.
Movie Review: It is very 70s. So I don't ding it much for that. The movie is a lot slower than anything we're used to, and very light on plot. However, there's something to do here with Bigfeet wanting to breed, kidnapping women, and hunting through the woods for them. However, there's a difference between a slow pace, and downright padding. And while Bigfoot doesn't quite get as bad as certain other offenders, there is still a LOT of needless wandering in the woods for the sake of wandering. Also, there is WAY too many characters, and not enough time spent on most of them. You could have cut out huge swaths of people without affecting the plot, or with very minimal changes. Dum Dum still needs to find that dynamite, but the cowboy in the shack with his Native American wife was unnecessary, for example. I frighten to think how much MORE padded the movie would have been without them, though. The movie is thoroughly okay in a very basic way, and never does anything great. Two out of five bigfoot graves.
Entertainment Value: And yet...I found myself weirdly enjoying this. There's a number of these public domain movies I've had bad luck with, you've read the reviews, and they were often poor choices. And this falls into much the same style. It manages though to be WAY more entertaining, and even with zero deaths besides our monster at the very end, it was somehow fun? As always, John Carradine was very entertaining. Put him or Christopher Lee in a movie, and it's almost worth watching. While this is a pretty bad movie, it's very watchable...well, not *physically* with the bad visuals, but you know what I mean! I'd say give this one a shot, it's terribly amusing, at least. Three out of five broken down hearses.