As iconic and American as apple pie, the 4th of July, and political mud-slinging (sorry, that last one just happens to be fresh on my mind as of time of writing ), are the events surrounding a certain bipedal creature lurking the swamps of Fouke, Arkansas as documented in “The Legend of Boggy Creek” in 1972.
Perhaps one of the first movies to blur the line between documentary and dramatization, The Legend of Boggy Creek (directed and produced by Charles B. Pierce) brought the countries attention to a small town in Arkansas and it’s legendary inhabitant.
For many movie-goers, this cult-classic film was their first, and only, exposure to the events involving the bigfoot-like creature sightings reported during the late 60’s along Boggy Creek.
However, as the crew at Small Town Monsters documents in their latest film Boggy Creek Monster this legendary tale goes much deeper than a simple early 70’s docu-drama.
Writing a critical, somewhat skeptical, blog about the already fringe subject of Sasquatch doesn’t necessarily come with a ton of perks…
However, there are exceptions, and being to able to view and review movies such as the Small Town Monsters collection (which is now a trilogy) is one of those exceptions.
You can check out my review of the companies other two films, Minerva Monster and Beast of Whitehall at the links below…
As I’ve stated in my previous movie reviews…a professional reviewer I am not…
I do my best to talk about what I like, what I don’t like, what I learned, and what caught my eye. If that’s your kind of movie review, then I think we’ll get along just fine…
STM = Small Town Monsters
For many (myself included), expectations for any given film are set in motion by what we see and hear in the first 2-5 minutes.
Foreshadowing the rest of the documentary, the introduction to Fouke, Arkansas winds through the swamps and bottoms that provide the backdrop for many of the creature sightings. Here, maybe more than in any other place in the documentary, the maturity of Seth Breedlove (director) as a filmmaker is put on display. The effects typically seen in bigger budget documentaries are subtly intertwined within the introduction. Film reel “shakes”, shadowing, and carefully placed “over-exposures” add a touch of sophistication early in the movie, as well as deeper into the film, that add a great deal to the viewing experience as a whole.
The musical score is subtle, yet effective. I found it somewhat “toned down” from the other movies in the STM collection, but believe it fit with the tone of the film as a whole. More so than any of the other tales documented by STM, I felt Boggy Creek Monster teetering a bit further on the “eerie” side. The musical undertone, though certainly not overpowering, contributed to the slight hint of creepiness throughout the film. Kudos to Brandon Dalo, once again, for the musical score. Good stuff there, man.
Perhaps the best part of any STM movie is the storytelling.
No dramatic recreations.
Just honest recollection of the events surrounding an incident by the people who witnessed them firsthand.
Boggy Creek Monster stayed true to this tenant of STM through and through. I cannot reiterate how much I appreciate this. In the often ridiculous world of Sasquatch, sanity and honesty is an all too rare occurrence. Embellishment runs rampant. If you want “unbelievable” encounters, this movie isn’t for you. Thankfully, the more believable the better for me, so I’m cool with it.
I make it a point in these reviews to leave out the actual “content” of any given documentary because I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone. However, without giving anything away, I wanted to point out something I was very pleased with regarding what Boggy Creek Monster is not.
Boggy Creek Monster is NOT a re-telling of “The Beast of Boggy Creek”
When anything follows something as iconic (and well documented) as the Fouke sightings from the 70’s, there will always be the possibility of a “Tell me something I haven’t heard…” reaction.
Let me re-iterate, Boggy Creek Monster is MORE than a rehashing of what’s already been said, done, and filmed.
Sure, the doc dives into the original, and oft spoken of, well known sightings around Boggy Creek but (thankfully) goes into much more detail than has been traditionally divulged.
As someone who has a very deep interest (borderline obsession…I’ll admit it…) with all things Bigfoot, I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t at all concerned that STM Boggy Creek Monster wouldn’t hold any new information for my (way too full) Sasquatch brain. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Boggy Creek Monster takes what you know about Boggy Creek and it’s bipedal inhabitant and adds layer upon layer to the story. You’ll hear new stories, new witnesses, and gain a much better understanding of the encounters as a whole.
I certainly did.
One (rather unexpected) piece of Boggy Creek Monster are the artist renderings (Matt Harris) depicting the Ford and Crabtree incidents throughout the documentary. These artist renderings were the perfect addition to the film and were able to convey pieces of the story in a way that mere words couldn’t. I don’t know if I can emphasize this point enough, I really think the addition of these drawings added a great deal to the “feel” of the movie as a whole. I’ve watched the films several times as of time of writing and I’ve paused it on the pictures each time. Very well done here and a great addition to the film.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one Mr. Lyle Blackburn (Author Beast of Boggy Creek; The True Story of the Fouke Monster) and his role as narrator of Boggy Creek Monster.
Honestly, I can’t imagine hearing anyone else as the voice of this movie. Blackburn is so intimately associated with Fouke and the creature that I’m almost certain anything less than his narration would have been slightly off-putting. Lending his unique tone and experience to the film made it feel all the more authentic.
Of course, the voice of Blackburn can only carry a film as far as the written narration allows, especially for films in the style of the STM movies to date.
As I mentioned earlier, STM relies on eyewitness accounts and interviewing to tell the tale. That being said, even the best editing requires some sort of “backbone”. That backbone comes in the form of written narration, which is exceptional in Boggy Creek Monster, as it has been in the previous two Small Town Monster films. The films narration does just enough to guide the story and keep the viewer informed without attempting to sway belief one way or the other.
Like each of the previous STM movies I’ve had the great fortune to review, Boggy Creek Monster does not disappoint.
The film allows those closest to the event to tell their stories while allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
Music is great, artwork is fantastic, narration more than carries the story, and the addition of Blackburn tops it off well.
You may think you know all there is to know about the infamous Fouke Monster…
Let me assure you.
You can purchase each of STM first movies, Minerva Monster and Beast of Whitehall, as well as some awesome STM “swag” at http://shop.smalltownmonsters.com/