The Legend of Boggy Creek, 1972 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror
Posted by LiveFor on October 31, 2009
Director: Charles B Pierce
Starring: Vern Stierman
This great review by Rich Payne.
Picture the scene: the sleepy town of Fouke, Arkansas, population 350. Nestled deep in swamp country near the Louisiana border, Fouke is an insular but essentially clean-living southern American community of hunters and fishermen. This lonely, ramshackle cluster, flanked on all sides by the sodden rot of thickly wooded Boggy Creek, is the perfect setting for a standard hillbilly scarefest. But this is a different proposition entirely; an at times baffling blur of lo-fi horror and narrator-led documentary.
The boggy backdrops are mostly real locations where sightings of the mysterious creature have occurred. The on-screen faces reenacting reported close encounters with the Monster of Boggy Creek are often the very witnesses themselves. What is lost in finesse is made up for in humble authenticity. Amateur director and ad man Charles Pierce intersperses reconstructions of numerous sasquatch-like encounters in the bottomland of Fouke with his occasionally comical, grandfatherly voiceover, chronicling years of alleged sightings of the foul-smelling, six-foot beast.
Pierce made this film for next to nothing, and it shows. That it has since generated millions of dollars as an underground classic is more likely testament to the original concept than its final execution. Like American Splendor, The Legend of Boggy Creek is for the most part drama, with genre-bending forays into the realm of the documentary. There’s no escaping the lack of refinement, but at times this works in the film’s favour, with mistimed cuts and awkward acting producing a truly unnerving spectacle. Like Mark Borchardt’s Coven, a raw eye for filmmaking and bags of originality compensate for the self-funded indie production values.
From the opening line of, ‘I was seven years old when I first heard him scream,’ Pierce is using his limited resources and experience to good effect. He employs witness accounts to fashion the legend of a monster spotted and heard regularly by Fouke locals for over twenty years. The content of these accounts? Farm animals butchered, huge footprints discovered, and lonesome wails late at night, deep in the stagnant mist of the woods.
It’s easy to see why The Legend of Boggy Creek has become such a cult hit. It’s creative, endearingly rough around the edges and great fun, whether intended or not. Here we have a marvellous concept that struggles to fill the mould it’s carved for itself. It’ll appeal to a certain niche this Halloween, but despite its honesty and quirky creativity, The Legend of Boggy Creek is, like the mythical creature at its heart, destined to fade into obscure folklore.