The Legend of Bigfoot

Found Art
★★
☆☆☆☆☆
Released: 
1976
Director: 
Harry Winer
Starring: 
Ivan Marx, Peggy Marx
The Setup: 
“Documentary” about bigfoot, seemingly composed entirely of stock nature footage.
Discussion: 

If you watch schlocky movies, you get used to the insertion of stock footage from other movies and documentaries. Most of them just use little bits here and there, but then you get things like Hell of the Living Dead, which is almost 1/3rd stock footage, but would you ever think there’d be a movie ENTIRELY composed of stock footage? Oh yes, mon frere, there sure is and I have seen it. Well, at least the first 45 minutes of it.

This “documentary” was included in my 50 Chilling Classics boxed set, and a quick scan on IMDb revealed that most people found it unintentionally hilarious. What they didn’t mention I that there is not one frame of original footage, it’s all just stock footage with a narrator trying his best to tie the wildly disparate subjects together.

The ostensible story is one man’s search for evidence of Bigfoot. He has this ridiculously cozy old coot of the West tone, combined with a decidedly Disney vibe, as he chuckles warmly and says things such as “Nature’s my home!” He and his wife [Peg or Barb or Jo or something] are all into nature, I never quite knew what they do for a living, but apparently it’s something that allows our protagonist to drop everything for months at a time and search for Bigfoot. It apparently funds these searches as well. We are introduced to his wife who will “not only put up with coyote pups, but raise them just like they were her own!” [so she breast feeds them?]. At first you’re like, ‘wait a minute… this WHOLE MOVIE can’t be made up of stock footage… CAN IT?” But you will know that it can when the people who are supposed to be its main characters change from one scene to the next.

It does seem at least that the producers did get a hold of every available piece of Bigfoot-related footage [I assume that they bought a big box of film at an auction, and this film is about Bigfoot because that’s what’s in the box. If there had been footage of Milton Berle, I suppose we’d now have a Milton Berle documentary]. So anyway, there are umpteen shots of some guy, sometimes supposed to be our hero and sometimes not, pointing at a Bigfoot track, demonstrating the length of its stride, or just standing with binoculars or some such.

So supposedly the hero sees Bigfoot, who runs off, and so the idiot hero runs after him! For, like, miles, getting more and more lost in unknown territory. This is an excuse to show lots of footage of “woods.” Our invisible hero takes molds of the footprints, etc, which is rejected by the scientific establishment [not shown], causing him to later bitterly observe “But my documented evidence wasn’t enough for these ‘experts.’”

So what is a typical sequence here like? Well, say you have some footage of squirrels. Here’s what you do: you have the narrator talk about how he hasn’t run into Bigfoot yet, “but I did see these two ground squirrels so much in love they took no notice of the danger around them!” [which is funny, to imagine Bigfoot running around munching ground squirrels like popcorn]. Then we follow a LONG sequence with the squirrels where one of them gets hit by a car [not shown], and the other one throws a huge Oscar clip of the ground squirrel grieving process [denial, anger, etc.] then drags the other one off the road, all the while watched by other members of the ground squirrel community. Then we have a lesson in “survival instincts” as the supposedly dead squirrel wakes up at the sound of a passing eagle, and drags himself into a nearby hole. Then: “These same survival instincts must have led Bigfoot to avoid man for his own safety!” So you see the kind of thing we’re dealing with here.

However, if you are, uh, not sober, this movie can be THE FUNNIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. The way they try to avoid how COMPLETELY unrelated much of the footage is to the other footage, hope you won’t notice that almost none of this has anything to do with Bigfoot, try desperately to tie random footage into Bigfoot in ANY way… it’s all just so monumentally idiotic you start giggling and don’t stop.

As we continue, we find out that goats prefer to KILL THEMSELVES rather than come face to face with Bigfoot! We see them eating dirt, which, we are informed, turns to cement once it gets wet inside their bodies! Why the entire hillside doesn’t turn to cement when it rains is not explained. Then—have some glacier footage?—why not add a section where you say that some old coot told you that the reason no one ever finds any dead Bigfoot bodies is that they carry their dead, sometimes over distances of thousands of miles, apparently, to the BIGFOOT BURIAL GROUNDS, which are located in Northern Canada, on the aforementioned glaciers. Ah, and let’s just take a few minutes to admire those majestic glaciers. What, we have 600 more feet of glacier footage? Ah yes, let us linger on these images of those majestic glaciers, and consider how the Bigfoot bodies might have been carried out to sea as they melt. That’s why we never find them! But this documented proof may not prove to be enough for those “experts.”

Later we introduce some completely unrelated frontier town photographs. At times the whole thing is like some sort of DaDa art project, as it was obviously cobbled together from found materials, and makes no sense. The thing is, some of the nature footage is actually fairly interesting in itself [I could watch icebergs calving forever], and when you combine that the ludicrousness of the narration and the idiocy of the entire project, the whole thing can be quite amusing.

Until it stops being amusing. This can happen quite abruptly. All of a sudden it’s all just not funny anymore. At that point one is advised to simply turn it of. This is one of two movies on this site that I didn’t even bother fast-forwarding to the end, I just turned it off. I had read on the IMDb that it continues unabated until the end until he gets some “evidence” that doesn’t really prove anything, and that’s it. I don’t need to sit through that. Maybe some night in the future when I am in, you know, an enhanced viewing state, I’ll watch the rest, but… probably not anytime soon.

Should you watch it: 

If you have it sitting around, have friends over, it’s after 2AM, and y’all are WASTED OFF YOUR ASS.