Jack Sullivan (Todd Cox) has recently come home from the service. His wife has left him to try her luck as an actress and his father has passed away, so he takes his young daughter, Charlie (Brooke Beckwith) to live in the home that his father left him. They drive to the small Ohio town and soon meet up with Jack's old pal, Bob (Bob Gray), now the town sheriff. As they get reacquainted and Jack and Charlie settle into their new digs, strange things start to happen. After Jack drops Bob off from a night of drinking, he sees a giant hairy creature that looks like bigfoot hanging out on his front lawn.
Jack tells Bob about it but the sheriff isn't so sure that his fears are real. Thankfully the cute park ranger in the goofy brown pants, Sandy Parker (Liza Foster), has got no shortage of mangled deer and animal carcasses to support Jack's story. It does seem that there's something out there killing creatures, kids and townsfolk, be it a sasquatch or a giant bear. The local hillbilly brigade, made up of guys like Bubba, head into the woods with their shotguns to take care of the problem but soon learn the hard way that whatever is out there is tougher than they are. Soon it'll be up to Jack, Bob and Sandy to save the great town of Mentor, Ohio from a monstrous threat.
Written and directed by Ohio native Bob Gray (the same man who plays Sheriff Bob in the movie), Bigfoot was made in 2006 but feels twenty years older than that. The whole film feels like its stuck in a time warp of some sort, from the complete (and refreshing) lack of CGI effects to the rubber suit employed to bring its titular monster to life to the fashions and buildings that make up the town. This isn't a bad thing, mind you, but it is surprising in that you don't really get the impression that it was intentional.
The film is played very tongue in cheek and despite some grisly gore effects in the latter half of the film, it's got a lot of goofy, cornball humor in it. A perfect example is when the hillbillies head into the woods to hunt whatever's bothering the townsfolk. The aforementioned Bubba has to go take a dump. When he doesn't return and the others hear him screaming, one guy asks 'What happened to Bubba?' and the other answers 'Oh, he had tacos last night.' This is followed by a weird electric guitar riff (there are a few in the movie), presumably to let us know that we're supposed to laugh and it's done in such a completely goofy style that you can't help but do just that. Somehow the cornball and somewhat lowbrow humor fits right in.
As a horror movie, Bigfoot isn't really that impressive. While there are some okay gore effects and the monster suit is actually pretty impressive, the film is almost completely devoid of tension or suspense. Right from the opening scene where we see a monster grab a cute woodland creature from his serene existence to feast upon, we know Gray's film isn't really meant to be taken all that seriously and although you get the impression that the attempts at horror and suspense are honest ones, they don't always mix with the comedy so well and they usually don't work. But hey, for a low budget movie, Bigfoot isn't half bad. If nothing else, this dopey throwback to the seventies/eighties golden years of low budget drive-in monster movies is an entertaining time killer. It was made with an obvious love and affection for films like The Legend Of Boggy Creek and it's a fun film, warts and all.
Troma's transfer is a soft one, but the movie was shot on video so it's doubtful that it'll ever look much better than it does here. The interlaced picture shows frequent sawtooth artifacts but is free from print damage. Detail isn't particularly strong and colors look a bit muted in spots but there isn't much in the way of print damage to complain about. This transfer isn't exactly good, but given the film's micro-budget origins it is at least watchable enough. Bob Gray previously released the movie on DVD on his own but I've no idea if this is the same transfer or not.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, the only mix available on the disc, is fairly flat but is listenable enough. There aren't any subtitles but the dialogue is generally easy to discern and the levels are well balanced. There is some slight hiss in a few spots and a bit of background noise now and again but only infrequently. Again, like the video quality, this isn't really impressive per se, but it gets the job done.
Troma has assembled a pretty solid smattering of supplements for this release, starting with a commentary track from Bob Gray who talks about shooting the film with a low budget in the wilds of Ohio. He shares some good stories about casting the film, how he got people on board to work with him on this project and how the effects were done but he also spends a fair bit of time simply telling us what we're seeing on the screen and talking about how lovely the summer is in Ohio. Regardless, the good outweighs the bad and he talks about changes he would make in hindsight and how he feels about the project overall.
The Making Of Bigfoot (9:45) features interviews with bigfoot experts alongside clips from the movie and some behind the scenes footage. Gray talks about how cooperative everyone in the town he used as his location were and how everyone pitched in and we get some input from a few of the cats members including Todd Cox and Liza Foster. There's also a trailer for the feature and a still gallery included as well as trailers for a few other unrelated Troma releases. Menus and chapter stops are also found on the disc.
A marginally entertaining low budget monster movie, Bigfoot has a weird 80s vibe to it - you'll have trouble believing that the film is as recent as it is, though maybe that's not such a bad thing. There's nothing special about the acting, most of which is hokey, and the story is pretty unoriginal, but it does what it does well enough that fans of bad horror films should be able to appreciate this one for what it is. Troma's DVD looks and sounds about as good as can probably be expected and throws in a few decent extras on top of that. Consider this one a fun rental when you've got an evening to kill and a fridge full of beer.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.