Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Review: THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT (1979)

The first entry in our new "Guest Review" column was written by Dylan Duarte of Star Costumes.

Everyone is familiar with the classic movie monsters. You've got Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, and a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting. These monsters are well known because they're so effective. They're scary, they're unique, and in their own odd way, they're very likable. I am of the opinion that bigfoot should be one of these monsters, that the hairy beast should have a permanent place the Halls of Movie Monsterdom. Being an urban legend, he carries his own mythos. He's mysterious, he's scary, and much like Frankenstein's monster, he's largely misunderstood.

That misunderstanding is a key element in THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT, a 1979 horror film now being distributed by Troma Entertainment and currently streaming on Netflix. Bigfoot is spotted in a small, snowy town, and while some people see a monster, others see dollar signs and set out to capture the illusive beast. What follows is one of the cheesiest horror flicks I've ever laid eyes on and I'm more than familiar with Troma's catalog.

Troma president Lloyd Kaufman listed this film among the five worst films his company has ever distributed, but I'm curious as to how you judge something like that. When I fired up THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT, it was clear from the get-go that this was a film created to be entertaining. I knew the characters would be paper thin, I knew there wouldn't be any subtext. You don't expect these sorts of things from Bill Rebane, the guy behind MONSTER A GO-GO and THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION. And that's alright, because you're watching for pure entertainment. I wanted to see a man stomp around in a poorly designed bigfoot costume and I got just that.

You've got your evil businessman (Richard Kennedy), your incompetent sheriff (Wally Flaherty), and your reckless children who excel at putting themselves in harm's way. The highlight of the film comes when Jake, the town drunk (George "Buck" Flower), whom nobody takes seriously, happens to know all about the bigfoot and how to go about stopping the creature from causing any more mayhem. Is there a more perfect plot device? We learn about the legend of Arak, which is the name the Native American's gave to the creature. There's even a magical amulet!

THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT is schlock, plain and simple. With all of the above elements featured in the movie, you know exactly what to expect. Truth be told, there's better schlock out there. There are a few gems in here, namely the drunken character I mentioned and the sheriff that's obsessed with celebrity impersonations, but for the most part, THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT is slow and takes itself too seriously. There was potential for over-the-top goodness, but it never quite reached that point. I can understand Kaufman's disappointment.

Guest author Dylan Duarte is a cinephile and freelance writer. When he's not writing about film, he’s writing about Halloween costumes. He can be reached at

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