horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

Flashback Review: April 25th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (1970)

bigfoot 1970

Back in the video store days, I remember seeing the case for this movie on the shelf all the time during the 80’s. it had always attracted my attention because it had Bigfoot picking up a motorcycle to throw at people, and it had a claim of being the greatest monster since King Kong. Despite my interest, I never got around to renting it back then and after a while, it would end up pushed to the side and eventually disappeared as newer movies made their way to the stores. Decade later, I saw a clip of this movie on YouTube and it renewed my desire to watch this movie. I eventually found a copy of it for sale on one of the sites I frequented and quickly bought it. When Bigfoot (1970) arrived, I finally got my chance to watch it and it was just as bad as I could have possibly hoped for it to be.

The plot: Joi Landis is flying a single engine plane over the California mountains near Burbank. At the same time, traveling salesman Jasper B Hawks and his sidekick Elmer Briggs are driving through the mountains when there engine overheats. Jasper sends Elmer to get some water to cool it down and as Elmer heads out into the woods, a group of bikers come driving by Jasper and the car. As Elmer approaches a nearby stream, he sees overly large footprints in the mud and hears some strange growling, which spooks him and causes him to head back to Jasper with the bucket only half full. Meanwhile, the engine goes out on Joi’s plane and she is forced to radio in her problem and then parachute to safety but when she lands, she finds herself captured by a Bigfoot. At a small general store in the mountains, the bikers that had passed Jasper earlier have bought some food and beer and take off up the mountain just as Jasper and Elmer arrive. As the group continue driving, Rick and his girlfriend Chris decide to split off from the group and go spend some time alone. While they are relaxing, Chris decides to go explore and finds some sort of burial ground. She calls out for Rick and when he gets there, he notices a fresh grave and decides to move the dirt from it and uncovers a Bigfoot body. Suddenly, another Bigfoot appears and attacks Rick, knocking him unconscious, then carries off Susan into the woods. When Rick regains consciousness and finds Chris is missing, he heads off to meet back up with his friends but finds that they have already moved on. Rick heads back to the general store and calls the sheriff to report what happened but the sheriff, having received several crank calls about the creature over the years, doesn’t believe Rick’s story and tells him they will search for Chris in the morning if she doesn’t turn up. Rick calls the cabin his friends were heading too and tells them to come back as he needs help, then wants to buy a flashlight and gun from the store but the owner tells him that he is out of flashlights and doesn’t have any guns there. Jasper and Elmer, who had been listening to Rick’s story, say they believe him and offer to help him and Rick takes them up to the burial ground where Chris had disappeared. He shows them the body and Jasper wants to try and capture a live creature to sell to a freak show but Rick says his only interest is to find Chris. They then head towards the stream where Elmer had seen the tracks but are forced to get some rest during the night. Meanwhile, Chris and Joi are tied to some poles in the Bigfoots’ lair, with 4 Bigfoot keeping watch over them. When Chris asks Joi what she thinks they will do with them, Joi theorizes that they are a dying race and had brought them there to try and breed with them, but notes that the Bigfoot seem nervous about something at the top of the mountain. In the morning, the three older Bigfoot head off into the woods, leaving a baby behind to keep and eye on the captive women. Meanwhile, Rick, Jasper, and Elmer renew their search and start following the footprints by the stream. They eventually spot a Bigfoot running through a clearing ahead of them and Jasper wants to try and capture it but Rick reminds him that they are there to find Chris first. The three men keep looking but they are eventually attacked and captured by the three Bigfoot. Back at the store, the sheriff and his deputy show up at the store and the owner’s daughter tells him that Rick had left with Jasper and Elmer and says she will call them if he returns. Meanwhile, Rick’s friends have returned to try and locate Rick, finding the burial ground that Rick had mentioned. As they search the mountains, they find a cabin in the woods with some people, Hardrock and his family,  in it and when they tell them what is going on, Hardrock decides to help them find their friends. Back at the Bigfoot’s lair, two of the Bigfoot grab Joi and take her up the mountain and tie her to two trees, and an even larger Bigfoot approaches her. The Bigfoot starts to untie her when a bear appears and it is forced to fight off the bear, eventually killing it, but when it turns back to Joi, it finds that she has managed to escape and begins tracking her down. Meanwhile, Hardrock, his son, and the bikers arrive at the camp and free Rick and the others, while capturing the baby Bigfoot and Rick tells their rescuers about Joi and says they have to rescue her. Jasper and Elmer try to get away with the baby but it gets away and reunites with the other three Bigfoot. The others go after Joi and the large Bigfoot, who had managed to recapture Joi, and when they find it, Jasper tries to convince them to help him capture it alive. Hardrock shoots at the Bigfoot and manages to wound it, causing it to drop Joi and head off into a nearby mine to escape the men. One of the bikers uses the dynamite he grabbed from Hardrock’s place to blow up the entrance the mine, sealing the entrance and seemingly killing the Bigfoot, while the other 4 Bigfoot are seen making their way down the mountain to find a new home. As the bikers and Hardrock leave, Jasper laments about the lost opportunity but when Joi tries to console him, he invites her to join him and they can tour the country talking about her experience and make a fortune doing it.

This is such a terrible movie that it is just laughable to imagine how it ended up getting made. The acting was ok at best, but did tend to be pretty bad at times. John Carradine (Jasper) was probably the best actor in the bunch but there was one point where it seemed like Joi Lansing (Joi) did nothing but scream whenever she was on camera; at least during the last 30 minutes or so of the movie. The story was interesting, as it basically played up the angle of Bigfoot being some sort of missing link of early man, thus their kidnapping women in order to breed. The special effects were just terrible as far as the costumes went. Those were some of the worst Bigfoot costumes I think I ever saw. At one point, when the Bigfoot was fighting with Rick, it looked like the top half of the costume had moved up the actor’s body, showing the skin underneath. That plus the rather shoddy camera work, and the disjointed scenes where events seemed to be out of sync just made this a chore to watch at the end. The claim about this being the greatest monster since King Kong definitely fell short in regards to this film.

Rating: 2 out of 5