by Melissa Uhrin
I believe in ghosts.
And I believe that when I'm walking through the rocky mountains, I am in equal parts danger of mauling by a grizzly or a Sasquatch.
Naturally this made our trip to Vancouver Island last week that much more interesting, as the thrill of walking through hundred year old forests, not knowing what lies ahead had my imagination in overload. I used all my peripherals and senses to successfully navigate unharmed and while we made it home unscathed from any and all type of destruction, I'm fairly certain had we gone just ten feet deeper, this piece would have gone a whole other direction.
While the cousins of the Pacific Northwest Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot) are similar to the man-creature that is my focus of today, I thought perhaps a quick shout out to the Tibetan and Nepalese Yeti and the Australian Yowie was in order: “Hey Guys!” Exclusion backlash averted.
The debate over the legitimacy of the Sasquatch sightings throughout history reached its peak in the 1970s and is the perfect place to begin looking at Bigfoot in film. I stuck around in that era (era) for longer than I did the others, as I wanted to discover more about how the Bigfoot in film craze dug its roots.
Bigfoot (1970) – If the poster doesn't sell it, nothing will. Bigfoot will “breed with anything,” which surely must have been a selling point for Roger Ebert, as even he took the time to jot down a few words about the sexy sexiness of Joi Lansing.
The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) – This very low budget atmospheric docudrama has gained a cult following over the years and I have to admit, while being a newbie in the cult, I found it quite enjoyable, especially when I allowed myself to slip into the “reality” of the documentary. Another time I wish I had my time travel machine in working order so that I could travel back to its release and watch it the way it was intended, in good ole Drive-In style.
Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1976) – Another in the faux documentary style, chock-full of beautiful photography, men on horses and all the “great” effects they could throw in here. (Enter a couple shadowed glimpses of a man in ape-ish style suit.) Again told through reenactments, we are drawn into the story, but being a lover of all things Sasquatch it is not hard to keep me interested in the genre!
Drawing Flies (1996) - View Askew takes on the Canadian Wilderness and Jason Lee kicks all the ass. I have always been a fan of Kevin Smith and it took me working on this Sasquatch piece to get off my ass and track this movie down. My timing could not have been better, either, as it was filmed in the same woods as we just trekked!
While my flair for the dramatic may have taken hold and led me down the “death by Sasquatch” route, in my heart of hearts Bigfoot is and always will be the gentle giant at the centre of my family. Because Harry and the Hendersons is the Sasquatch that I am always looking around the woods for, hoping to see just around the next bend. A new smelly, family friend. After all, I was a Henderson for the first 33 years of my life.