Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Harry to My Henderson

by Melissa Uhrin
I believe in the inevitability of a zombie apocalypse.
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.
Obviously not all films will be mentioned, as some were impossible to find and others I simply did not have time to watch, but it would be great to hear suggestions to further feed my obsession!

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!
Night of the Demon (1980) – Veering away from the docudrama style, we are now embarking on a flashback horror gore fest. Enter Bigfoot in all his horrific glory, and the tales of his impregnating a young girl who gives birth to a monstrous creature-child inspire a group of researchers to hunt down the Sasquatch and give him a what for. Heh. Bloody mayhem ensues and this is a fantastic creature feature to add to the list. Now, while I do believe that the Bigfoot himself does exist, I have a difficult time believing that this is the type of creature he would be. However, a good horror is a good horror, and if the beings of the Sasquatch world are anything like humans, there are bound to be a few assholes among them.

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!
Abominable (2006) – A fantastic gory horror, but seeing as the film itself makes note that the traditional Bigfoot we know and love doesn't pull apart cars or tear down brick walls, not to mention its size is more in keeping with the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, this film shouldn't even be a part of the list. So forget you read this. But don't forget at the same time, because it's a charming horror that I am looking forward to revisiting again soon.

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.


  1. I'm a huge fan of this subgenre so the fact that I haven't seen several of these bothers me. Thanks to this list I'll have to remedy that! I recently saw Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes and it was not so hot. Exists and Willow Creek are excellent recent additions to the subgenre, however.

  2. This is great. Definitely hitting some of these before my next (first?) camping trip. It's like how they always screen THE THING at that South Pole research station.
    I'm bummed because I own BOGGY CREEK 2, but only as a part of an MST3K collection.

  3. Oh cool, this makes a good to-watch list - haven't seen any of the ones you mention but it is a little subgenre I'm attracted to. I'd echo Matt and recommend Exists and Willow Creek for sure!

  4. Awesome, thanks guys! I had Exists on my to-watch list, but wound up travelling instead of watching ALL the movies! haha!

    Now I also have Willow Creek as well!

    DEFINITELY must-watches before any camping trip.

    Without the overactive imagination foretelling doom around any and all giant trees, camping is just downright boring.

  5. Melissa, glad you got to visit the wonderful Vancouver Island. Hopefully you got to visit some nice places. Did you visit Carmanah? That park holds a special place for me.
    Also, thanks for the movie recommendations. Haven't seen any of them. Harry and the Hendersons is a childhood fav though!