Thursday, September 6, 2012


The Aslyum works their microbudget mojo on the Sasquatch legend with the SyFy Channel monster movie, BIGFOOT (2012), a sloppily-made special effects potboiler which pits a giant, hair-covered hominid against a couple of former 70s child stars in a battle where no one - especially not the viewer - can rightly claim victory.

In Deadwood, South Dakota, radio DJ Harley Anderson (Danny Bonaduce, THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY) is trying to put together an outdoor music festival with the blessings of the tourism-hungry town mayor (Howard Hessman, WKRP IN CINCINNATI). Unfortunately, his plans are opposed by smug conservationist Simon Quint (Barry Williams, THE BRADY BUNCH) and a twenty-foot tall, giant bigfoot that shows up on the day of the festival, trashes the tiny stage, and chomps the heads off at least half of the dozen or so extras in the audience before retreating back to the forests. Over the remaining running time, the creature continues its ravening rampage as various factions - Anderson, Quint, town sheriff Becky Alvarez (Sherilyn Fenn, TWIN PEAKS), and the National Guard - all attempt to hunt the creature down throughout the Black Hills, leading to the creature's final stand atop the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.

Directed by actor Bruce Davison (X-MEN), who also plays the town deputy, BIGFOOT is a monstrous mess, with a nonsensical script, underwhelming effects, and shoddy production values. I've already commented on the puny "music festival" (the site of an admittedly amusing cameo by Alice Cooper), but the cheapness of the show is also abundantly evident in the mismatched location shots, repeatedly recycled effects footage, and slapdash editing rife with continuity errors, big and small. A couple of things that really stood out: late in the movie, we are shown the creature climbing the face of Mt. Rushmore. In one shot he's nearly at the top, but a few seconds later, the next shot shows him back at the bottom of the mountain! And, while considerable importance is given to the bigfoot's humongous footprints, whenever the CGI version of the beast is shown running through the woods (accompanied by thunderous footfalls on the soundtrack), it never actually leaves any prints behind!

The undercooked script is, frankly, incoherent. I don't expect much from a B-monster movie, but I expect more than this. As always, I can't help but think that a few more passes through the word processor could have really made a world of difference.

On the upside, the actors - though obviously cast for their novelty value - actually give it their professional best, bless their hearts, working hard to make the absurd dialogue and paper-thin characterizations work. Bonaduce and Williams manage to generate a few genuine sparks from their characters' rivalry, while an earnest Fenn actually brings some dignity and pathos to her small role. 

One other thing I can praise: Asylum mainstay Chris Ridenhour once again provides a terrific musical score.

The Asylum's DVD presentation of BIGFOOT is, as usual, technically excellent, with a crystal-clear, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer free of any blemishes or obvious digital artifacts. Both 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo audio options are available, along with a "Making Of" featurette (which reveals the film's working title of BLACK HILLS), a gag reel, and the usual assortment of trailers for recent and current Asylum releases.

As I was slipping the DVD into the player, I allowed myself a brief moment of hope - the idea of a giant bigfoot climbing Mt. Rushmore just seemed like a perfect, "can't miss" B-movie concept - but, unfortunately, I found little to enjoy in the movie. The company's standard microbudget and insanely short production schedules account for a lot of the sloppiness, but after "15 years and 100 movies" (as the promo at the beginning of the disc proudly proclaims), you'd think they'd have gotten a little better at this.