Film (1970; vt Big Foot). Ellman Film Enterprises. Produced by Anthony Cardoza. Directed by Robert F Slatzer. Written by Slatzer from an original story by Slatzer and James Gordon White. Cast includes John Carradine, Lindsay Crosby, Judy Jordan, Joi Lansing, Christopher Mitchum and John Mitchum. 84 minutes. Colour.
Near a small town in northern California, Rick (Christopher Mitchum) and his girlfriend Chris (Jordan) briefly encounter a motorcycle gang led by Wheels (Crosby) on their way into the forest for a hike. They stumble upon a mysterious burial ground with the body of a Bigfoot or Sasquatch (see Apes as Humans) in a fresh grave. Another such creature appears, knocks Rick unconscious, and abducts Chris. When Rick recovers, he hurries into town, and reports the incident to the Sheriff, but is not believed. Desperate for help, he encounters traveling salesmen Jasper (Carradine) and Elmer (John Mitchum), whom he begs for help. Thinking they might become wealthy if they capture one of the beings, they help him search for Chris; the bikers are also recruited. Meanwhile, Joi Landis (Lansing) is forced to parachute from her private aeroplane into the same forest. The would-be rescuers find both women tied to trees as potential mates for the creatures, and after a botched attempt to free them are captured. Finally escaping, they obtain dynamite with which they kill the Monsters. The women are saved from the proverbial fate worse than death.
This zero-budget film was apparently the first attempting to capitalize on the interest in alleged accounts of Sasquatch, renewed in the late 1960s by a now-famous piece of film footage supposedly showing one of the beings. Carradine remarked that he took such roles simply for the money, especially later in his career. Bigfoot was successful enough to help spawn a subgenre of similar 1970s US films, mostly for the drive-in circuit. It is unusual for its combination of Monster Movie and motorcycle films, the latter very popular after the surprise success of Easy Rider (1969). Even worse efforts were to come, such as The Legend of Bigfoot (1976), of interest almost solely for the numerous character actors involved. [GFi]
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