The Legend of Boggy Creek - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Before Harry stayed over at the Hendersons. Before the History Channel dedicated itself to hours of “documentaries,” there was Charles B. Pierce’s The Legend of Boggy Creek. The giant hairy creature of the woods stalks the peaceful people of a small Texarkana community - and this is their story. Sometimes comedic, sometimes a rumination of nature, and sometimes terrifying, the film still packs a punch and comes home with a lovely 4K Ultra HD release. Fully restored with HDR and an excellent DTS 5.1 track, regional horror fans should check out this independent creature feature classic. Recommended
Here in this primitive river-bottom wilderness in Southern Arkansas, along with deer, duck, crane, and beaver, lurks a creature that walks upright. Whether it is a man, a monster, or a myth, no one really knows. What we do know is, the people around Fouke, Arkansas say they have seen such a creature nearly 250 times since 1954. And that this creature, whatever it is, emits one of the most terrifying sounds ever recorded.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
There are those who call it “Sasquatch.” There are those who simply call it “Big Foot.” One family even named him “Harry,” but for the people of Fouke, Arkansas it is a monster! As one man returns to his childhood home, he confronts the myriad of tales about the creature. To some, the mysterious monster was an innocuous presence. To others, he was a menace responsible for the death of livestock and the harm of innocent people. As people retell their stories, the creature’s ungodly wail echoes through the woods... and it is a sound you would never want to hear again!
Writer/Director Charles B. Pierce made a name for himself with this efficiently told and executed low-budget monster flick. The Legend of Boggy Creek could have been cast off as simple Drive-In fodder and quickly forgotten but is given an air of legitimacy as a faux-documentary of sorts. Pierce used locals and amateur actors as stand-ins for creature witnesses, and cribbed pieces of actual families being terrified by a Big Foot-like creature. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it feels like an earnest nature program, but then it falls back on straight terror and horror for its dramatic closing. The film was a big hit in theaters and its legacy stands as an inspiration for Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez and their own low-budget mega-hit The Blair Witch Project.
But how does it hold up today? Well, to honestly answer that I guess it’s going to depend on familiarity and nostalgia. I’d seen this a couple of times growing up and thought it was certainly creepy, especially the last half. I never really got into the Big Foot scene or believed in the range of cryptids that roam about the lands, but growing up on acres of forested land, you hear some damned distressing sounds in the middle of the night. There’s nothing worse than getting woken up out of a dead sleep to the sound of a rabbit losing a fight with a coyote or fox. Or maybe it was the creature! That said, for a modern audience looking for gory shock and terror, this might not fit the bill. The Legend of Boggy Creek takes its time. A lot of the film feels like a travelogue of Texarkana with a thin wraparound plot. But when it aims to be scary, it succeeds without gore or gratuitous violence. It’s a bump in the night, snap of a twig, “Oh my God, what’s that?” sort of creature feature film.
I have a love for Charles Pierce’s little film because I admired the gumption and how his films were basically family films with plots. He frequently cast his children or other friends and family members and you can feel that sort of bootstraps, do-it-yourself nature throughout The Legend of Boggy Creek. And it worked. Even steeped in nostalgia I had a blast revisiting this beautifully shot film. Pierce was able to parlay his successes into some solid directorial efforts like 1974’s Bootleggers, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, and Grayeagle. He even cooked up the story for Eastwood’s Sudden Impact and is apparently responsible for the iconic line “Go ahead, make my day.” This film does have more than a few sequels and offshoots, the only real official Pierce-produced was Boggy Creek II… and the Legend Continues - which to be honest isn’t that great. The creature suit was awesome and there are a few effective sequences, but it’s really better known and remembered for its time on Mystery Science Theater 3000. But when it comes to this first film, arguably the first great “Big Foot” movie, The Legend of Boggy Creek is an entertaining jaunt worth checking out if you’ve never seen it. Established cryptid and Boggy Creek fiends will love it for the collection
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Legend of Boggy Creek stalks the woods of home video once again thanks to a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. Pressed on a single-disc BD-100, the disc is housed in a eco-case with slipcover recreating the iconic Ralph McQuarrie poster artwork. The disc loads to a main menu with basic navigation options. You can order this disc directly from them and it ships in a really cool custom bubble mailer that also beautifully recreates the McQuarrie poster art. I’ve never wanted to frame a bubble mailer before, but I’m tempted now!
After a healthy restoration effort overseen by Charles’ daughter Pamela, The Legend of Boggy Creek finally gets to see a legitimate and quality home video release. Very often it’s a stunning return on investment. Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio in 2160p with HDR10+ (and HDR10) it’s simply a beautiful-looking film filled with lush scenic landscapes and locations. My primary review setup doesn’t support HDR10+, so most of my thoughts are reflected on the standard HDR10 experience, but even in my office HDR10+ screen (it isn’t the greatest in the world and I don’t use it for reference grading) I could see how vivid the colors were with those deep inky blacks that make a creepy cryptid all the more frightening. Given this was a low-budget largely amature outing there are some soft shots that don’t really pop and a few setups are a little out of focus, but overall it’s a very sharp-looking feature. Details are largely excellent with a clean natural cinematic grain structure. HDR is well applied to give those blacks, whites, and colors the care and attention they deserve. There’s a little age-related speckling here and there, but nothing severe. All around an excellent-looking transfer.
On the audio side, The Legend of Boggy Creek creeps around with an effective DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. A Dolby Digital 2.0 track is available but I didn’t spend much time with it because I simply felt the 5.1 was great. Now given that narration is the dominant vocal track, that keeps to the Front/Center channels and takes the main stage. The surround channels are used to maintain that feeling of being last in the woods. Sounds of wildlife, wind, leaves, and other natural elements are the dominant sounds there. This isn’t an action-packed film, although it does liven up considerably in the last half. Dialog from the locals is handled well, some of the accents are a tad thick, but you shouldn’t have any trouble hearing what’s being said. And then there’s the call of the Fouke Monster and that is chilling in 5.1!
On the bonus features side, there are some nice materials here. Considering any previous release of this film was either complete crap or a bootleg (or both), it’s nice to see these never-before-seen outtakes, even if they are silent, and the Lyle Blackburn, Cryptozoologist commentary is worth checking out. It’s an informative track and offers a lot of interesting tidbits about the legends, true stories of the area, and the making of the film.
- Audio Commentary featuring Cryptozoologist Lyle Blackburn
- Never-Before-Seen-Outtakes (HD 6:27 silent)
- Trailer (HD 1:57)
The Legend of Boggy Creek finally stalks home video with a proper legitimate release that isn’t just watchable, it’s often beautiful to look at. Charles B. Pierce hit a strong horror note with his creepy independent creature feature. The film inspired any number of knockoffs and creature features for generations. On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film scores a fantastic 2160p HDR10 transfer with an excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track to match. Bonus features may not be the most robust, but the audio commentary is well worth the listen. Recommended
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