Just as the Marvel films built broader recognition for their characters and developed a continuity that would come to fruition in The Avengers so, perhaps, did SyFy plan this film. Years of low-budget creature features like Sharktopus and Jersey Shore Shark Attack established their reputation for really bad monster movies. Then, they announce this thing, a low-rent, tabloid-influenced Kong knock-off starring Barry “Greg Brady” Williams, Danny “Partridge” Bonaduce, and featuring Alice Cooper.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info:
Directed by Bruce Davison
Written by Brian Brinkman, Micho Rutare
Barry Williams as Simon Quinn
Danny Bonaduce as Harlee Henderson
Sherilyn Fenn as Sheriff
Bruce Davison as Walt
Andre Royo as Al
Stephanie Sarreal Park as Priya
Howard Hesseman as the Mayor
Alice Cooper as Himself
Full Cast and Crew information is available at the imdb.
“That was the thing about the 80s. You could make mistakes and still live free.”
–Harlee Henderson (Danny Bonaduce)
Which 80s is he thinking of? Why does the 80s “Flashback Festival” have a style harkening back to the late 60s and early 70s? Did anyone involved in this production have the slightest idea what they were doing?
Bigfoot, angered by the loss of his habitat, starts stomping and kicking and eating people. Former bandmates come into conflict over the beast. One, accompanied by hunters, wants to exploit it shamelessly, while the other, accompanied by groupies, wants to send it to a preserve.
“I came here to promote my book on golf.”
I do not know how they convinced Alice Cooper to appear in this train wreck, but he’s made a career out of not taking himself too seriously, and his brief appearances (before getting drop-kicked by the Sasquatch) are funny enough to be entertaining.
So many low points, so little time.
Bigfoot, the title creature, clearly has to the lowest of the many low points. CGI only works if you have Peter Jackson’s film budget. This thing doesn’t have Peter Jackson’s film budget. This thing doesn’t even have Peter Jackson’s daily snack budget. The monster is ridiculous. He’s larger than any reported Bigfoot or Abominable Snowman, towering at least twenty-five feet high, and looks like King Kong’s mangy hillbilly cousin.
Despite his large size, he has stayed in a cave, a stone’s throw from civilization, without being detected, for, what? Years? Decades? Centuries? He can also sneak up on people, ground-shaking tread notwithstanding, and then disappear with nary a trace.
Worst of all, however, the film tries to play off the Enviro-Message Wronged Monster riff, but their Bigfoot exhibits not the slightest trace of sympathetic humanity as he roars into the camera and bites off the heads of his victims like so many Easter Bunny ears.
Originality: 2/6 Bigfoot raids the basic conventions of the giant monster genre, King Kong in particular. Instead of a showdown with biplanes atop the Empire State Building, we have Bigfoot climbing Mount Rushmore to confront modern helicopters, fighter jets, and Greg Brady in a hang glider.
Effects: 2/6 They really should have used stop-motion. Call me old-fashioned, but even sub-par stop-motion can be charming. Bad CGI just looks like bad CGI. Heck, a guy in an ape suit would have made a more convincing hominid.
Acting: 4/6 Bonaduce chews scenery, but he does so with some conviction, and the cast overall manage adequate performances. Barry Williams’ deadpan presumably wants to be funny, but the film is more bad than camp.
Most disappointing is Howard Hesseman as the town’s corrupt mayor. The WKRP alumnus performs the part like he’s gotten into Johnny Fever’s stash.
Story: 2/6 The story continuously fails to make any kind of sense. The 80s rock concert, with its vast crowd of maybe fifty people, could only be held by clear-cutting trees from a section of National Forest. Seriously?
The National Guard appear and reappear as needed and, despite the official military presence, only two small groups from the community think to follow the trail of big footprints left by a kaiju-sized ape.
Partridge and Brady have past issues with each other. Their band split up, and they went their separate ways. They also slept with each other’s moms. Much could be done with their conflict. Nothing is, save for showing them attack each other in various ways. The script consists of various encounters, but lacks any kind of interesting arc.
I recognize everyone involved in this production likely realized this was a stupid movie, but the script doesn’t allow for a camp sensibility to flower, so we end up, in the end, with little more than a stupid movie.
Emotional Response: 2/6
Overall: 3/6 Bigfoot is a train wreck, but it receives a passing grade, barely, for being an occasionally entertaining train wreck.
In total, Bigfoot receives 18/42.
My own take on the Bigfoot legend and its influences appears here.