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  Bigfoot Sasquatch stalks sex kittensBuy this film here.
Year: 1970
Director: Robert F. Slatzer
Stars: John Carradine, Joi Lansing, Judy Jordan, John Mitchum, James Craig, Christopher Mitchum, Joy Wilkerson, Lindsay Crosby, Ken Maynard, Dorothy Keller, Haji, Doodles Weaver, Noble 'Kid' Chissel, Nick Raymond, Del 'Sonny' West, Walt Zachrich
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: Glamorous pilot Joi Landis (Joi Lansing) bails out of an exploding plane. After parachuting into the North American woods near Oregon, she strips down to her skimpy lingerie, for no good reason other than to delight the drive-in audience. Unfortunately, Joi’s pulchritudinous charms inflame the lust of that hairy forest dweller, Bigfoot! A whole tribe of Sasquatch beasts carry the screaming beauty into the woods. Shortly thereafter, a group of fun-loving bikers have their own close encounter with the burly beast. Biker boy Rick (Chris Mitchum) and his fetching, bikini-clad girlfriend Chris (Judy Jordan) inadvertently desecrate a sasquatch grave, whereupon the bigfoot brigade kidnap her too. Local police laugh at Rick’s story, so he teams up with Jasper (John Carradine) and Briggs (John Mitchum), a couple of travelling salesmen who aim to bag Bigfoot alive for fame and fortune, before the horny apeman has his wicked way with the human hotties.

Although sightings of the Sasquatch went back further than 1967, it was the 8mm footage shot by amateur photographers Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin that spawned the Bigfoot craze that spread through the Seventies. Whilst the footage itself was later proven to have been faked (though quite convincingly, it must be said), at the time it dominated an array of documentaries devoted to strange phenomena while drive-ins and grindhouse theatres were swamped by the likes of Shriek of the Mutilated (1974), Creature from the Black Lake (1976), Panic in the Wilderness (1975), Sasquatch (1978) and the Video Nasty Night of the Demon (1980) whose particularly violent apeman famously rips off one unfortunate gentleman’s genitals. Ouch!

This dopey drive-in favourite from 1970 is among the earliest Bigfoot movies and, while far from the best, proves quite fun for those in a forgiving mood. The film assembles all the right ingredients for a rollicking romp (monsters, bikers, bikini babes), but is let down by shoddy production values and pedestrian direction by Robert F. Slatzer, whose main claim to fame were his Hollywood biographies of stars like John Wayne, Bing Crosby (whose son Lindsay Crosby appears here as the leader of the biker gang), and Marilyn Monroe. In fact Slatzer claimed to have been married to Monroe for three days in October, 1952, though this was later discredited. His one other exploitation film was biker girl flick The Hellcats (1968) which may explain the disarmingly progressive mixed gender biker gang featured in Bigfoot where badass biker babes get to prove themselves able monster hunters alongside admittedly lunk-headed guys.

Slatzer’s flat, TV friendly visuals make Bigfoot look like a particularly eccentric episode of Lassie. All attempts at suspense fall flat, yet lovers of trashy monster flicks will find this irresistable, not just for its oddly endearing lapses but an amount of intentional humour that suggests Slatzer was not taking any of this remotely seriously. “Nothing gets by us up here”, says one forest ranger just as Bigfoot walks by his window while the script packs in a goofy array of references to King Kong (1933) and the great John Carradine seemingly improvises his hilarious one-liners, though he looks sloshed most of the time.

An eclectic cast include Chris and John Mitchum, son and brother respectively of Hollywood great Robert Mitchum. While the former went onto an interesting exploitation career in Europe, uncle John is probably best known for his reoccurring role in the Dirty Harry movies as dumpy detective Frank DiGiorgio. Joi Lansing and beautiful Judy Jordan had reoccurring roles in the classic sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, though Lansing’s B-movie career also encompassed The Atomic Submarine (1957) and the endearingly silly Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967). As our would-be sasquatch slayers set off on the world’s most leisurely rescue mission, Slatzer pads the film with forest scenery and endless chatter back at the store run by former cowboy star Ken Maynard, who has posters of his old movies plastered on the wall! With Bigfoot costumes that range from the shoddy to surprisingly effective, this climaxes with a chaotic battle between the sasquatch, Carradine and his biker pals and an explosive end for the hairy menace. Carradine doesn’t look too unhappy, since he gets to walk into the sunset with curvaceous Joi Lansing and paraphrases Kong’s legendary closing line: “Was beauty did him in!” Lacks poetry, doesn’t it? A grade z monster movie that is similtaneously indefensible and lovable.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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