The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972)
Article #1715 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-24-2005
Posting Date: 4-23-2006
Directed by Charles B. Pierce
Featuring Vern Stierman, Chuck Pierce, William Stumpp

A hairy monster wanders the wooded areas around Boggy Creek in Fouke, Arkansas.

When it comes to real-life monsters like this, I tend towards skepticism, but I recognize in myself a romantic desire to want to believe in their existence. This movie actually addresses this issue; the final narration grants the viewer the privilege to dismiss it as a hoax, but it does urge you to keep your eyes on the wooded areas near the roads should you ever be in the area, and I’m willing to bet that if I did make it down to Fouke, I would keep my eyes open. The movie itself is a mixed bag, but it is quite effective at moments; the locations are authentic and genuinely eerie, many of the characters are real people (I particularly liked Herb Jones, a hermit living deep in the bottoms who has a nearby tree decorated with bottles that he uses for fishing and who, incidentally, denies the existence of the monster), and at times there are interesting little touches of detail (I liked the fact that when the man is wheeled into the hospital, we get a quick glimpse of the hole in his sock). The recreation of the encounters with the beast are a mixed bag. The best involves a boy running into the woods with his rifle in the hope of bagging a deer, and the way the camera follows him as he runs for a spurt and then stops to listen for the howling of the dogs, runs again, etc. until he he suddenly finds himself facing the monster is wonderful. Far less convincing is the final third of the movie, a lengthy reconstruction of the story of two families who have moved to the area and encounter the monster. I also have little use for the sappy songs that pop up on occasion, but I could watch that eerie scenery for hours on end. Whether the monster exists or not, it’s obvious that the filmmakers used the spooky locations very well indeed.

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