BIG FOOT MAN OR BEAST (1972)
Article 2901 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-17-2009
Posting Date: 7-23-2009
Directed by Lawrence Crowley
Featuring Rene Dahinden, John Green, Grover Krantz
This is a documentary about the search for Bigfoot.
The seventies was the decade of documentaries about mysterious phenomena, most of which are tiresome and pretty lame (I’m looking at you, Sunn Classics). This one is from American National Enterprises, and it’s one of the better ones out there; it’s more matter-of-fact and less sensationalistic, and at times it shows a nice attention to detail that helps with the verisimilitude. I’m mostly a skeptic where such things are concerned, but I also have a deep streak of longing on the matter; as a monster lover, I would love it if creatures like Bigfoot really existed. This movie, like THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK, taps into that feeling. The first half hour of the movie concentrates on interviews with various people who claim to have encountered Bigfoot and features interviews of various experts. One of the more offbeat of the latter is with Janos Prohaska, who made a career as a stunt man and animal imitator which included a few of the monsters on “Star Trek”; he is consulted on his opinion of the possibility of whether the creature caught in some famous film footage is actually a man in a monster costume. The rest of the movie covers an expedition headed by Robert W. Morgan to track down the creature and get incontrovertible proof of its existence. With hindsight, we know from the beginning that this proof was not found (otherwise we’d now have proof and this movie would probably be famous), and, if you allow yourself to get caught up in the search, you’ll find yourself saddened by the event which ends the expedition (a forest fire destroys territory that the researchers believed might be a migration route for a family of Bigfoots). Though a few scenes are obviously staged (when a scientist calls Morgan to give him the analysis of some hairs he found at the site of a Bigfoot sighting, I find it hard to believe that the camera crews just happened to be both with Morgan and the scientist to catch the phone conversation), for the most part it comes across as authentic. Perhaps the most interesting fact that I came by on my research was to discover that Robert W. Morgan, who appears in several movies of this type, also wrote, directed and appeared in the interesting if uneven BLOOD STALKERS.