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Curse of Bigfoot


Title: Curse of Bigfoot
Year Of Release: 1975
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Released By: Various companies
Directed By: Dave Flocker (as Don Fields)
Writing Credits: James T. Flocker (story) (as J.T. Fields)

Starring: Bob Clymire, Jan Swihart, Bill Simonsen
Taglines:
None Found
Alternate Titles:
Teenagers Battle the Thing

Review Date: 5.18.18

aka

Shadow's Title: "Curse of BadFilm"

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Characters
Mr. Whitmore - A teacher who shows horror movies to his students and teaches them about mythological monsters. Cool! Why can’t more teachers be like this? Come to think if it, Mr. Brown, my high school journalism teacher, used to do the exact same thing. That’s how we learned to write movie reviews…by watching Halloween II. Don’t ask how we learned to write obituaries.
Roger Mason - Another teacher. He shows up at Whitmore’s class on supernatural studies as a guest speaker. He shares with them an experience he had many years earlier when as a science teacher, he lead a high school archaeology field trip that set out to excavate some Indian ruins and inadvertently unearthed an ancient monster.
Bill Wyman - He’s the curator of the Lincoln County museum. In tandem with Roger Mason, he leads five teens on a weekend archaeology field trip. I have to wonder how he got his job or more importantly, how he keeps his job, as his excavation methods seem woefully inadequate and unacceptable. A mummy possibly hundreds of thousands of years old? Just yank it up, toss it in the truck and call it a day!
Johnny - One of the teens that goes on the archaeology field trip. There isn’t much that can be said about any of them, as they are all so under-utilized. About the one thing about Johnny that stands out is his desire for pop which sees him and Sharon alone together in the lemon groves. Maybe he was hoping to get closer to Sharon on their little sojourn to the local store. Then again, maybe he was just thirsty.
Sharon - Very little can be said about Sharon. Is she a tease? A goody two shoes? A slut? Who knows? All the teens in the film are portrayed as wholesome, clean-cut and polite. I don’t know what was harder to suspend belief over: the crusty, old bigfoot mummy that awoke after sleeping for a million years or these teens, who showed no interest in alcohol or sex.
Norman - Poor Norman. After finding the mummy and bringing it back to the farmhouse Norman here swears that he sees its hand move. Of course, no one believes him and the fact that he watches a lot of television is used to explain his over active imagination. Naturally everyone changes their tune once the mummy comes to life and stomps off to explore the countryside.
Linda - When all the males in the archaeology group climb a hill and ultimately discover the chamber with the mummy, both Sharon and Linda decide to stay put. Later, Linda bemoans the fact that she wasn’t present when the big discovery was made and as a result of that, she will have nothing to say when the eventual media interviews take place. I wonder what kind of interview she’ll give after having survived a Bigfoot mummy’s rampage.
Bob - Almost nothing can be said about Bob. He was there. That’s about it. Seriously, he had no big part, wasn’t the hero, wasn’t the comic relief, wasn’t the resident chickenshit, wasn’t…well…anything. He was just there. Oh, he did want Johnny to bring him back an orange pop from the store, as his ass was too lazy to make the walk himself. There you go, that was his role: the lazy ass.
The Sheriff – I have to imagine that this guy keeps getting elected Sheriff because there just isn’t a damn thing going on in Lincoln county. Suddenly a Bigfoot mummy is on the loose, killing women in their homes and this guy suddenly has to go to work. He lets Roger Mason borrow his pistol, which would have come in real handy when the monster was putting a beating on his ass.
The Monster – Oh boy. Despite the name of the movie, this moron is NOT in any way related to Sasquatch. He’s actually a mummy from a time when the earliest man-thing looked more like a drunk wookie after a weeklong bender. He’s about as much fun as one, as well.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

The result of TOO MUCH messin’ with Sasquatch.After a shot of the sky we pan down to see some trees. “Scary” music plays in the background. Why is “scary” in quotations? Probably because in decades past, it was considered scary, or at the very least, it added to an air of spookiness. These days? Not scary at all. You want scary music, play some Justin Beiber. THAT is frightening.

It seems we haven’t got very far before a CLOWN interrupts the “scary” music. If you people don’t know what a CLOWN is by now, then you need to stop by the old Graveyard more often. I usually do the old copy/paste trick here to explain what one is, but just go to the previous review (for Earth vs the Flying Saucers) and you can read all about it there. Besides, I know for a fact that this CLOWN is only going to bother us a total of two times. So, what is he saying? Good question.

“It happened…two million years ago.” What, the first time KISS went on a ‘farewell’ tour? Ha! “In steaming swamps and prehistoric jungles, the earliest man-like creature walked the Earth. Not human. More beast than man.” Yeah, that pretty much describes three quarters of the people at Best Buy on Black Friday. We get some nature scenes and then a shot of some footprints in the sand that were made by a bipedal creature. Whoever it was, he must have been enormous! At least, he must have weighed a friggin’ ton! How else did he make such deep depressions into the sand? Sand can be quite resistant, so in order to carve out footprints that deep, this guy was either a colossal fatass of Vladimir Harkonnen proportions, or else he was carrying around a dozen concrete blocks or so on his back. Personally, I vote for the former of the two since concrete hadn’t been invented by Fred Flintstone yet. Also, dig those crazy tracks! This dude only had three toes on each foot, making it look like Big Bird himself came stomping through these parts wearing ceramite power armor.

“A monster of evolution,” says the CLOWN and we get a fleeting quick glimpse of this early bipedal man-like thing walking off screen. It just looks like some fool who rolled naked in a pool of Elmer’s glue and then immediately rolled over a barbershop floor before all the hair was swept up. He’s hairy, but the hair is not in any way evenly distributed. Instead, it looks rather patchy, like Chewbacca after an accidental overdose of radiation. Plus, the shots of the landscape do not match one another. First we get what looks like a temperate forest, then a subtropical jungle than looks like it was photographed in somebody’s back yard in Florida, and then a dry, barren desert landscape. Is this supposed to all be the same area? What is this, the Genesis planet?

“It walked across the eons of time. Slowly changing. Becoming more and more human.” Now we get more shots of footprints in the dirt, and these are showing signs of having four toes each! Hey, we’re gradually getting there! Soon enough he’ll have five digits on each appendage and will have mastered the art of wiping his ass…though there are people out there in the world today that still seem to have problems with that particular skill. What’s odd is that each four-toed footprint depression seems to be filled with some white substance, as if someone was trying to get plaster casts of every single one or somebody came along later and filled each one with milk...and not the good kind from a cow. I’m talking about that terrible almond shit.

The nightmare continues. “More and more advanced, until in the Pleistocene, just thousands of years ago, man himself emerged. But the change from beast into man was not a steady one and sometimes primitive man would find his life threatened, terrified, by the appearance of a monster from the past!” With that we see the crappy-looking man-thing charge toward the camera, a bunch of trees in the background. This is by far, the absolute WORST Bigfoot/hairy man/ape/deficient Wookie costume I have EVER seen. It really does look like it’s been patched together from about a dozen old dirty pieces of carpet salvaged from an apartment fire. Just terrible. And don’t get me started on the face that zooms into the camera as if this was some shitty 3-D film. It looks like the crappiest stuffed animal you can find, like one you win at those travelling carnivals…only after winning it, you run it over with your car a few times in the dirt parking lot. The eyes just look like globs of dried candle wax and show no depth. One even has a small hole in it, no doubt so the poor sap wearing this hot mess could see somewhat. The teeth resemble a 99 cent set of plastic vampire fangs, which probably cost about ten cents when this film was released. I’d also like to add that the end of the Pleistocene era was about 11,700 years ago.

Anyway, Beast-man encounters Primitive-man. This happens off screen, but apparently goes very poorly for the latter. There is a terrible scream and then a mostly human hand – with the addition of some large tufts of hair glued onto the forearm – is seen wriggling around in a pool of cheap blood...about a dozen ketchup packets worth. The camera does a wipe, and then pans up to show off some American Indian cliff dwellings. It is at this juncture that we finally get the title card and opening credits, which unfold over various shots of these old stone ruins, the “scary” music in abundance. Whew, I feel like I’ve already survived a hell of an ordeal, but we’re only three and a half minutes into this mess. Time for a drink!

Now we see some truly crappy day for night photography. How crappy? The very first shot shows us the sun in the center of the screen, partially obscured by some tree branches! Then we see more trees as well and hear the piped in sounds of crickets. Because of the latter, I am assuming this is supposed to be at night. If so, why show us the damn sun?! Are we supposed to believe that the moon is really that shiny? Or the night time sky that freakin’ blue?

“So I have shellfish allergies…sue me!”After a few more shots of a house and some trees, we are shown someone walking slowly through the low lying branches. This guy has some dark clothes on as well as some shitty monster mask he probably bought at the local five and dime. Wait! I think that’s supposed to be his real face and not a mask. If that’s the case, then the makeup FX budget for this film was about seventy-five cents. Wow, that is terrible. The skin is all wrinkled up, like somebody dried Papier Mache on his face. The eye sockets protrude somewhat. Note that just the eye sockets protrude and not the actual eyeballs themselves. There is a cheap black wig up top with streaks of gray in it. I guess he hasn’t gotten word of Grecian Formula yet. The whole thing really does look like a rejected art project from somebody’s third grade class.

Sensing that something is wrong – presumably the proximity of the creep in the trees and not the fact that he is in this crappy film - a dog chained up in the yard by the house begins to bark. A woman comes outside and admonishes “Scotty” to stop barking. And no, “Scotty” is not a Scottish Terrier. He looks more like one of the Labrador breeds. She tells the dog that he is making enough noise to wake up the dead. AHA! Maybe that is what has happened! The dog barked so much earlier in the evening, the guy currently stumbling through the trees arose from his grave and is even now cursing the same dog for disturbing his eternal slumber. That would make for an interesting film. At least, more interesting than this yawn fest.

So the woman gives Scotty the dog a bowl of what looks like milk. Does she think that she owns a cat? Oddly enough, when she exits the house, her hands are empty, but when she reaches Scotty, she suddenly has a pitcher of milk! Did she stop and milk a cow real fast? She tells Scotty to finish it up and then to go back to sleep and not bark at every jackrabbit he hears. Um..I got news for you lady…that ain’t no jackrabbit out in the trees. A jackhole maybe, but not a jackrabbit. She pets the dog as he laps up his milk.

Finally, after what seems like five hours, the dog finishes his nocturnal treat. We get several shots of the dog, the woman and the creep in the trees as he inches closer. These repeat for what seems like twenty-three times until the Creep is standing right behind her as she kneels down, petting the dog. Scotty must be blind if he cannot see the Creep standing just a few feet away. The music rises in intensity as the Creep bends down, arms out and…we see the dog bark, but only hear the woman scream. For all we know, the Creep bent over and pulled up her prized Begonias from her garden.

Lights up! Yes, what we just saw was only part of a film being shown to a high school classroom. The old movie-within-a-movie shtick. I can only assume the name of that film was Scotty the Dog Meets the Slow-Ass Papier Mache Creep. One girl complains that the teacher, Mr. Whitmore, stopped the movie right at the good part. The good part? THE GOOD PART?! If that was the good part, then for all that’s holy, please don’t ever show me the bad parts! That’s the kind of thing that no doubt causes people to spontaneously shove their heads into the nearest running piece of machinery, be it wood chipper, table saw or electric pencil sharpener.

Whitmore starts talking about Hollywood monster movies and I think he is trying to tie in modern horror cinema with myths and legends of the past. He references The Exorcist and Jaws, though not by name and talks about the reality of monsters, even if it is only in our own minds. He then announces that to finish up their study of the supernatural, he has invited a guest speaker, who should be arriving at any time. This speaker is a science teacher himself as well as noted author and expert on the Abominable Snowman or as it is called in North America, Bigfoot. I almost expected a loud music cue of DUN DUN DUUUUN when he says this. He holds up a drawing of Bigfoot and refers to it as a “present day monster.” This was 1975. If only he knew about the present day monsters of 2018…especially the one in the White House.

The drawing of Bigfoot must have hallucinogenic properties, because after he holds it up, the scene dissolves and we are now seeing shots that must have been accidentally spliced in from some documentary or something. I mean what do radar dishes, fancy telescopes, airplanes and other such things have to do with Bigfoot? Whitmore continues to speak, only now in a voiceover. He talks about how large footprints were found in cold, snowy areas: Alaska, Canada and the Himalayas. I like how he groups locations on two different continents together. Obviously he is not a geography teacher. The music through this whole segment sounds like it was lifted from some old school instructional film, like something about the logging industry or steel working or oil drilling.

Whitmore recounts the events surrounding the “well known” mountaineer Eric Stapleton, who found Yeti tracks in the snow while in the Himalayas in 1951. This guy is a really piss poor teacher. He can’t even get his facts right! It was Eric Shipton who took such photos while trying to climb Mt. Everest in 1951. Sheesh. It was after publishing such photos that the western world became interested in the Abominable Snowman, aka the Yeti. I ask you this: how can you make a Bigfoot movie without even knowing the proper facts on Bigfoot/Yeti history? Double sheesh.

At this point, Whitmore’s voiceover starts talking about how Bigfoot tracks and even Bigfoot himself began being sighted in North America and to go along with that, the movie begins showing us a lot of wilderness shots of the Pacific Northwest. And I do mean A LOT. I feel like I’ve been sucked into an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom or Lorne Greene's New Wilderness or even Wild America. Hell, that might be Marty Stouffer hiding behind that tree and not Sasquatch.

I should not have mentioned the logging industry three paragraphs back, for now we get a ton of shots showing us that. Lots of logs being processed through a facility where they are delimbed and topped at the stump before being tossed into the water of some river to begin their journey downstream to the sawmill or paper mill where they will eventually end up as toothpicks and printer paper. Then numerous shots of loggers using chainsaws to fell trees, large tractors hauling fallen trees away and other such stuff. All these shots just had to be lifted from some old forestry film made for schools. Hell, I think I remember seeing it for myself back in the fifth grade.

We see what is supposed to be a hairy foot, but which looks more like an old, beat up bear-foot slipper. Whitmore talks about how man was intruding on Bigfoot’s domain and how these creatures were forced into deeper areas of the forest. This opened up new areas to man, who found additional evidence to prove “without a doubt” that these creatures existed in North America. At this point, Whitmore just starts pulling facts out of his ass and makes it sound like there was incontrovertible proof that Bigfoot existed.

I wonder what is around the next turn in the road……This is the same stretch of road!It is at this point that Whitmore begins to relate the tale of two employees of a large logging company who set out late one afternoon to visit a favorite fishing spot. I sure as hell hope they clocked out first! The company shouldn’t be paying for their goof-off time. Whitmore then says that these two men were destined to go down in history as the first two people to encounter Bigfoot face to face. Riiiiight. So we see these two guys travelling down a secluded road in the woods, plugging along in their small pickup truck. We watch them drive slowly along this rugged road for what seems like an hour but what in reality turned out to be slightly less than ninety seconds. Finally they navigate a turn in the road (one they already traversed seconds earlier) and what should they see up ahead? Why, it’s some intoxicated guy shambling across the roadway in an old, threadbare gorilla costume! Well, that’s what it looked like to me! And he wasn’t even that tall! He looked to be about 5’10’’ tops!

The two dingbats in the pickup spot this strange creature as it vanishes into the brush alongside the road. Well, it was more like the guy in the costume stumbled his way over to the side of the road and then hid behind a tree so the camera wouldn’t pick him up again. Anyway, the two guys in the truck stop, get out and look around. Then one guy wearing a dorky looking beanie, goes stomping off into the trees while the other guy stays at the truck. What follows next is a seemingly endless series of shots showing the guy in the beanie walking through the trees looking around, the guy at the truck looking worried, a close up of some hairy foot in the weeds, a hairy paw holding onto a branch, and POV shots of someone or something moving through the trees. Building tension is one thing, but this goes on for so long I was about to fall asleep.

The guy at the truck calls out to his buddy Larry, wanting to know where he is at. Larry doesn’t answer as he’s too busy walking carefully through the trees. So the one guy leaves the truck and heads into the trees, calling out again to his friend. This time Larry answers and says, “Don’t run him off, John.” So now we have John wandering around in the trees as well as Larry and the Bigfoot. At one point we see Larry in the distance as he looks around and in the foreground, standing next to a tree is a guy wearing a gorilla costume. Bigfoot seems to be aware of where Larry is, even if Larry is clueless as to Bigfoot’s location.

This whole sequence goes on even longer. A close up of Larry. A close up of a hairy hand or foot. John stumbling through the woods, nearly falling on his ass. Repeat. Repeat again. And again. Finally, as we see John careening down a hillside, we hear Larry let out a sound like someone just grabbed him violently by the balls and by the throat at the same time. A man in horrible pain, but unable to get enough of a breath to scream like a banshee. Eventually John finds Larry crumpled on the ground and shaking with no sign of Bigfoot nearby. Larry rolls over, throws his arms over his eyes and then is still. Is he dead? There isn’t a mark on him or a drop of blood to be seen. What did Bigfoot do to him? Squeeze him to death by hugging him and breaking his bones? The aforementioned groin/throat double tap? Farting in his face and sending him into anaphylactic shock? What?!! Whatever the case may be, I think the fishing trip just got cancelled.

We return to the classroom, where one student asks Mr. Whitmore if they are expected to believe such a tale. Whitmore says that just because you have not beheld something with your own yes, does not mean it doesn’t exist. So just because I have never gazed upon Godzilla, doesn’t mean that he does not exist! Whitmore tells everyone to hold their questions for Mr. Mason, the guest speaker, who once had an incredible experience with Bigfoot. While waiting for Mason to arrive, Whitmore quizzes the class on some of the drawings he has of mythological creatures, asking them to identify each one. One kid gets everyone laughing when he claims that a griffon would eat its victims all up, leaving only the shoes behind. Whitmore asks where the legendary Griffon came from and one kid raises his hand and says that the Germans invented it in the 1400’s.

Guest speaker Mr. Mason has arrived and is standing in the doorway. When he hears that last bit about the Germans “inventing” the griffon, he nearly bites the poor kids head off, wondering if that really was the case. Whitmore greets Mason and then introduces him to the class. Mason starts off by apologizing to the class and especially to the young kid he nearly lost his shit on.

Mason then says that many people consider him a liar and madman. He explains how fifteen years in the past, in a high school very much like the one they are in, he was a science teacher. Amongst his students were three boys and two girls who were especially interested in archaeology, so he arranged a field trip. Mason now gets very serious and says that as a result of that field trip, three of those students will spend the rest of their lives in a mental institution. One girl will not speak to this day, and can only stare straight ahead in shock. Well, that just begs the question, where in hell did they go on that field trip? It must have been some place so frightening, so traumatizing, so utterly hellish and demanding on one’s nerves and sanity, that these three teens lost their grip on reality and succumbed to all manner of mental dysfunctions. I’m thinking it was polka music festival at the local retirement home. Do you know any teen who wouldn’t snap after being exposed to that? Especially after the umpteenth iteration of Roll out the Barrel.

Mason tells these kids to never doubt that monsters exist, because they do. He talks about Bigfoot some and then says that he had better start at the beginning, which I assume, was 15 years in the past. Fade out.

The CLOWN has followed us back in time to this year, because he now starts yakking up a storm. I find it odd that we should hear him, as Mason was the one telling this story. Did he hire the CLOWN for added effect? I think this is the first time that someone’s flashback has been accompanied by a voiceover from a completely different person.

Colonel Sanders unearthing the ancient recipe for KFC.“In museums and universities throughout the world, archaeologists are learning more each day about prehistoric man. Archeologists are highly skilled, specialized scientists. They know where to look, what to look for and occasionally they make a discovery of tremendous importance. This is the story of such a discovery. It began a year ago (Wait! I thought this was 15 years ago? So now are we sixteen years in the past? We had a movie within a movie earlier, is this like a flashback within a flashback?), not in a museum but on the campus of a high school in the Southwest. Five high school students and their teacher met with Doctor Bill Wyman (You mean the guy who played bass for the Rolling Stones from 1962 to 1993? WOW!), curator of the Lincoln County museum. An outstanding archeologist. These seven people were planning a trip to the small town of Ivanpah. Their purpose, to help the museum excavate and uncover the ruins of an ancient Indian campsite. Not one of these seven ever suspected that they would soon make a startling, terrifying discovery.”

Throughout that whole spiel, we get a shot of the Lincoln County Museum (I’m assuming it’s the Lincoln County in New Mexico), scenes of some guy who looks like Colonel Sanders of KFC fame as he unearths some fossil and then various shots of the teacher and students mentioned. Fade out.

Fade in on the Ivanpah city limits sign. It’s bright and early in the day and we see a red pickup truck driving through what is probably Main Street. In the cab are Mason and Wyman, while all five teens are riding in the bed of the truck, something that would get multiple people ticketed in this overly sensitive day and age. The teens’ names are Johnny, Sharon, Bob, Linda and Norman. The truck heads off road though some orchard and finally comes to small farm house which is most likely located in the middle of nowhere. Wyman explains that the house belongs to one of the museum association members. No one lives there at the time, so they are able to stay there while on their field trip. Apparently they’re only there long enough for everyone to drop off their sleeping bags and any other luggage they brought along. Then it’s back in the pickup truck and out to the dig site.

The dig site is up in the hills, which are somewhat on the rocky side. Wyman leads the group to one location and shows off some pictographs on the face of one rocky hillside, which he claims were made with berry juice. He explains that it tells the history of some long-forgotten tribe. Mason walks a few feet away to get a picture of the group as they examine the rock face. Naturally, one of the girls has to quickly comb her hair first.

So now they had to the actual excavation site in order to get to work. Wyman shows them the few things that they’ve managed to dig up so far: some old pieces of pottery and some prayer sticks. Mason points out that prayer sticks were often used in burying the dead. One student asks if they are going to be digging in a graveyard and Wyman says that it is possible, but he doubts they are going to unearth any bodies. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, right. So everyone gets to work and we get a few scenes of everyone working. Soon enough it’s lunch time and two large coolers are brought in from the truck, containing everyone’s bagged lunch. They all gather around the crude tent set up at the site to eat. Wyman shows off some of the artifacts they’ve found that morning.

Norman then shows off a small rock he found with some carvings on it. Wyman is very much intrigued and says it may be an eolith, something used by ancient peoples. Norman shows him where he found it, which was near the rock face that had the pictographs on it. Noting that it was odd that the rock was just laying around for all to see, they theorize that it might have rolled down from the top of the rock face. Indeed, there seems to be a ledge up at the top, though in order to investigate, they will need to find a different way up.

Sharon and Linda opt to stay behind while all the males decide to climb up. A rope is fetched from the truck and the five guys begin their ascent. What follows next is a montage of them climbing with more dorky music playing. It seems to last about five times longer than necessary and was probably included to help pad out the running time. Eventually they arrive at the top. They follow a narrow ledge along the side of the hill and arrive at an area where one of the students finds what appears to be a stone tablet half buried in the soil. Wyman does not recognize the markings on it and says that it is the type of marking used by cavemen. The group tries to pry the tablet loose and after much grunting and pulling, it comes away, a spout of vapor shooting up from the hole in the ground it was covering.

After a few moments the hole is clear and Wyman decides he is going down inside to take a look. Using the rope, Wyman, Johnny and Bob are lowered down into the cavern. It’s funny because the cover stone over the hole was only about two feet wide, yet now the hole they are lowering themselves into is much larger than that. Inside they find more pottery with wood ashes in them. Poking around some more they find a side chamber containing what appears to be an ancient mummy covered with hardened mud. Oddly enough, there is a lot of light illuminating this mummy. I have no idea where it’s coming from as the entire cavern was supposed to be airtight until they opened it just now. Excited by the discovery, they decide they need more rope and some boards in order get the mummy out of the cavern.

At this point, the prudent thing to do was leave and set up a proper excavation of the site. You know, have professionals come in and document every square inch of the place before even beginning to remove anything. They should go over that place with a fine tooth comb for days before even thinking about removing that mummy. But, nope…this gang of morons are pulling that sucker out and parading it down the hillside with nothing more than ropes and boards. Any real archaeologists out there are no doubt cringing at the sheer ineptitude on display here. Hell, I know very little about such stuff, but even a moron like me knows you just don’t start yanking stuff out of the ground all willy-nilly.

The next thing you know, we see the entire gang returning to the farmhouse in the pickup truck, the mud mummy in the bed of the vehicle. It seems to be getting dark. I guess it took these guys the rest of the day to haul that mummy up out of the cavern and then carry it back down the hillside to the truck. Be thankful the film decided to NOT show these events. They carefully carry the mummy over to the shed and put it in there for the night. Wyman says that first thing in the morning, they will take it back to the museum so it can be examined under the right circumstances.

They now talk about how well preserved the mummy seems to be and Wyman thinks this particular specimen is hundreds of thousands of years old. He thinks that by using a combination of woods and resins, and then burning them in the clay pots within the burial chamber, these ancient cavemen had somehow figured out a way to preserve the dead. About now Norman claims that the mummy just moved its hand, but naturally, no one believes him and thinks he’s just joking with them. They all file out to go eat dinner. Norman lingers behind for a few seconds, peering again at the mummy and then follows the others.

“Okay, you seem like a bunch of wholesome kids…who’s up for an orgy?”After dinner everyone is gathered in the front room, reflecting on the day’s events. Linda is bemoaning the fact that she stayed behind at the bottom of the hill and wasn’t present for the discovery of the cave and the mummy. Johnny then pipes in and says that he sure could go for a bottle of pop. For those of you who don’t live in the Midwest, he is referring to soda. For those of you who don't live in the West, that means a soft drink. For those of you in Texas, it means a coke. Wyman says that the country store is open til nine and that by taking a path through the orange grove, it would only be a ten minute walk. Johnny and Sharon decide to make the trip while the others opt to stay behind. Norman says he going to go outside.

Outside, Johnny and Sharon find the proper path and head off to the store. I’ve got to say, the day for night photography has been cranked up to eleven! I can hardly see a damn thing! Norman heads back out to the shed to take a look at the mummy again. Raise your hand if you know where this movie is heading! Okay, hands down! That’s right. Norman uncovers the mummy, looks at it and then covers it back up. Then it starts to move on its own. Norman doesn’t waste in any time in running like hell out of there and back into the house.

Inside he tries to tell the others that the mummy is alive. At first they don’t believe him, but after they hear a loud noise from outside, they all go rushing to take a look. Except for Linda. Who knows where she is (probably in the bathroom). Outside they see one of the blankets used to cover the mummy discarded near the edge of the orange grove. Inside the shed they find what is left of the creature’s crude mud wrapping. “How can it be?” Wyman asks.

Next we get a shot of the creature as it runs through the orange grove during day-for-night. It’s dark, but it looks like the monster costume is the same shitty thing we saw at the very beginning of this movie when a similar specimen attacked primitive man.

Elsewhere, Johnny and Sharon are leaving the country store and talking about how many stars they can see in the night sky. Huh? It’s broad daylight out! That crappy day-for-night filter ain’t foolin’ me! They head back to the farmhouse, cutting through the grove again. Oh, snap! We know who...er…what else is running loose in the grove! Yep, it’s big, old, hairy and probably smells really, really bad. No, not some grandpa bear (and I’m not referring to the animal, either)! The Bigfoot mummy! Not long after they vanish into the grove, the pickup truck arrives with Wyman and Mason, looking for them. Too late!

Somewhere in the dark grove, Johnny and Sharon hear movement coming their way. The film is so dark at this point, I truly can’t see more than a speck of light here or a bright spot there. The two start to pick up the pace and then run into Mason, who tells them that something is wrong and that they need to get out of the grove. They all haul ass back to the farmhouse. Fade out.

Fade in on a house. Inside there is a seated woman talking on the phone. What else would a broad be doing!? She’s obviously talking to her husband as she informs him that the children are all asleep and then asks what time he expects to be home. Where is he, out bowling or something? Maybe she’s just the babysitter and she’s talking to their parents. I suppose it isn’t really important. Outside the Bigfoot mummy is stomping around the house. The woman hangs up the phone and walks over to the window to check on a strange sound – it was the Bigfoot mummy raking his claws down the glass. She sees nothing so pulls the shade down. She returns to her seat. Just seconds later the Bigfoot mummy comes crashing through the window. The woman screams. We get a close up of the ridiculous monster costume’s face, which is supposed to be rushing to attack the poor woman but in reality is just a shot lifted from earlier in the film when we were shown Beast Man stomping through the primordial brush. The cheesy face fills the screen, but for a split second we can see green foliage behind the monster, denoting this re-use of an earlier shot. Either that or the monster came crashing through the woman’s window with half a bush stuck to the back of his head. Fade out.

Fade in. I think it’s morning now. It looks somewhat brighter than in earlier scenes, but then again, the day-for-night photography was pretty crappy in those, so who knows? The local Sheriff, a guy by the name of Walt, shows up at the farmhouse. Wyman explains the situation and the Sheriff tells them about a girl that was murdered the previous night on a nearby ranch. Apparently, the body was none too pretty to look at.

Wyman, Mason and Johnny take the Sheriff to the shed to show him where the mummy busted out. The mud that had encased the mummy is just like some mud found at the scene of the murder. The Sheriff wants to know what the mummy looks like, but they don’t know, only having caught a brief glimpse of it as it ran into the grove. All they know is that it stood erect and was large than a man. Apparently after the girl was murdered, a neighbor shot at “something” that was running into the groves. Wyman notes that the orange and lemon groves are so extensive in these parts, the monster could travel for miles and never leave the protection of the trees.

The four of them now head to where the creature ran into the grove, which entails about seventy seconds of footage comprised of them walking. It sure seemed a lot longer. In the grove they find the spot where the monster spent the night after being shot. The blood is not like any human blood, but much darker in color. Mason notes that if a big hunting rifle was unable to stop the creature, then the Sheriff’s little peashooter of a pistol won’t do any good in a confrontation. Mason thinks they can lure the monster into the open fields. “It’s worth a try,” says Wyman.

“This sucks! Where are all the hot farm chicks you told me about?”Later we see Wyman, Mason and all the teens making preparations, which seem to involve buckets filled with gasoline and stacking bales of hay. Are we sure they’re just not planning some sort of hoedown or shindig? Maybe even a hootenanny? The Sheriff arrives with all the meat scraps he could procure from some local source. He also lends the group a portable radio unit they can use to keep in contact with him in his car. Wyman, Mason and the Sheriff draw straws to see who is going to head into the grove with the bait. Mason gets that job (he wanted it anyway as the whole affair was his idea). The sheriff then lends him his pistol. What in the hell is he supposed to do with that? They already determined that the weapon would be useless against the monster. I guess if push comes to shove, Mason can blow his own brains out if the monster gets close enough for a death squeeze. That or put one of the girls out of her misery if the creature gets a little overly amorous.

The Sheriff now parks down the road a ways in his car. Mason heads into the groves with the meat scraps while everyone else stays clustered around the hay bales stacked in front of the farmhouse. A short time later Mason returns from placing the bait and we see that the hay bales are supposed to work as a barrier between the group and the monster when it shows up to grab the meat scraps. What if it approaches from behind them? Did they ever think of that? There’s nothing left to do at this point but wait.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

A half hour passes by and nothing has changed. Wyman calls the Sheriff on the radio, but the lawman hasn’t seen or heard anything, either. He thinks this idea might not work after all. They decide to wait another twenty or thirty minutes. At one point the Sheriff radios the others and tells them that he thinks he sees something and is going to get out of his car to investigate. Yeah, I know...a very bad idea.

The Sheriff gets out of his car and walks around a bit in the groves, looking through the trees. He sees nothing, but we see that ridiculous monster head moving around behind some branches. Again, I’m pretty sure it’s the same shot of the creature from the beginning of the film and then later re-used when it killed that woman. The Sheriff slowly makes his way back to his car, but before he can get there, that Bigfoot Mummy comes shambling out of the trees and attacks. The two seem to be wrestling for a split second.

Back at the farmhouse, they realize that it’s been three whole minutes since they heard from the Sheriff, so Mason tries calling him on the radio. Of course there is no response. Figuring that something is wrong, Mason heads off to investigate. He tells the others to bring the flares and buckets of gasoline. They all go stomping off into the groves like some fifth rate group of angry townsfolk.

They eventually arrive at the sheriff’s car. Mason calls out and we see the Bigfoot Mummy jerk its head in response. It must be very close by! Mason looks around a little bit and then out of the trees comes the Bigfoot Mummy in all its ridiculous glory. It approaches the group and Mason fires off the Sheriff’s pistol at it. That doesn’t seem to slow down it in the slightest sense of the word. Two of the kids douse the creature with gasoline from the buckets and then one of the kids ignites a flare and tosses it at the beast.

Suddenly they’re in a freaking cave! When did it get so damn dark?Woosh! It goes up in flames, arms outstretched. It stands frozen like that as it burns, almost as if it was some cheap effigy being torched at a college sports rally. Then it collapses to the ground, dead. The fire continues to burn. Damn, what an awful smell must be wafting through the air right now. I’m surprised none of the others keeled over from the sheer stench of burnt mummy hair. Nope, the others just gather around and watch it burn. Nearby they find the Sheriff, beat up but alive. The group just stands and watches the blaze, as if they are contemplating breaking out the marshmallows and launching into a rendition of Kumbaya.

 

The End.

 

Yes, you read that right, it’s the end. We are not returning to 1975 and the high school classroom. I’m sure that future Mason was so long winded in telling this tale that right now he is talking to an empty classroom, all the students having either left for their next class or gone home for the day. Even Mr. Whitmore is probably sitting at his desk and giving Mason that tired look that says, “Will you wrap this shit up already?!”

Sadly before we go, there are three things that my mind is screaming at me right now:

1. What in hell does any of what we just watched have to do with Bigfoot? That wasn’t Bigfoot! That was some ancient, prehistoric, primordial caveman who was preserved through the eons by the simple act Whoops, there went the only Bigfoot costume the producers had.of burning a few choice items in his burial cave. That was not Bigfoot! This begs the question: was the monster ever really dead, or did his people seal him in there while he was still alive? Was he just a Jar Jar Binks style annoyance to everyone and they just decided to be rid of him, bonking him over the head and sealing him away as if he was dead? If he was dead, then how did he come back to life? The burning of the plants and resins along with the mud wrappings might have preserved the body, but how did all that contribute to its return to life? It just makes no sense whatsoever.

2. Why in the name of Captain Caveman’s ass did they not try to capture the monster alive? Do any of them recognize the sheer importance of having such an ancient specimen of hominid alive? The impact such a creature would have on science and what we know about the planet and history itself would be staggering! Scientists from all over the world would be competing Hunger Games style just for the chance to examine and work with such a creature. Who knows, if caught alive and sedated, the thing might have eventually calmed down enough to communicate with people. Think of what we could learn from such a creature (aside from a sure fire method for preserving meats, fruits and vegetables for millennia)! But NOPE, let’s just burn it alive! I’m sure if we dig long enough we can find another one! Preferably one a bit more agreeable. MORONS!

3. This was the traumatic experience that led to three of these kids being institutionalized for life, with one unable to even speak after fifteen (or was it sixteen?) years? REALLY? None of these kids were ever in any danger until those last few seconds. What was so horrifying about that? Sure, it might give one nightmares for a while and haunt you for the rest of your life, but it certainly didn’t seem like the sort of excruciating experience that leads to a mental breakdown and catatonia. The last we saw of them, they were all standing around quite calmly, watching the monster burn. I certainly didn’t see anyone curled up on the ground in the fetal position, crying and desperately calling out for their mommy! Well, no one aside from me that is.

 

Review

Oh boy. Where do we even begin?

It’s not much of a secret that this film was originally completed in the late 50’s or early 60’s (prevailing wisdom says 1958) as Teenagers Battle the Thing, on a shoestring budget at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park – a favorite shooting locale for TV and films (Captain Kirk famously fought a Gorn here while Bill S. Preston esquire and Ted Theodore Logan temporarily met their ends in the same spot). Later the movie would only see a theatrical release in the director's hometown. The movie then remained unreleased until 1975 when the director shot new scenes to add to the existing footage and labeled the result, CURSE OF BIGFOOT. It’s also not much of a secret that the new footage does not exactly mesh well with the older film, being comprised of several different elements itself, making the entire affair seem a Hodge podge of disparate scenes. What is also quite apparent is that the original 1958 film makes no mention of Bigfoot, Sasquatch or even a Yeti and the 1975 footage was shot to not only pad out the short running time of the original work, but also, to help tie the whole thing together with the Bigfoot craze of the 1970’s. In short, the movie is all over the place.

This is the type of movie that one experiences more than just views. Some might even go so far to say that it’s the sort of film that you survive. For a small minority, it’s precious gold. The sort of thing you seek to find, watching film after film before discovering it. Despite how the movie may impact you, there is no denying that it is cheap and mostly bad. I usually divide each review into different segments, examining different aspects of the film in question in each, but here I find that I can’t really do that. Storyline? Aside from the main flashback story, there is none. Characters and acting? What we have is a cast of forgettable faces and more forgettable acting. Make-up and FX? Truly god-awful. Music? Taken from The Blob or lifted right from a stock music vault. Technique? Don’t make me laugh. Again, aside from the main flashback story, there is none, and even in that older, more complete narrative there isn’t anything other than pedestrian work at best on display. So how to talk about the movie?

First, I have to say that the monster costume is just flat out hideous…and not in a good way. This thing looks like it was assembled with components from a craft store on a budget of about five bucks. It’s just terrible. The end result is a monster that looks like it has soiled itself and has waste matted into its fur while simultaneously suffering from a severe case of mange. And that is just the body, don’t even get me started on the face! I have seen better monsters created with the cheap Halloween makeup you buy at the dollar store. To make matters worse, the costume obviously didn’t survive until 1975, forcing filmmaker Dave Flocker to use what seems a cheap gorilla costume that does not fit very well on the actor portraying bigfoot. So if you go into this movie hoping to see a halfway realistic BHM (Big Hairy Monster), you are going to be severely disappointed. The other monster featured – the zombie-thing in the movie-within-a-movie, is only marginally better and resembles a papier Mache catastrophe more than anything else.

The pacing of the movie may seem glacial to some viewers. The movie-within-a-movie segment seems to drag on forever with a seemingly endless series of shots showing the zombie creeping up on its victim. Likewise, the Bigfoot side-story about two loggers encountering the creature is also maddeningly stretched out. There’s only so much footage of people walking through the forest with nothing happening that the audience can stand before losing their mind. This part comes awfully close to pushing that boundary between being entertained and violating the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners. Even the main flashback story is a lot of talking and moving from location to location with nothing really happening until the last few minutes, at which point it shifts into overdrive and is over before you know it. Blink and you may miss the ending.

The original 1958 film, which plays in the 1975 version as a flashback told by the one returning actor (also the film’s director), is obviously dated in almost every respect - clothes, speech, music – you name it. Because of this “retro” feel and its complete within itself narrative, this portion of the movie works best. For fans of old monster movies, this part will appeal to you most of all. While the ultimate monster rampage is rather weak and proper archaeology practices are thrown out the window in order to move the minimal plot along, there is still a bit of fun to be had. It’s just a pity that this segment was initially so short. If this part had originally been longer (and maybe having more monster action), there wouldn’t have been the need to shoe-horn in new Bigfoot footage later and it may have been remembered with more fondness. Re-using music from The Blob is very noticeable and certain cues are overused somewhat, but that isn’t anything that will make or break this film given everything else that is going on here.

So in summation, this movie will either entertain you greatly or come darn close to inducing a coma. The padding may test your patience and the sheer lack of funds that went into any of the monsters will surely weigh heavily in determining whether you like this movie for its “cheeze” factor or hate it for its cheapness. Characterization is non-existent and the monster rampage is rather lackluster. Still, despite everything that is wrong and/or lacking with this film, there may be a slight spark of something that speaks to you. For me it was the 50’s era story and the orange/lemon grove settings that fired something in the back of my brain. For you it might be something else or nothing at all. It really does seem that sort of film. One last thing I’d like to add. The advertising image for Teenagers Battle the Thing (as seen at the top of this page) shows the hideously bad-looking monster threatening the character of Sharon. Know this: nothing like that happens in this movie at all. While the monster does attack a woman, it’s not Sharon and she is certainly never seen relaxing in lawn chair, showing off a lot of leg. So don’t get your hopes up...or anything else for that matter.

 

Expect To See:
Desert Hijinks - The archaeological dig that the students visit is out in a dry, barren area of the Southwest. Here they find a mummy buried for untold millennia...and it is here that they bury their careers before they even get started.
Forest Hijinks -Technically, no one was out in a forest in this film. However, there was a lot of action in a number of orange and lemon groves. I know that’s not exactly the same, but in the end there’s still a lot of trees getting in the way.
Monsters - Aside from the goofy-looking Bigfoot mummy that features in the main flashback, we also get a “modern” day Sasquatch tale that uses a cheap gorilla costume as well as some sort of zombie type thing in the movie-within-a-movie. All look like crap.
Science - Forget what you know about history and the fossil record! Nope this movie enlightens us on all manner of things, like how ape-men pioneered the burning of secret herbs and spices in order to preserve bodies for up to a million years.
Stock Footage -There is an entire segment of the movie that deals with “modern” day ruminations on Bigfoot. This section is made up almost entirely of footage lifted from some old U.S. Forest Service educational film.
Violence - One person is killed by the resurrected Bigfoot Mummy. This happens off screen. The movie within a movie has a woman attacked by a zombie thing…off screen. Then there is the modern day tale of a man molested by Bigfoot. I’ll give you one guess as to where this happens.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 2 including monster
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 0
Alcoholic drinks consumed by Shadow: 1
Smokes: 0
Gunshots fired: 4
Fade out/in scene transitions: 7
Monster Cam shots: 7
Times CLOWN talks: 2
Words spoken by CLOWN: 222
Times all we see of monster is a foot or hand: 6
Different monster costumes used in film: 3
Musical cues stolen from The Blob: At least 10
Percentage of film comprised of stock footage: 5.9%
Percentage of film comprised of film within film: 6.7%
Percentage of film comprised of side story: 8.9%
Percentage of film comprised of main flashback: 62.18%
Percentage of film guaranteed to induce coma: 100%
Times I watched this film for this review: 6

01 Min – That’s not cranberry sauce.
05 Min – That dude needs a dermatologist.
07 Min – Lady, you have a dog, not a cat.
11 Min – Stock footage alert!
14 Min – It’s the Captain’s log.
16 Min – Cameraman’s shadow seen on tree.
19 Min – Drunk Sasquatch crossing the road.
23 Min – Can this go on for any longer?
24 Min – There’s a bipedal piece of shag carpet hiding behind that tree.
32 Min – Colonel Sanders! Is that how he discovered the KFC secret recipe?
42 Min – I don’t suppose they brought any beer.
46 Min – That music! Are they rock climbing or working in the steel industry?
55 Min – Wow, that cavern has got some great natural lighting.
69 Min - I can't see a damn thing!
71 Min – Knock, knock. Death calling!
76 Min – Careful, you may run into Ray Dennis Steckler in there.
85 Min – Worst. Costume, Ever.
87 Min – How about a little fire, eh scarecrow?


Shadow's Drinking Game: You know...this movie is such a strange collection of disparate parts, there really is nothing that happens on a consistent basis on which to base a drinking game. So in an effort to save your sanity and get through this movie, take a drink any time you see more than three people in one shot. Stock footage does not count.

 

Images Click for larger image

That is the mangiest Bigfoot
I have ever seen.


“Mr. Whitmore, are you really allowed
to show us your home sex movies?”


“Welcome everyone, to
shitty monster art 101.”

 
The scary part is what his head
looks like WITHOUT the beanie.


Just down the road from Ivanhoe…
with the small community of
Ivankids between them.


“No, these ancient writings are
just a recipe for cornbread muffins.”


 
“Shit! I dropped my keys over the
side! I think we’re walking the 50
miles back to town, guys.”

 
Early man was often quite stoned.

“Everyone be quiet! There’s a
door-to-door salesman walking
up to the door!”

“Raar! I’m a Monsta!
Can anyone see me?
I can’t even see me! Hello?”


Shit or Shinola?

This is kicking my OCD into overdrive.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…never mind
all that…is the donut shop open yet?”

With looks like that, no wonder
they went extinct.

When Wookies Attack!

The first...and last Burning Man
South came to a ignoble end.

 

Immortal Dialog

Roger, reflecting on the terrible past.

Roger: “As a result of that field trip…three of those students…will spend their rest of their lives…in a mental institution.”

Shadow’s Comment: You know, after watching this film six times for this review, I’m thinking that a nice rest in such a facility might be the best thing for me, too.


Museum curator Bill Wyman on the day’s discovery.

Bill: “This could prove to be the most significant archaeological discovery of our age.”

Shadow’s Comment: Unless it proves slightly dangerous, then we’ll burn it with fire! Screw science!

 

Bill again, this time on ancient man.

Bill: “I believe that some ancient tribe buried this mummy, not just thousands of years ago…but hundreds of thousands. They were very primitive. Their writing and pottery work show that…and yet these people had found the secret of truly preserving the dead.”

Shadow’s Comment: Someday, far in the future, someone will say this very thing about our society and our inclination of preserving every stupid little thing on the internet...like this website!

 

Keep In Mind
 
  • The first man-thing was a three-toed gimp.
  • Dogs love milk more than cats do.
  • Bigfoot hates loggers.
  • High school field trips have led to more than one person being institutionalized.
  • Colonel Sanders was an amateur archaeologist.
  • The right kind of smoke has preservation qualities.
  • Although the intricacies of personal hygiene eluded them, ancient cavemen were masters at the art of mummy preservation.
  • It’s okay to skip several crucial steps when excavating something important.
  • When someone says they saw a dead person move, believe them!
  • Ancient mummies are highly flammable.

 

This Film & Me

I first encountered this film sometime in the very late 80’s or maybe even the early 90’s. I was up late one night and perusing the TV guide for something to watch. By this time in my life, afternoon Monster Matinee shows and late night Creature Feature programs were a thing of the past. It was becoming more and more difficult to find an old monster movie to watch as they just were not being shown all that often. This was the era in which I was seeking out and buying old movies on VHS and sending away for mail order tapes just so I could re-create the viewing experiences of my childhood. So there I was looking through the TV guide and I saw a listing for a movie titled “Curse of Bigfoot.” I had never heard of the movie before and being someone who was always fascinated by Sasquatch stories, I decided to watch. I clicked over to the proper channel when the appointed time arrived and settled in to watch. Oh, boy! What a crapfest! The movie was terrible...yet…there was something about it that made me keep watching. This was long before Al Gore invented the internet, so I had no way of seeking out information on this film, as none of the books I already owned had any mention of it. I remember rolling my eyes when the character of Johnny remarked how he could go for a bottle of pop. In my mind, any real teen would be trying to score himself a beer. The movie ended and despite how truly crappy it is in so many places (that was NOT Bigfoot!), I still felt like I had been entertained, perhaps because so much of the film was filmed in the late 50’s – an era of filmmaking of which I am particularly fond. In some ways it seemed like a rare treat: the first time viewing an old monster movie. Such occasions become exceedingly more rare as the years drag on. In truth, I’m not sure of the exact reason why I still like this movie. To this day, I can watch it with ease, in spite of all its shortcomings. Hell, this was the movie that made orchards and lemon/orange groves somewhat freaky to me – and these days I work a job that takes me to such locales on a regular basis. You bet your ass I think of this movie each and every time I’m out in an orchard. It’s unfortunate that there has never been an official home video release on DVD or Bluray. All we’ve gotten is cheap VHS transfers that are usually included in a larger collections. Once there was talk of a special edition, but that has never materialized. If it does, I will be one of the first to buy it.

Shadow's rating: Three Tombstones



The Good

  • Short running time
  • Original 1958 film dated, but entertaining
  • Yeah, I got nothing else

The Bad

  • 1975 Bigfoot is off the rack Gorilla costume
  • Film quality varies from scene to scene
  • Too much padding added in 1975

The Ugly

  • Crappy looking 1958 monster costume
  • Not really Bigfoot!
  • Terrible archaeology practices

 

 

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