The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Legend of Boggy Creek is a 1972 American docudrama horror film about the "Fouke Monster," a Bigfoot-type creature that reportedly has been seen in and around Fouke, Arkansas since the 1940s. The film mixes staged interviews with some local residents who claim to have encountered the creature, along with reenactments of encounters. The film's director and producer, Charles B. Pierce, was an advertising salesman who convinced a local trucking company to invest in the film and hired locals (mainly high school students) to help complete it. The film was made on a $160,000 budget and was released theatrically on August 8, 1972.

The Legend of Boggy Creek
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharles B. Pierce
Written byEarl E. Smith
Produced byCharles B. Pierce
StarringWilliam Stumpp
Chuck Pierce, Jr.
Vern Stierman
Willie E. Smith
CinematographyCharles B. Pierce
Edited byTom Boutross
Music byJaime Mendoza-Nava
Distributed byHowco International Pictures
Release date
  • August 23, 1972 (1972-08-23)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$20,000,000[2] or $4.8 million[3]

After Pierce's daughter Pamula Pierce Barcelou acquired the rights to The Legend of Boggy Creek, a remastered version of the film premiered in 2019.

Plot edit

The film claims to be a true story, detailing the existence of the "Fouke Monster," a seven-foot-tall Bigfoot-like creature that has reportedly been seen by residents of a small Arkansas community since the 1940s. It is described as being completely covered in reddish-brown hair, leaving three-toed tracks and having a foul odor.

Several locals from the small town of Fouke, Arkansas recall their stories, claiming that the creature has killed many large animals over the years. One farmer claims that the beast carried off two of his 100 lb. hogs with little effort, leaping a fence with the animals tucked under its arm. In one scene, a kitten is shown as having been "scared to death" by the creature. The narrator informs the audience that people have shot at the creature in the past, but it has always managed to escape. In another sequence, hunters attempt to pursue the creature with dogs, but the dogs refuse to give chase. A police constable states that while driving home one night, the creature suddenly ran across the road in front of his car.

In a later sequence, culled from the actual newspaper accounts inspiring the film, the creature is shown menacing a family in a remote country house. After being fired upon, the creature attacks, sending one family member to the hospital.

The creature was never captured and is said to still stalk the swamps of southern Arkansas to this day.

Cast edit

  • Vern Stierman as narrator
  • Chuck Pierce Jr. as young Jim
  • William Stumpp as adult Jim
  • Willie E. Smith as Willie
  • Buddy Crabtree as James Crabtree
  • Jeff Crabtree as Fred Crabtree
  • Judy Haltom as Mary Beth Searcy
  • Mary B. Johnson as Mary Beth's sister
  • George Dobson as George
  • Dave Ball as Dave
  • Jim Nicklus as Jim
  • Flo Pierce as Bessie Smith
  • Glenn Carruth as Bobby Ford
  • Bunny Dees as Mrs. Sue Ford
  • John Wallis as Mr. Don Ford
  • Sarah Coble as Mrs. Carter
  • Dave O'Brien as Mr. Charles Turner
  • Sarah Coble as Mrs. Ann Turner
  • Billy Crawford as Corky Hill
  • Dennis Lamb as Mr. Kennedy
  • Loraine Lamb as Mrs. Kennedy
  • Lloyd Bowen as himself
  • B.R. Barrington as himself
  • J.E. "Smokey" Crabtree as himself
  • Travis Crabtree as himself
  • John P. Hixon as himself
  • John W. Oates as himself
  • Herb Jones as himself
  • Anthony Newsom as himself
  • Cecil Newsom as himself
  • Denise Newsom as herself

Production edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek was filmed in Fouke, Arkansas, Shreveport, Louisiana and Texarkana, Texas. The preproduction, script and shoot were mired in controversy regarding the unethical behavior of the writers and directors towards the locals whose stories were used. The book Smokey and the Fouke Monster by Smokey Crabtree (copyright 1974 ISBN number 0-9701632-0-7) purports to explain what happened.

Releases edit

Initial release edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek was released theatrically in 1972.[2] Pierce's daughter Amanda Squitiero claims to have autobiographical notes made by her father indicating that the film ultimately made $25 million ($166 million in 2021 dollars), but this cannot be verified.[4]

According to Variety, the film earned another $4.8 million in 1975 theatrical rentals in North America.[5]

Return to Boggy Creek and Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues, were released to theaters later in 1977 and 1985, respectively. Neither of the unauthorized sequels were as successful as the original film.[citation needed]

Home media edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek has had several unauthorized bootleg releases both on VHS and DVD. Between 2002 and 2011, Hen's Tooth Video, Education 2000 Inc., Sterling Entertainment, Unicorn Video, RHR Home Video, Cheezy Flicks Entertainment, and Film Trauma, all released unauthorized copies of The Legend of Boggy Creek on Region 1 DVD. The DVD versions have been notoriously low quality, most of them seemingly taken from VHS editions, and all of them were 'Pan and Scan' transfers, rather than the movie's proper widescreen Techniscope presentation. For years, The Legend of Boggy Creek was thought to be in the public domain and all VHS/DVD releases unofficial. However, Pamula Pierce Barcelou, daughter of director Charles B. Pierce, gained control of the movie in 2018, when Steve Ledwell, of Ledwell & Son, assigned her copyright of both The Legend of Boggy Creek and another Pierce film, Bootleggers. Mr Ledwell's father, L.W., helped finance The Legend of Boggy Creek, which found also success as a low-budget, drive-in creature feature.[6]

Ahead of the home release, the restored print received its theatrical premier at the historic Perot Theater, Texarkana, TX on June 14, 2019[7] with additional screenings at select theaters nationwide.

2019 re-release edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek was restored/remastered at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York, & Audio Mechanics, Burbank, California, using many of the original elements.

The film premiered at the historic Perot Theatre, Texarkana, Texas, on Friday, June 14, 2019. Additional showings began at midnight, June 15, and continued through Sunday, June 16 (Charles B. Pierce Day in Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas).

The next screening took place in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 5 at the Colonial Theatre. Additional screenings followed at select theaters nationwide.

Reception edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek received generally favorable reviews upon its initial release.

"... Scene after scene of almost pristine wilderness is a visual feast ... its sheer honest ... rigid adherence to authenticity ... is highly persuasive that there is indeed, a “Fouke Monster.” It's scary and charming ..." Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock

"... visually stunning and exciting ... Pierce manages to create a sense of foreboding that brings audiences up sharply ..." Goff, Daily Variety.

"... the film captures the eerie beauty of Arkansas’ primeval swamps and contains images of Southern American backwoods life unmatched in its rich rustic flavor since Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story ... Pierce's photography accents the Arkansas swampland's incredible beauty and unsettling mystery ... an unusual blend of malevolence and melancholia ... eminently successful in giving the imagination a good healthy jolt and in ultimately celebrating the unfathomable mysteries of nature ..." Glenn Lovell, Hollywood Reporter.

Legacy edit

A book was written about the films production called Smokey and the Fouke Monster by Smokey Crabtree. It purports ethical issues with the production team and their treatment of locals’ stories used in the film.

Writer and director Daniel Myrick cited The Legend of Boggy Creek as an influence on his 1999 film The Blair Witch Project.[8]

Unofficial sequels edit

In 1977, Return to Boggy Creek was released. It was directed by Tom Moore. Charles B. Pierce was not involved with the film's production, and the film carries over none of the original's docudrama elements.[citation needed] It stars Dawn Wells and Dana Plato.[citation needed] Wells portrays the mother of three children who become lost in the swamp until the creature comes to their rescue.[citation needed]

In 2010, another unauthorized sequel with no narrative connection to the original (or its 1985 sequel) was released as a straight-to-DVD movie, titled Boggy Creek. It concerns a Bigfoot-like creature who attacks a group of teenagers that are vacationing in the fictional area of Boggy Creek, Texas. The film was written and directed by Brian T. Jaynes. It was originally produced in 2010 and released on September 13, 2011.

Official sequel edit

In 1985 Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues was released. Pierce returned to direct this film which was written as a direct sequel to the original film, thus the reason for styling the title as "II" instead of "III". It follows the adventures of a University of Arkansas professor (Pierce) and his students, one of which is Pierce's son, on their trip to Fouke, Arkansas, to find and study the creature. A few scenes in the beginning of the movie were shot at the university, including an Arkansas Razorbacks football game. The movie was featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.[9] The "Big Creature" in the film was portrayed by James Faubus Griffith, a Hollywood stuntman, actor and bodyguard.[citation needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Charles B. Pierce, Director of 'Boggy Creek,' Dies at 71". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 10, 2010. p. B18. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The Legend of Boggy Creek, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Donahue, Suzanne Mary (1987). American film distribution : the changing marketplace. UMI Research Press. p. 293. ISBN 9780835717762. Please note figures are for rentals in US and Canada
  4. ^ "The Numbers – Movies Released in 1972"
  5. ^ "All-Time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976, p. 48.
  6. ^ "Gettin' 'Boggy' with it | Texarkana Breaking News". Archived from the original on 2018-08-01.
  7. ^ "Home".[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Myrick, Dan (July 1999). "An Exclusive Interview with Dan Myrick, Director of 'The Blair Witch Project'" (Interview). Interviewed by Caretaker. Internet Zombie Productions. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues...". Mystery Science Theater 3000. Season 10. Episode 6. May 9, 1999. Sci-Fi Channel.

External links edit