The Legend of Boggy Creek
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|The Legend of Boggy Creek|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles B. Pierce|
|Produced by||Charles B. Pierce|
|Written by||Earl E. Smith|
Chuck Pierce, Jr.
Willie E. Smith
|Music by||Jaime Mendoza-Nava|
|Cinematography||Charles B. Pierce|
|Edited by||Tom Boutross|
|Distributed by||Howco International Pictures|
|Box office||$25 million|
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 businessman to invest in the film and hired locals (mainly high school students) to help complete it.
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.
The film, which claims to be a true story, details 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, often appearing as themselves, claiming that the creature has killed many large animals over the years. One farmer claims that the beast carried off two of his 200 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, while people have shot at the creature in the past, 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.
- 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 Bill
- 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
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2019)
The Legend of Boggy Creek was released theatrically to commercial success, earning around $20,000,000 at the box office in 1972.
It was the 10th highest-grossing film of 1972. 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.
The Legend of Boggy Creek has had unauthorized bootleg releases both on VHS, and DVD, several times. 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 were 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.
The Legend of Boggy Creek will receive its first official release on DVD and Blu-ray from the new 4K restoration of the original camera negative in January 2020, which restores the film's original wide-angle, Techniscope film aspect ratio (2.35 : 1), brilliant color, and pioneering soundtrack.
Ahead of the home video release, the restored print received its theatrical premier at the historic Perot Theater, Texarkana, TX on June 14, 2019 with additional screenings at select theaters nationwide.
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 Texas).
The next screening took place in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 5 at the Colonial Theatre. Additional screenings followed at select theaters nationwide.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2018)
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.
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. It stars Dawn Wells of Gilligan's Island fame and Dana Plato of Diff'rent Strokes. Wells portrays the mother of three children who become lost in the swamp until the creature comes to their rescue.
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. The "Big Creature" in the film was portrayed by James Faubus Griffith, a Hollywood stuntman, actor and bodyguard.
In 2010, another unauthorized film with no narrative connection to the original was released, title Boggy Creek: The Legend is True. 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 straight to DVD on September 13, 2011.
- "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.
- "The Legend of Boggy Creek, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "All-Time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976, pg. 48.
- "Top Grossing Films of 1972". Listal.com.
- 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.
- "Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues...". Mystery Science Theater 3000. Season 10. Episode 6. May 9, 1999. Sci-Fi Channel.