I’m a Bigfoot Movie completist, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for this one. I don’t know where I first heard about it, but the advertising prominently featured Lance Henriksen. Lance Freaking Henderson versus an Abominable Snowman? Where do I sign up for that? You know you want to check this out.
Lance Henriksen is a national treasure. But sadly he doesn’t star in this movie, nor is he hunting an Abominable Snowman. Nope, filming in Nepal was out of the budget range for this movie, so there’s a plain old Bigfoot stalking people in the Bronson Cave at Griffith Park, in Los Angeles. This is a famous filming location for everything from the 1966 TV Batcave to Robot Monster to 90% of direct to video horror movies. Basically any time they need a cave, they shoot it there. And Lance is merely a co-star to the cave.
The movie actually stars Matt McCoy as a paraplegic who’s suffering from PTSD after the loss of his wife in a tragic rock climbing accident. I just recently saw Matt get bitten in half by a sea-slug in DeepStar Six, so it’s funny how these actors keep popping up in stuff I watch. He’s solid as the jittery, wheelchair bound Preston Rogers. You know you’re in B-movie territory with character names like that. So anyways, Matt’s left alone in his cabin, and he’s got binoculars and keeps seeing shadows and rustling tree leaves that could be, possibly might be Bigfoots. I laughed when a Jeep full of mega-babes pulls up at the cabin next door. Only in Hollywood, man. So Matt McCoy keeps sort of seeing Bigfoot and then watches his hottie neighbors and tries warn them of Bigfoot. Then his jerk-off caretaker Otis returns in one of those telegraphed jump scares where he suddenly puts a hand on Matt’s shoulder and we’re supposed to be scared.
So for a while the movie plays out like a low rent Rear Window, where Matt McCoy is alone in his wheelchair watching the babes next door and looking at trees. Lots and lots of trees with off-camera production assistants shaking the branches. Ooh, scary.
The movie is a bit slow moving, so when Lance Freaking Henricksen finally does show up as a grizzled hunter he’s worth his weight in gold. God, does this guy sell crappy horror movies. From his explanation to why he’s wandering off into the Bigfoot-infested woods alone with his hunting rifle, “I just love killing shit.” To discovering the half eaten but alive blonde camper in the Bronson cave he mutters, “Oh wow, that is gross,” after glancing at her festering stomach wound. Every line reading he gives is hilarious. So there’s about 10 glorious minutes where Lance and Jeffrey Combs as a scuzzy gas station attendant who totes around his own oxygen tank are stalked by a guy in a gorilla suit. Then they’re gone and we’re back to Matt McCoy thinking he’s seeing things in the darkness.
Director Ryan Schifrin, obviously working with a low-budget, has to make the most out of his two locations. So lots of Matt McCoy getting jump-scared by stuff, including crap falling out of a supply closet with a loud sting. That was so incompetent, I laughed. Then Paul Gleason shows up as the toolbar sheriff and he’s briefly funny.
So finally, after playing hide and seek in the shadows for an hour, Bigfoot starts attacking and eating people. The best scene in the movie, aside from Hunting with Lance, has Troma vet Tiffany Shepis taking a shower and getting yanked through a too small window where she’s folded in half. And Matt McCoy futilely watches it all with his binoculars from across the way.
This Bigfoot is definitely no vegetarian. And although he’s still just a dude in a gorilla suit, he’s at least tall and mobile and he has a goofy-looking scowl. I’d give him about a 7 out of 10 on the monster-o-meter. He’s not the least bit scary, but I’ve seen much worse.
Eventually the movie boils down to the wheelchair bound Matt and the surviving blonde babe from next door going head to head with the Bigfoot monster in the cabin. Apparently this Abominable is smart enough to cut the power to their cabin, so there’s lots more darkness. All in all, it’s a workmanlike movie. The monster and gore effects are not very convincing and the jump-scares are usually telegraphed pretty badly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Budgetary constraints keeps the Bigfoot hidden for long stretches, so he’s represented by off-screen noises and rustling branches. These parts of the movie don’t work at all. Then there’s goofy scenes with entertaining character actors and those are much better. The movie has a sense of humor and doesn’t take itself seriously, so it’s at least amusing. All in all, I was mildly entertained and I can check one more Bigfoot movie off my list. The last shot, which I won’t spoil, is totally stolen from the Peter Cushing not-quite-classic The Abominable Snowman from 1957. See, I told you I was a completist.
SPOILER ALERT: I will spoil one of the worst scenes in the movie, however, where Otis finally saves the day with the terrible one-liner, “Hey ass-monkey, eat this.” Right before he gets his face bitten off by the Abominable.