The Legend of Boggy Creek


1h 30m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Willie E. Smith, John P. Hixon, John W. Oates, Jeff Crabtree, & the inhabitants of Fouke, Arkansas. The residents of a small town near the Texas border are terrorized by a huge, hairy creature which likes to prowl the country roads at night, rocking trailer homes and scaring small children. Vern Stearman narrates this no-budget docudrama which exploits the Bigfoot myth. It inspired a sequel, RETURN TO BOGGY CREEK.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Documentary
Release Date
Jan 1972
Premiere Information
World premiere in Texarkana, AR: Aug 1972; Los Angeles opening: 6 Dec 1972
Distribution Company
Howco International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Texarkana, Arkansas, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In the lush backwoods region of Texarkana, Arkansas, local men scorn the legend of the "Fouke Monster," named for the 350-person town in which it has been spotted, a giant, three-toed, Sasquatch-like creature that terrorizes local fauna. Jim, a seven-year-old country boy, is sent by his mother to get help from some of the townsmen after she spots the monster near her house. Receiving no help from the skeptical men, Jim hears the monster scream, and, years later, as an adult, states, "It scared me then and it scares me now." Other residents are introduced and the incidents in which the monster was seen or heard are recounted. First shown are Smokey Crabtree and his son Travis, trappers who live near the creek and subsist off the fertile land, which provides a pleasant home for them¿until the sun goes down, after which they spot the monster. John P. Hixon describes seeing the creature, which has been shot in the chest, flee on two legs. John W. Oates relates that something killed his 200-pound hogs, strangling the heavy animals and carrying them off with ease. Jim recalls that the creek often flooded during his childhood, covering densely thicketed bottomland that sheltered a multitude of creatures. Few humans could make their way into the swamp depths, where the monster was rumored to live. According to the monster's legend, which has evoked terror over the past fifteen years, the creature prowls the swamps and creeps out occasionally at dusk. Hunter Fred Crabtree once saw the Fouke Monster and now reports: Assuming it is a wild man or a gorilla, he refrains from shooting it in case it is human. A few months later, Fred's uncle, James Crabtree, is hunting when he glimpses the monster, which steps out in front of him without fear. Mary Beth Searcy lives with her baby and older sister, and one night when the women are alone, Mary Beth hears howling outside and notices that the livestock are agitated. When she sees the creature through the living room window, she screams, faints, then spends a long night of terror as the women await sunrise. In the morning, they find their cat dead from fright. Later, a thirteen-year-old boy rushes into the woods after what he believes is a deer. Spotting the monster, he shoots it and flees, after which the creature limps off into the woods leaving bloodstains behind. The community springs into action, bringing in prized hunting dogs from all around. Jim accompanies the search party, which is covered by the local media. Although the dogs eventually catch the creature's scent, they are too frightened to track it. Jim notes that the creature never harmed a human and remained non-aggressive until people tried to kill it. After the hunt, the creature disappears, apparently moving deeper into the bottomland. Eight years later, Travis visits Herb Jones, who lives in solitude by the creek. Although Herb is sure the Fouke Monster is a myth, a young couple sees it run across the road as they are driving, and later Ol H. Kennedy finds three-toed footsteps in his bean field, garnering national press coverage. Some experts compare the creature to Sasquatch, but the feet are different, as are the feet of gorillas. Bessie Smith's children are playing in the woods one day when they run home and insist that she accompany them to see what they have found. When she catches sight of the creature, she screams and they all run back to the house. Teenager Nancy invites two girl friends over to her trailer one night, and as they chatter, the creature stalks outside. Hearing it draw closer, they scream and grab a rifle, but are too terrified to load it. The creature smashes flowerpots throughout the night, and the next morning, the parents return to find the girls mute from shock. In another incident, Charles and Anne Turner and Don and Sue Ford and their small children rent a house together. While the men are away working, the wives hear the creature on the porch, but landlord Mr. Johnson assures them that they heard only the wind. Later, when Bobby Ford and his young cousin arrive for a weekend of fishing, they spot a footprint, causing them to retreat nervously to the house. The next day, they all hear the creature outside and take preparations against it, then, when Don and Charles return, they search outside with a rifle. The creature approaches, creating confusion that causes the men to shoot at it continuously. The next day, the sheriff declares that it was a panther, but later that night, Bobby sees the creature through the bathroom window. As the women scream, the men shoot over and over, then traipse outside to see if they have hit their prey. Just then, the creature attacks, and in his panic Bobby runs through the glass front door. As he is brought to the hospital for his cuts, the Texarkana police investigate, but find nothing. As an adult, Jim returns to the area, examining the couples' long-abandoned home. Wondering what the creature was after, Jim experiences chills down his spine while recalling the "terrible, lonesome cry." "You may believe the whole thing is a hoax," he says. "But if you're ever driving down here, keep your eyes out for a creature watching from the shadows."

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Documentary
Release Date
Jan 1972
Premiere Information
World premiere in Texarkana, AR: Aug 1972; Los Angeles opening: 6 Dec 1972
Distribution Company
Howco International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Texarkana, Arkansas, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The Legend of Boggy Creek begins with the following written statement: "This is a true story. Some of the people in this motion picture portray themselves-in many cases on actual locations." In the closing credits, the producers thank several local institutions and the people of Fouke, AR. Some of the onscreen credits were illegible on the print viewed and were fleshed out from other contemporary sources. Although contemporary sources refer to the production company as P & L productions, onscreen it is listed as Pierce-Ledwell Productions. Although the film was not registered for copyright at the time of its release, on February 28, 1995 Pierce-Ledwell Productions registered the videocassette under the number PA-645-535.
       The film is presented as a documentary, with dramatic reenactments of supposed true events dealing with the "Fouke Monster," a Sasquatch or Big Foot-like creature rumored to inhabit the Texarkana area of Arkansas. Most of the action takes place around the 1950s, but the chronology and time period are vague. Throughout the film, "Jim," who is voiced by Vern Stierman, narrates the events. Jim is seen briefly as a young boy, played by filmmaker Charles B. Pierce's son Chuck, and then is portrayed at the end of the film as an adult, played by William Stumpp. Most of the characters are introduced with their name and area of residence subtitled over their image.
       As noted in several contemporary sources, Pierce was an advertising agency owner when he hired writer Earl E. Smith to write the script for The Legend of Boggy Creek. A January 7, 1976 Los Angeles Times article stated that he hired nine local teenage boys as his crew and borrowed a CinemaScope camera from Gordon Eastman. Although the Los Angeles Times article reported that Pierce funded the production with $160,000 borrowed from a bank, an August 1974 Daily Variety article reported that Pierce initially had gathered funding from advertising agency clients, and according to an April 1973 Hollywood Reporter article, Pierce's friend and co-producer, L. W. "Buddy" Ledwell, Jr., financed the film.
       According to the Los Angeles Times article, Pierce first screened the film independently in Texarkana in August 1972, after which he moved it to Shreveport, LA. Soon after, as noted in the 1973 Hollywood Reporter article, Howco International acquired the distribution rights, and Pierce stated in the 1974 Daily Variety feature that the distributor allowed him a fifty-percent interest in the film and stock in the company.
       Pierce noted in the Los Angeles Times article that he captured the film's sound by putting "a microphone up against a tree." The sound was created almost wholly in pre-production, using a process dubbed "Poly-dimensional sound," which, according to the article, included the creation of "primitive" Foley sound effects. Many reviews remarked on the detailed sound. In addition, Pierce stated in the Los Angeles Times article that he had originally hired a local boy to sing the theme song, but when the recording session did not work out, he stepped in to record the song himself.
       Many reviewers commented on the amateurish look and feel of the film, but most found it endearing and scary. The Legend of Boggy Creek proved a surprise box-office success. Within two weeks of its Los Angeles run, according to the 1973 Hollywood Reporter article, it had grossed $500,000. In that article, Howco vice president Joy Houck, Jr. credited much of the film's success to word-of-mouth advertising. By 1974, according to the Daily Variety article, the picture had earned over $22 million.
       In 1975, The Legend of Boggy Creek was re-released. A fully fictional sequel entitled Return to Boggy Creek was produced in 1977. Although Pierce was not involved in that film, he produced, wrote, directed and starred in 1985's The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Technicscope

Released in United States 1972