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Monday 10 October 2011

Burl reviews Bog! (1978)

Ha ha, hi! Friends, listen, it’s Burl again with a movie review! This one is a swamp creature movie called Bog, and I remember seeing it many years ago on VHS; hard to find nowadays, but I was able to watch it again recently thanks to the magic of computers! Ha ha, thanks magic of computers!
I was eager to see it again, not because it’s such a great movie – and it’s sure not, ha ha! – but because I have a real soft spot for regional horror movies! Any time some local yokel is able to put together two dimes and a nickel and make himself a horror movie among the trees, with only a cheap monster suit and the participation of one or two superannuated actors who were semi-popular in days gone by, I’m there!
Bog was shot somewhere in Wisconsin, but, surprisingly, not by Bill Rebane! Ha ha, I wonder if they had to pay Rebane some kind of user fee to mow his grass like that! Anyway, it seems that a very lazy fisherman has been using dynamite in Bog Lake, and he wakes up a scaly fish monster with crab claws! For his sins he soon reaps the whirlwind, and then the monster is off stalking the countryside, breathing heavily and killing shrewish wives, heavily mustached beer drinkers, and plenty of cops! Why, he must take out half the town’s station wagon-driving police force!
A lady scientist “of a certain age,” played by Gloria DeHaven, and her elderly doctor boyfriend, Marshall Thompson, who was Mr. Rich in McBain, join forces with grumpy-old-man police chief Aldo Ray to investigate this series of ichthyological outrages! The two medicos spend an awful lot of time gabbing away in their cinderblock lab, which is decorated with crustacean posters and pictures of the moon, before detecting “an abnormal amount of Hepburn in the creature’s blood serum” (ha ha, is that Katherine or Audrey?) and concluding the thing to do is make a machine that blows a certain stench the monster will like!
Chief Aldo doesn’t like the smell much! He says “That stuff stinks! What is it, skunk bums?” and then rushes headlong into the clutches of the creature for no reason whatsoever! It’s a very confusing scene, so much so that even the other characters discuss how perplexed they are by it! “Why did Sheriff Rideaway run at the monster like that?” asks the lady. “I don’t know," the old boy replies, "I guess it was because he was a man of action!”

The elderly heroes conduct a strange romance in the midst of all this carnage, wooing one another with sexy pillow talk like “I stained the dense part of the slime tissue!” Ha ha, I should give that one a try! Big Leo Gordon from The Girls on the Beach is another old medico helping out, and in the meantime a swamp hag named Old Adrianna, who sleeps on a bed of smelly old dried-up fish skins, has developed some kind of sympathetic mental connection with the creature and tries to protect it from harm! But she dies in a manner that’s extremely confusing, although totally in keeping with the rest of this darkly photographed, obliquely staged and choppily edited picture!
I’ve got to say that Bog is a pretty bad movie, maybe even worse than Terror in the Swamp! But it still has that regional charm that I like so well, with professional actors giving it their all and a rural vibe that makes the whole thing feel like a community theatre production gone haywire! I also appreciate that there’s so much grey hair in this movie – great to see the old folks doing their bit to rid the world of monsters! I give this movie one and a half extraordinarily friendly scuba divers and a bonus skunk bum!


  1. Thanks for the comment Burl! This has a special place in my heart as well...like you I remember renting it on VHS and it's always worth a watch...the bad editing, choppy scenes, and silly lines like "I tell you what- cops have the world by the ass." Plus those two bozos who go out in the little boat and scuba dive haha What a great movie