Hi friends! Burl here to talk about one of my all-time favorite movie genres, the bigfoot picture! There were lots of these movies released in the 1970s, and Creature From Black Lake was one of the best of them as far as I’m concerned! It’s a close cousin to the Boggy Creek pictures in many ways, but I think it’s better, and you better believe it gets pretty scary by the end!
It starts off with an old Louisiana swamp rat and his buddy checking their trap line for nutriamen or whatever it is they’re trying to catch! But wouldn’t you know it, the traps are empty, and then a monstrous, hairy arm reaches up from the water and drags the poor buddy down! Ha ha, it’s a pretty shocking opening for a 70s bigfoot movie, as those guys were usually portrayed as benevolent animals who might be scary, but really just wanted their privacy! This guy is the missing link between the gentle giants of such pictures as Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1977) and the badass devil-beast of Night of the Demon (1980)!
Two students from Chicago, Pahoo and Reeves, hear about this horrific incident and make their way down to Oil City, ‘weeziana, to investigate and maybe to bag themselves a bigfoot! But they don’t reckon on the closed-mouthedness of the townsfolk and the difficulty of pinning down the wild-haired old swamp rat, who is played by the great Jack Elam! Also, they get some hassle from The Man, in the form of a local portly police chief! But finally there’s a breakthrough: a local family who had a fatal encounter with the legendary monkeyman are grudgingly willing to tell their tale, which eventually leads to Pahoo and Reeves’ own scary encounter!
The great thing about this movie is the cast! Almost everyone is either really good or perfectly cast, or both! Pahoo, who wears a great baseball shirt with “Pahoo” emblazoned across the back – and you can actually order one of these for yourself on the internet, which I did a few years back and still wear proudly! – is played by Dennis Fimple, a very likeable guy who sadly died in a car wreck some years back, but not before becoming a very familiar character actor in movies like Truck Stop Women and the 1976 King Kong! Ha ha, that guy was always having trouble with apes! But Pahoo, your memory will live on!
Dennis Fimple is great, and the guy who plays Reeves is pretty good too; and there are some fine performances from a couple of old jaspers, the aforementioned Jack Elam and also Dub Taylor as the crotchety finger-lickin’ grandpa! And whoever played the bigfoot creature was no slouch either – he was pretty spooky, and his costume was not half bad!
Overall, even though I watched the movie last night on a crappy VHS tape (don’t get me wrong, I love VHS!) and I’d still like to see this movie in its proper widescreen format someday, I give this fine bigfoot picture three hamburgs, fries and large Cokes! Ha ha, track it down like the legendary beast it is, and enjoy!