Case Number 16646: Small Claims Court

THE BEAST COLLECTION

The Snow Creature
Image Entertainment // 1954 // 70 Minutes // Not Rated
The Eye Creatures
Image Entertainment // 1965 // 78 Minutes // Rated
Majin, Monster Of Terror
Image Entertainment // 1966 // 83 Minutes // Rated
Return Of The Giant Majin
Image Entertainment // 1966 // 79 Minutes // Rated
Zontar: The Thing From Venus
Image Entertainment // 1966 // 80 Minutes // Rated
Shriek Of The Mutilated
Image Entertainment // 1974 // 86 Minutes // Rated
The Legend Of Bigfoot
Image Entertainment // 1976 // 74 Minutes // Rated PG
Sasquatch, The Legend Of Bigfoot
Image Entertainment // 1977 // 95 Minutes // Rated G
Snowbeast
Image Entertainment // 1977 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
The Capture Of Bigfoot
Image Entertainment // 1979 // 89 Minutes // Rated
Search For The Beast
Image Entertainment // 1997 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // June 19th, 2009

The Charge

11 features that will astound you!

The Case

I decided, in the Summer of '09, to track down the most elusive of all prey: the good Bigfoot movie. While scores of people have claimed to have encountered this creature in several forms, there has been no real evidence that such a film exists or ever has. All attempts to create a decent Bigfoot movie end in terrible failure (see: Boggy Creek Creature 2 for one such example), and the Bigfoot connoisseur is left starving for true sasquatchian entertainment. Through Image Entertainment's The Beast Collection, I hoped to finally find the shy and reclusive good Bigfoot movie. I packed no supplies and brought along no one on my journey, save my faithful labrador Frances, who assisted greatly by raking her giant black claws against the side of my head when it was time to take a break from the search and take her for walkies.

The following are excerpts from my journal, written during my quest:

June 1st, 2009: I have chosen to start with Search for the Beast. It was filmed in 1997 in the rugged wasteland that is Alabama. Few have ventured into these dangerous hinterlands and even fewer have returned. The fact that they chose to create a film about the Sasquatch here shows a sturdy backbone and a willingness to confront great danger. However, their final results are terrifyingly awesome in their wretchedness. It is an independent, amateur production and it shows in every crack and seam. Just the basic plot was enough to make me raise a single eyebrow: a roving, amorous Bigfoot is stealing the lovely ladies of Alabama to have his way with them, leading to a scene that made me raise my other eyebrow. While I can allow for a limited budget to explain special effects (strawberry jelly makes for realistic and tasty fake blood!) or badly dressed sets (it's a lab because there's a table and some sound equipment!), an incoherent plot graced with an equally incoherent script is a not so easily excused. I move on, quietly disconcerted by my experiences with my first step on my trek.

June 2nd, 2009: I watched The Legend of Bigfoot and Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot on the second day of my excursion into the murky waters of Bigfoot territory. Both films were made in the late Seventies and followed a format peculiar to the nature documentary. The differences lay in the fact that The Legend of Bigfoot actually was a documentary, created by legendary tracker Ivan Marx. He claimed to have actual footage of the beast. Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot followed a very similar format (voiceover narration throughout, much footage of wildlife and critters, an examination of bigfoot and his role within the greater ecosystem), but is purely fiction. Both movies also share a similarity in that they're both deadly dull. There's a reason why most nature shows don't exceed 50 minutes and both of these clock in at around an hour and 20 minutes. That's a long time to dragged along by movies that resemble vacation slideshows. At least Marx's film has the excuse that it actually is a documentary and is constrained by reality. Sasquatch attempts to have a plot with characters and succeeds only in propping up cardboard cutouts to be knocked over by a guy in a monkey suit. I am becoming discouraged in my search. I can only hope that tomorrow will bring the movie I am looking for.

June 3rd, 2009: This is, I feel the lowest day in my quest. I have come up against something that is truly dreadful, only matched by Search for the Beast in its awfulness. If there exist worse Bigfoot movies than this, than I hope I am eaten by bears before I come across them. The Shriek of the Mutilated was touted as grotesque and the box warned that the faint of heart should stay clear of it. I was instantly on alert and preparing myself for a disgusting display of Seventies-era depravity, the likes of which hadn't been seen since I Spit on Your Grave. Instead, I was bored to tears. There is nothing truly awful here, not in the sense of gore. Certainly not what one would expect after the box's warnings and the title. It's almost tame, unless one counts the disturbingly bad acting and the large amounts of red paint that were wasted in the blood effects. "Shriek" in the film's title undoubtedly refers to the style of acting used by the performers and "mutilated" refers to what it does to the horror genre. I am left despondent and tomorrow, I will venture into new territory to get the taste of this movie out of my mouth.

June 4th, 2009: After yesterday's failure with Shriek of the Mutilated, I've ventured deep into the heart of Texas during the Sixties to view the works of Larry Buchanan in the hopes that his alien-themed films could help me to forget those first false starts. Unfortunately, Zontar: Thing from Venus and The Eye Creatures have both just sent me swirling down into a sea of depression. Both films suffer from a small budget coupled with an ambitious filmmaker. This is best seen in The Eye Creatures and the titular monsters. While the costumes were decent enough, they apparently only had enough money for two tops. For the rest of the eye creatures, they just stuck masks on guys wearing black body suits, giving the impression that the eye creatures were actually just an interpretive dance troupe. The Eye Creatures at least benefits from a sense of humor; Zontar is just full of itself, attempting to impart some sort of message in the middle of its sci-fi tomfoolery. Deadly earnest social commentary is delivered with wooden aplomb in the middle of cheesy monsters flying around on visible strings. On a more positive note, I've heard reports of a giant monster plaguing feudal Japan and it's not Godzilla. That will be my next stop.

June 5th, 2009: Majin, Monster of Terror and Return of the Giant Majin are in no way shape or form related to Bigfoot. They can't even be properly classified as creature flicks, since Majin is actually a giant stone statue. I wondered why they would even be included in a set that's predominantly about Bigfoot and his Nepali cousin, the Yeti, but pondering such questions leads only to madness. Majin is, as I've noted, a giant statue that has a tendency to spring to life to defend villagers from bandits and warlords, but only in the last 15 minutes of a movie. Majin, Monster of Terror has surprisingly good effects; there were points where I was actually having trouble figuring out how they accomplished having a giant monster marching around. Due to the short runtime, it's almost worth it to sit through a Majin-free hour, just to see the action-packed finale. Return of the Giant Majin is far weaker. The plot is different, yes, but only in the broad strokes. The effects are also weaker this time around since the filmmakers attempted to do far more. I was always curious what The Ten Commandments would have been like, had Moses been a giant samurai statue and Return gave me a small taste of that when Majin parts the seas. While the effects and story are less interesting this time around, Return has more interesting characters that actually do things. The first movie's protagonists spent most of their time getting captured and tortured and crying for Majin. The heroes in the second ran around and dispatched almost as many villains as Majin. The Majin films have put me in a good mood. They revel in their cheesiness and do it well. It's enough to put me back on track for a quality Bigfoot movie.

June 6th, 2009: My good mood was not to last. Snowbeast and The Capture of Bigfoot are to blame. When The Capture of Bigfoot's opening credits rolled past, I felt a chill race up my spine as I saw Bill Rebane's name plastered everywhere. Bill Rebane is the director of such films as The Giant Spider Invasion and Monster-a-Go-Go. I wept and braced myself for the worst. It turned out to be the best of the bunch, but that just means it had a coherent plot and minimal voiceover narration. Snowbeast follows a similiar path, as an isolated snow-covered town is beset on all sides by a single Bigfoot that must have the ability to translocate, given the amount of trouble it causes. Given its television-based nature, this movie is devoid of needless sex and violence, but makes up for it by including moments for commercial breaks. This is not a good trade-off. It also suffers from P.O.V. vertigo as the director showed me the world through the eyes of a snow beast, which largely just gave me motion sickness. I have only a single movie left. Tomorrow will be a fresh start.

June 7th, 2009: The Snow Creature, the final film in The Beast Collection, is from the Fifties, making it the oldest of the included movies. Age has not sweetened it and it remains as stale and boring as the ones that followed it. A botanist is in Tibet wandering around and looking for plant samples, but instead gets roped into a yeti hunt. The yeti is apparently a large man wearing a fur cap, resembling a Napoleonic-era Russian soldier more than a missing link, which makes me wonder why they want him so badly. I'm not sure why yetis and Bigfoots inspire voiceover narration, but, once again, heavy handed narration is slathered all over the movie. Tiresome stereotypes, loose ends, and plot holes make this Bigfoot movie as bad as any other.

After my long journey through The Beast Collection, I am more sure than ever there exists no truly good Bigfoot movie in this world.

Even the video quality of these films suffered. Tracking errors, holdovers from their days on video, transfer blemishes, color changes, dust, scratches: anything you can think of. Granted, there was little reason for anyone to care for these films, so it's no surprise that Retromedia had difficulty providing quality transfers.

My search was a failure and I post my journal here for you, so that others may learn from my mistakes. For those who dare to hunt monsters find themselves watching truly awful Bigfoot movies.

The Verdict

Retromedia is found guilty of poaching Bigfoots.

Review content copyright © 2009 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Snow Creature
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, The Snow Creature
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 1954
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Snow Creature
* None

Scales of Justice, The Eye Creatures
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile, The Eye Creatures
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 78 Minutes
Release Year: 1965
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Eye Creatures
* Remembering John Ashley

Scales of Justice, Majin, Monster Of Terror
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Majin, Monster Of Terror
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 1966
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Majin, Monster Of Terror
* None

Scales of Justice, Return Of The Giant Majin
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Return Of The Giant Majin
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 1966
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Return Of The Giant Majin
* None

Scales of Justice, Zontar: The Thing From Venus
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile, Zontar: The Thing From Venus
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1966
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Zontar: The Thing From Venus
* None

Scales of Justice, Shriek Of The Mutilated
Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, Shriek Of The Mutilated
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Shriek Of The Mutilated
* None

Scales of Justice, The Legend Of Bigfoot
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, The Legend Of Bigfoot
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, The Legend Of Bigfoot
* None

Scales of Justice, Sasquatch, The Legend Of Bigfoot
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, Sasquatch, The Legend Of Bigfoot
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Rated G

Distinguishing Marks, Sasquatch, The Legend Of Bigfoot
* None

Scales of Justice, Snowbeast
Judgment: 65

Perp Profile, Snowbeast
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Snowbeast
* None

Scales of Justice, The Capture Of Bigfoot
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, The Capture Of Bigfoot
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1979
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Capture Of Bigfoot
* None

Scales of Justice, Search For The Beast
Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, Search For The Beast
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Search For The Beast
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb: The Capture of Bigfoot
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0124307/combined

* IMDb: The Legend of Bigfoot
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0279919/combined

* IMDb: Shriek of the Mutilated
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0072156/combined

* IMDb: Search for the Beast
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0129358/combined

* IMDb: Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0078203/combined

* IMDb: Snowbeast
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0076731/combined

* IMDb: The Snow Creature
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0047507/combined

* IMDb: Zontar: The Thing from Venus
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0061217/combined

* IMDb: The Eye Creatures
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0059161/combined

* IMDb: Majin, Monster of Terror
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0062851/combined

* IMDb: Return of the Giant Majin
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0062852/combined