Top 10 Bigfoot Movies of the 21st Century

Ancient and elusive cryptid endures in modern horror.

Bigfoot’s my bro.

While reports of an enormous and elusive bipedal hominid are an ancient and worldwide phenomenon, Bigfoot is nonetheless a staple of North American crypto-mythology—especially on the West Coast. As a life-long resident of California and an avid camper, I’ve always felt a close connection to the mysterious creature; whenever I find myself enjoying the woods and mountains of my state, I always keep an eye out for Bigfoot.

With the release of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film in 1967 (touted by many as the closest thing to definitive proof that the creature exists) America experienced what can rightfully be called Bigfoot Mania. An entire industry was established around creature, one that included t-shirts, toys, and a plethora of films and TV shows, most notably The Legend of Boggy Creek in 1972.

And while it may seem like Bigfoot Mania has diminished over the years, a cursory look at our modern horror landscape proves quite the opposite; according to IMDB, around 70 Bigfoot films have been released since the year 2000, with a noticeable spike around 2006 (this includes theatrical and made-for-TV movies, straight to DVD’s, short films, and documentaries). So while he may be considered a throwback, Bigfoot is in fact one of the most popular monsters of this or any age, and an icon in the truest sense.

The films below represent the best Bigfoot-centric horror movies of the 21st Century. They remind us that it’s best to tread lightly when we venture off the beaten path. Enjoy!

 

Abominable (2006)

While Bigfoot movies usually target a relatively small (but rabid) subset of horror connoisseurs, Abominable is a film with vast appeal that will please just about every genre fan on the planet. It’s a creature feature and a comedy; it’s also a deeply nuanced story that plays out like a reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The beasts are shown often and in all their glory, and the gore is plentiful; a scene where a creature bites into a man’s skull like an apple is especially satisfying. What really makes Abominable a must-see for horror fans, though, it’s a movie-stealing interlude that features Lance Henriksen and Jeffrey Combs as hillbillies, sitting around a campfire, talkin’ S’quatch.

 

Sasquatch Mountain aka Devil on the Mountain (2006)

In 2006, Lance Henricksen appeared in not one, but two Bigfoot themed horror movies; while his part in Abominable was small, he’s the star and driving force in Sasquatch Mountain. It’s the story of a lonely truck driver caught up in a dangerous battle between local authorities and a crew of bank-robbers with a hostage. With Bigfoot thrown into the mix, the typical “cops & robbers” tale is completely upended. There’s a karmic undertone to the entire film that suggests all bad deeds are punished—even in the wild.

 

Southern Fried Bigfoot (2008)

While Bigfoot sightings are most common in the North-Western U.S., the creature is not exclusively a Pacific coast phenomenon; Sasquatch sightings are surprisingly frequent in the South, specifically in Texas and Louisiana, where he’s goes by a few unique local monikers (perhaps in an effort to differentiate the beast from his left-coast cousin): Call him a Skunk Ape, a Boogey, a Wild Man even—just don’t call him Bigfoot. Southern Fried Bigfoot is a documentary than may certainly lack the sensationalism of fictional cinema (and even other Sasquatch documentaries) but goes a long way towards legitimizing the creature’s existence while de-stigmatizing purported eyewitnesses.   While it falls far short from providing definitive proof, this one will even make the staunchest of skeptics take pause.

 

Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie (2008)

The next film on the list is also a documentary, but as the title suggests, this is not your “typical” Bigfoot Movie. The film follows Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton, two retired men from Appalachian Ohio who fancy themselves professional Bigfoot investigators. The film documents the expeditions and sometimes-rocky friendship between these men and they seek validation from their idol: “Famous” Sasquatch researcher C. Thomas Biscardi who reveals himself to be quite an asshole). While there’s definitely a comic element to the way the men are portrayed (specifically their inflated senses of self-importance), Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie is ultimately a poignant examination of human nature, where the search for Sasquatch parallels the search for meaning in this cold and complicated world.

 

The Wild Man of the Navidad (2008)

I know some Bigfoot fans out there are grumbling about all these recent films, feeling in your hearts that this type of horror movie peaked in the 1970’s, and that films like The Legend of Boggy Creek best exemplify this subgenre. Well, the filmmakers behind The Wild Man of the Navidad had you guys in mind when they produced this retro gem that’s almost indistinguishable from Bigfoot B-Movies from the Golden Age of drive-in theaters and weekend matinees. The story is supposedly culled from the real-life journals of Dale S. Rogers who, in the 1970’s, lived on the banks of the Navidad River in Sublime, Texas. While it’s never touched on in the film, the original legend of “The Wild Man” dates back to the 1800’s and it’s now commonly believed that the “creature” was an escaped slave.

 

SIDEBAR: All of the films on the second half of this list are in the Found Footage subgenre, and this can hardly be considered a coincidence. By the mid 2000’s, the Found Footage craze was in full effect, but there’s something very apropos about using this presentation for Bigfoot movies. It all harkens back to the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967 (referenced in the Introduction of this article) that shows a creature resembling Sasquatch sauntering across a riverbank in Bluff Creek, California. The picture is shaky and out of focus as Roger Patterson was running to catch up to the creature, and we only get a good shot of it for a few fleeting instances. Still, it’s these aspects that prove (according to some) that the encounter was unplanned and hastily recorded—and thus true. This is also the aesthetic employed in countless Found Footage films, where motion pictures are captured during tumultuous, often terrifying encounters with all manner of otherworldly beings.

 

Pursuit of a Legend (2010)

Pursuit of a Legend is a bare-bones Found Footage horror movie of The Blair Witch Project variety. A couple of aspiring television cryptozoologists decide to film a pilot in the Widjigo Woods of Washington State, where they hope to encounter a “Gentle Giant” in the form of Sasquatch. What they get is much more than they bargained for. Special effects are relatively nonexistent with hardly even a flash of the creature, but what makes this film a standout are the stellar performances of the leads; Steffen Dziczek and Chris Cantelmi act the fuck out of this movie! The viewers might not see Bigfoot, but we never doubt that the characters do, as we experience first their excitement and later—their abject horror.

 

Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012)

A disgraced journalist plots his comeback: Armed with a documentary film crew, he sets out to debunk a California hunter who purportedly possess an actual Sasquatch body. Frank Ashmore plays Carl Drybeck, the enigmatic outdoorsman claiming a connection to an entire community of Sasquatches. Many Found Footage horror movies take their time building up tension, but The Lost Coast Tapes has excellent pacing and top-notch suspense throughout, as well as a really crazy final twist. “The Lost Coast” refers to a remote area of Northern California that’s a hotbed of Bigfoot activity (according to enthusiasts). A sequel is currently in the works titled Bigfoot: Beyond the Lost Coast Tapes.

 

Embedded (2012)

Yet another investigative journalist finds himself in dire straits chasing a scoop in Embedded; this time, we’re in Montana where a news-team tags along with a posse of locals out to kill what they believe is a renegade bear. The script and acting sometimes drift into so-bad-it’s-good territory, which may be an intentional allusion to Bigfoot’s B-Movie glory days. Still, when Bigfoot does emerge late in Act Two, the filming and FX are jaw-dropping. This Sasquatch is mighty, stealth, and mad as hell—just an all-around bad-ass motherfucker!

 

Exists (2014)

Blair Witch writer/director Eduardo Sanchez knows that Bigfoot is the perfect subject for a Found Footage horror movie, going back to his roots with Exists. This time, those who cross the Sasquatch’s path are simply campers who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. And while all of these films subvert the idealized vision of Bigfoot as a “Gentle Giant”, this one actually communicates the creature’s violent motivations in a way that few are able. Yes, there are times when Exists feels almost like a Go-Pro commercial, but skillful storytelling and effective editing make for some excellent momentum. We’re treated to plenty of tantalizing glimpses of the creature throughout and rewarded with a final jaw-dropping money-shot, courtesy of the folks at WETA workshops.

 

Willow Creek (2014)

Willow Creek took some critical beatings this year (including right here at The Blood-Shed), perhaps suffering from comparisons to the critically praised crowd-pleaser Exists, which was also released in 2014; still, I thought this film was a brilliant and dark twist on established Bigfoot tropes. Yes, it’s super slow-burn, including a 10-minute uncut scene of a couple in a tent listening to noises outside, but these filmmaking tactics succeed at putting the viewers right there in the darkness alongside them; I was literally at the edge of my couch, holding my breath as I strained my ears. And while there’s not much in terms of creature FX, what we do see (or rather, the implications of what we see) are infinitely more disturbing, suggesting a rather depraved motivation for Bigfoot’s interactions with humans.

 

DIS-Honorable Mention: Dear God, No! (2011)

The trailer above is very NSFW. Dear God, No! is part of a recent wave of modern grindhouse films that draw inspiration from the violence, exploitation, and irreverence of the subgenre’s 1970’s hey-days. But in contrast to brilliant films like Death Proof and Hobo with a Shotgun, this one seems only to succeed in showboating the basest aspect of this already marginalized branch of cinema. I’m sure a lot depends on context; I’ve heard that Dear God, No! brought down houses when it was released regionally in some Southern States. I, however, attended a private screening in California that drove most of the audience from the room. The only undeniably redeeming parts of this film have to do with a Third Act cameo by my homeboy Bigfoot. It’s a portrayal that harkens back to the epic battle between Steve Austin and a Sasquatch played by Andre the Giant. If you’re a fan of Bigfoot and extreme grindhouse rape and violence, then (and only then) Dear God, No! is a movie worth your attention.

 

Epilogue: Valley of the Sasquatch (2015)

Official Synopsis: After losing their home following a devastating loss, a father and son are forced to move to an old family cabin. Neither reacts well to being thrown into this new world. The son’s attempts to relate to his father are complicated when two old friends arrive for a weekend of hunting. This trip into the forest will unearth not only buried feelings of guilt and betrayal, but also a tribe of Sasquatch that are determined to protect their land.”

vs

The Bigfoot legacy looks likely to continue into 2015 and beyond, and this cryptid connoisseur is looking forward to the release of Valley of the Sasquatch, produced by The October People (Found) and Votiv Films. This film is set to screen as part of the Nevermore Film Festival and Retrofantasma Film Series on February 20th. No trailer yet, but the synopsis and poster (above) look great!

 

What are your favorite Bigfoot movies? Let me know in the comments section!

And stay up to date with all the latest horror news, reviews, interviews, and more by liking us on Facebook HERE!

One Comment

Leave a Reply

*

*

  • Christian Cisneros
    2 March 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

    The Woodsman / Hombre Y Tierra (2012)

    http://www.hombreYTierra.com
    http://www.amazon.com/Woodsman-The-Maurice-Ripke/dp/B00FYWF4AA

    Mauro Bosque (Maurice Ripke – Prison Break, Angel Dog, Doonby) is a true adventurer: he loves adrenaline and extreme sports. Mauro and his producer, Chucho (Julian Guevara – Prison Break, Missionary Man), are about to shoot another episode of their outdoor extreme-reality internet show, “Hombre y Tierra.” This episode has Mauro hiking through some very dense and deep woods in search of some of the world’s most significant and extraordinary caves in the mountains of Belize.
    His journey began in January 2007. The reality show consists of Mauro videotaping himself looking for ancient ruins, or traces of long lost Mayan remains. But Mauro never returned from this trip.
    What took place in the mountains of Belize has been a mystery until now. The recent findings of Mauro’s lost tapes will reveal the pieces of this unusual unfinished puzzle and settle the truth once and for all.
    His journey began in January 2007. The reality show consists of Mauro videotaping himself looking for ancient ruins, or traces of long lost Mayan remains. But Mauro never returned from this trip.
    What took place in the mountains of Belize has been a mystery until now. The recent findings of Mauro’s lost tapes will reveal the pieces of this unusual unfinished puzzle and settle the truth once and for all

  • RELATED BY

    CLOSE
    CLOSE