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I would like to meet Bigfoot. Not for creepy internet reasons, just to say what's up. I think if the big, hairy homie popped out one day when I was hiking alone, it would say a lot about the kind of vibes I was putting out--If it didn't kill me or rip off my dick of course. At this point, where there is less and less natural landscape left out there, I'm guessing, staying hidden is a considerable priority for yeti-kind. Without a doubt, humans are probably the number one threat to the squatch's livelihood. Saying hello to me would be a huge risk, and I know that. The notion wouldn't be taken lightly or for granted, (just in case you are reading this Mr. Foot). Part of me can get behind the whole being hairy, dirty, and chilling in the forest idea. It's not something I actually could do, but I admire it. Personally, I have trouble sleeping without a TV playing old sci-fi and struggle to grow lip hair as I fly through my thirties. It's fantastic that Bigfoot is out there living that life and I want to tell him in person. It's been an aspiration of mine for a while, sadly I have had no luck (despite looking as friendly as possible whenever I'm the forest). Mummies are pretty cool too, although I don't really look up to them as much. The focus on sleep is a positive, but everyone likes naps and waiting around in a box for years does nothing for me. Also, I could probably pass on being introduced to a walking piece of royal jerky as well, (no offense if you're reading this). As far as my life-goals (as mentioned earlier) are concerned, it’s a nonissue though, because while there is a variety of mummified corpses in the world and several brands of ape-man-things supposedly lurking around, there isn't much overlap. By most accounts, the two are entirely different entities altogether. Unless we are talking about Curse of Bigfoot (1975).
While making its best impression of an educational program, the film opens with broad insight into man and monster biology spanning several thousand years. According to the narrator, before the balding, pants inclined homo sapiens came along, our ancestors walked the Earth as ugly, mutant bipeds that went around growling at each other and eating stuff. As time rolled on, the bulk evolved into early humans, but a few stuck around to creep in the shadows and possibly chow down on some meeker bipeds. As this is explained, we are treated to a few glimpses of a fuzzy specimen sprinting through the brush or juicing a caveman on a pointed rock. Next, we head to a classroom where highschool teacher Mr. Whitmore (Augie Tribach) is teaching cryptozoology to his pupils (70s kids were fucking Lucky). After spewing some freeform factoids their way, he welcomes his moody guest speaker to the podium, Bigfoot expert and former educator Dr. Bill Wyman (Bill Simonsen). Shifting the tone in the room with an explosive demeanor, Dr. Bill starts by gravely declaring that the yeti is real. He then explains that fifteen years ago, while on a field trip, some kids lost their minds, and it's all the "man-apes" fault. Our narrator then takes over (maybe the doctor got too worked up to tell the story), and we learn that the stunted evolutionary cousins he mentioned earlier had become "Bigfoot" and also served as inspiration for a bulk of the mysterious creature sightings or folklore throughout history. Despite some past slip-ups, the hairy dude is doing its best to stay out of humanity's way. Unfortunately, as more land is excavated or explored, there is less to hide in, and soon the species will be uncovered whether it wants to or not. Once that concept has been established on somewhat shaky terms, and the industrial stock footage is spent, the story heads back to 1956 as a younger, less damaged Dr. Bill is taking his class out for some hands-on archaeology. That's when the furry mummy wakes up. Also, the local authorities get involved, and that's never a good look for a school-sanctioned activity.
  Curse of Bigfoot is a tame, schlocky creature flick that has been carelessly recorded over a  partially rewound antiquated school science tape. The first chunk of the film heaps on a ton of information about the world of monsters and takes a hard look at the lumber industry's effect in regards to the human-cryptid relationship. It can seem like an excessive amount of filler, but I assure you it's imperative. Without this primer, things would get confusing around the point when everyone suddenly stops saying "Bigfoot" and starts using the term "mummy." Once enlightened to some facts about how the universe works, the correlation makes sense. Namely, that all legendary creatures are just misidentified yetis. Apparently, Mr. Whitmore knows this, because his class seems to be about anything from griffins to werewolves, in quick succession. The move into mummy adventure isn't so much abrupt as it is brazen and surreal. Instead of a segue, poor Bill Wyman says he's going to start his story from the top--the narrator comes on and does his demented Carl Sagan thing instead, and before you know it a whole new movie has begun. The more substantial portions plot contents are standard monster stuff-- assholes awaken the big bad guy, that “thing” fucks shit up, and finally there's a knockout by an epic battle as the townspeople cheer. There's a little bit of American pre-Code horror influence inside, next to The Thing from Another World (1951) and wrapped together like a Don Dohler flick (minus the aliens and love-- add in artifacts). As far as flashbacks go, it's quite a ride, but if that's the tale Dr. Bill is referring to, he must have suffered some brain damage during the ordeal.
  I don't want to ruin any of the magic (sarcasm is weird in text), but Curse of the Bigfoot didn't begin as a Bigfoot movie at all. Originally, the display of irresponsible high school trespassing, which makes up the last hour, was an aptly titled shorter film, Teenagers vs. The Thing.  That prototype version was finished and essentially shelved in 1959 (or 63 depending on who you ask). Like the title and the monster (and everything else) implies, the original plot had nothing to do with ape-folk and instead featured a reanimated, ancient, desert-corpse persevered for freshness. In the 70s, the director Dave Flocker (or maybe the writer/brother) presumably pulled the reel out of his sock drawer and sought out a distributor. To market the twenty-something-year-old project as a full feature, and possibly freshen up his flick for the new era, he cobbled an all-new thirty minutes of additional content. The original material was repurposed as a flashback, and Bill Simonsen came back to play the same character, aged in real-time (take that Richard Linklater). This new footage (in somewhat murky terms) transformed the films "thing" into the fabled big-footed one, or maybe one of his (our?) ancient relatives. Though the creature does not look like a mummy or a Bigfoot and more resembles a werewolf made of moss and fried eggs, it worked well enough for a television broadcast in 75. Coincidently, there were several other Bigfoot films released around that time, but any scheming was less than expertly executed. The Boggy Creek style faux documentary is attached to a much older backyard creature flick with little done to form one narrative. There is a giant spider's web of connected ideas, but it only serves to make things weirder as the film goes on. The crazed composition of pseudoscience and logical leaps would only realistically make sense if told by someone holding a cardboard sign covered in shakey marker script. There was probably a more straightforward way to bulk up the original project for release. Except then, we wouldn't have a yeti centered theory unifying biology, myth, and man's environmental impact.
As far as the technical quality, there are too many interesting aspects to list, and pointing them out yourself is ninety percent of the charm. Essentially, it's the result of two very low budget films from different eras played back to back. This circumstance allows production to capture the signature values of 50s cheese with an opener of drugged up 70s insanity. The elongated intro is a salad of stock footage, obscure angles and fresh content filmed on the cheap. It's rushed enough to make the remainder feel thought-out by comparison, and the editing turns the fictional biology lesson into a ransom letter made of babble. The rest of the film is an exercise in haphazard drive-in ambition on an endearing, dinner theater budget. There are at least three completely different arts & crafts abominations running around in this film, all labeled as "Bigfoot." The first one was supposedly our common ancestor from long ago, and so some change in appearance could be expected. That doesn't, however, explain why the mummified version the kids found transforms at random. The second one rocks an evil zombie carved out of soggy molded wood motif, while the replacement has a style closer to a bear corpse left in the fridge for too long. They don't even look like the same species, and not one of these things resembles a mummy or Bigfoot. I could possibly accept that they were all from the same paper mache planet, but that's as far as I'm reaching. Although filmed entirely in daylight, the movie makes due for night scenes with cricket noises and a campfire. It's worth a few laughs, and I honestly applaud the choice over a noisy black screen. For better or worse, this doomed nature walk is sleaze free. Early on, somebody screams while dumping Ragoo on a rock, and there is some wet cardboard violence, but the film is nearly squeaky clean-- content-wise anyway. All the humans involved expertly enunciate their lines, invoking ham through sixty years of half-assed transfers and grain. I'm talking crap, but it makes every bit of the nonsense enjoyable on some level. The shit that comes out of their mouths could have been made from a rejected Johnny Quest episode if they had cared less about the ancient culture ruins they were "exploring." Partnered with the exaggerated, vintage delivery, the long-winded, often pointless dialog is unintentional comedy in raw form. It's easily my favorite part and still gets at least a few giggles from me after repeat viewings. On a side note, some of the dubbing is a little wonky, which all things considered, is minor here. I only mention this because they could have at least switched out some of the "mummy"s for "Bigfoot"s when they tacked on the new shit. Never mind. You know what? It's perfect how it is.
The script is written by the director’s brother James T. Flocker who reportedly put in some time as the "mummy" as well.  James took to directing it himself while Teenagers Battle the Thing sat shelved and was working on his second feature when Curse aired in 1975. There is some grey area when it comes to who did what behind the scenes, with only unsourced or contradicting accounts to go off of. Either way, all of the uncredited secondary cast had previously worked on James' director debut Ground Zero in 1973 and seemed to be a tight-knit crew, collaborating in a variety of combinations until the early 90s. The official-ish credits for final release have been carried over from the original short film and omit a good number of the faces that show up. Teaching class, in the beginning, is Augie Tribach who had a small hooded role in Ted V. Mikels' Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1973). In attendance is Debbie (Jackey Neyman Jones) from the infamous (more mentioned) Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966). For the characters with identities, local auditions were held before the 1950s production, none of the hired actors list film work outside of this films two titles. From the initial group, Bill Simonsen returns to play the same character in the prolog only older and more depressed. He fucking nails it and not just because he's actually been aging for fifteen years. I hope at least that some of the sadness was an act.
I wouldn't call Curse of Bigfoot the worst in Bigfoot or mummy cinema. It's probably up there in both categories for missing its mark so aggressively, but it is surprisingly common to find an incompetent flick in those subgenres. In fact, unless my memory is failing me, it is the greatest petrified Sasquatch film, I have had a chance to enjoy so far. The loose definition of each classic creature is probably going to leave anyone jonesing for a faithful dose of either concept unsatisfied. Plus, its a complete fuck-mess of dried up corn, insane logic, and lazy-ass editing. But having said all that, it is an excellent source of recycled b-movie hijinks and an overall blast to sit through. Sadly, the spiritual connection I usually get is absent from this particular (supposed) yeti family tree branch. I'm still glad that big-mummy-foot exists, for several reasons, but I'm also entirely okay with never telling the abomination in person. 
1h 28min | 1975
Director: Dave Flocker
Writer: James T. Flocker

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Teenager Battle the Thing IMDB
Teenager Battle the Thing At the Internet Archive

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