Fouke, Arkansas is a rural community centered on agriculture, or at least it was in 1972. Miles upon miles of farmland were bisected by creeks, streams and woods with a dense impenetrable forest that marked the end of the town. Out in this quiet little corner of the United States lives the “Fouke Monster”. Presumably some relation to the Sasquatch or Yeti, though reportedly smaller and with only three toes. Little is known of this mythical creature except that every few years it wanders from its woodland home into civilization.
The Legend Of Boggy Creek (1972) is a docudrama of the encounters that the citizens of Fouke, Arkansas have had with this creature. It’s a film that was the passion project of Charles B. Pierce who produced and directed the film. Any subsequent film about Bigfoot or the like wears the influence of this little film on its sleeve.
Vern Stierman narrates The Legend Of Boggy Creek, linking the various episodes with his musings on the creature and life in Fouke over b-roll footage of wildlife or of the townspeople at work, hunting, or at play. It’s the immersion in a regional authenticity that is the most gripping. It’s clear early on that the footage of the creature is just some man in a cheap costume. What’s engaging is the place and the people who live there and share their stories about the creature with us.
The Legend Of Boggy Creek is pure Americana; it’s folklore in action. It has the texture of 16mm blown up to 35mm film stock which only adds to this effect. No one in this film looks like they weren’t born and raised in Fouke. The reenactments of different encounters with the creature are well shot and edited to obscure any explicit sightings. Charles B. Pierce is in the myth making business.
Tall tales and legends have always fascinated and the view of America as that last frontier persists therein. For that reason alone The Legend Of Boggy Creek is instantly engaging. Every small town has its ghosts and monsters which we all can relate to. Although The Legend Of Boggy Creek isn’t specifically a horror film it does engage us in a very similar fashion. We all wonder sometimes just what it is that we hear go bump in the night or move through the shadows.