In the hallowed anals of exploitation cinema, few genres are as controversial as Squatchploitation.
The problem, really, is twofold.
First off, next to dogs, baseball, and perhaps Kari Wuhrer, America’s love of Sasquatch is unparalleled. So, if you dare commit something so sacred to celluloid, you best be damn sure to do the material justice. I wouldn’t put pitchforks and Tiki Torches past the more hysterical Bigfoot aficionados.
Secondly, from which narrative spindle should the tale be woven? The “fish out of water” method is tried and true, but honestly, a bit overdone. Should you team Bigfoot with Michael Rooker and make them cops? Inventive, if a bit kooky. How about if Sasquatch was rich, lived in a gated community, and took in a poor urban child as his own? They could share life lessons, overcome cultural differences, and perhaps share a good laugh along the way; preferably with condescending overtones at the expense of minorities, if at all possible. No, that’s Sandra Bullock’s job.
Let’s take a more historical perspective. Many acclaimed directors tried their hand at Squatchploitation. The results, to put it mildly, have been mixed.
In 1976, Harry Winer took the documentary route with THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT. It was basically performance art, featuring a geriatric gentleman traipsing about the countryside in search of the titular creature, yet finding everything but. The less-informed viewer might consider this film to be rather dull, and perhaps even the word “shitty” may be evoked, but I prefer “introspective.” Winer later directed SPACECAMP…which has nothing to do with anything.
1981 gave us THE GEEK…
Yeah, let’s skip that.
William Dear found commercial success in 1987 with HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. It was a safe bet, using the aforementioned “fish out of water” premise, but nothing that truly resonated with the audience. The film was merely empty calories, providing little sustenance to America’s aching heart. Kevin Peter Hall could only be expected to do so much.
TO CATCH A YETI dropped in 1995. It starred rock sensation Meat Loaf as Big Jake Grizzly, a legendary tracker and hunter, hired to find and capture Bigfoot (who, in this film, looked like a cross between a Monchichi, a Mogwai, and the Seed of Lucifer himself). The film was labeled a “comedy,” though actual laughs proved elusive.
Finally, in 2011, William Burke finally found a winning formula with SWEET PRUDENCE AND THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT, and in this humble critic’s opinion, it is only a matter of time before America will fall in love.
After a botched expedition to photograph the Loch Ness Monster, Prudence and her friends happen upon a rare opportunity to not only shed some light on another legendary creature enveloped in secrecy and intrigue, but also reestablish their credibility within the Cryptozoological community.
They head to the Cottontail resort, where gossip has reached a fever pitch surrounding several sightings of a mysterious ape-like creature. With personal redemption-and perhaps scientific history-at stake, Prudence embarks on a dangerous journey into the unknown, armed with only a camera, her thermos, and a winning smile.
Idyllic landscapes lushly photographed; characters you not only root for, but identify with; and a narrative fantastic in all senses of the word: SWEET PRUDENCE AND THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT is a cinematic tour de force.
Remember the first time you saw JURASSIC PARK? Specifically, the scene when John Hammond takes Dr. Grant and his cohorts on a tour of the grounds, and we are first introduced to various dinosaurs making their way across the vast plateau?
Sure you do. Why? Because you shit your fucking pants.
Well, my friends, prepare to shit your pants all over again.
SWEET PRUDENCE AND THE EROTIC ADVENTURE OF BIGFOOT is the film you’re been waiting for. Perhaps all your life.