One of the more unusual horror movies of the 70's, I finally saw this one recently, after years of hearing it praised both by cryptozoology fans and horror fans.
Here's the trailer:
You can find the whole film on YouTube just by typing in 'Legend of Boggy Creek Full Movie' if you want to watch it cheaply.
One thing has to be said up front. This is LOW-budget filmmaking here. It's a cheap movie, made on a shoestring budget of $100,000 - $150,000. It used mainly Fouke-area locals (some actual actors, many just local citizens willing to help out fellow local Charles B. Pierce in his cinematic and directorial debut. It looks like it was dragged through the Boggy Creek on its way to the film projector. Many of the shots are at night -- real no-light night, not the well-lit Hollywood kind, and correspondingly difficult to make out. It must have been an even bigger chore in the drive-ins it played in (and where collected $20-25 million in profit). The film has no real plot -- it swings from creepy pseudo-documentary to a Disney-esque nature film to a genuine based at least somewhat on reality horror movie with families being attacked or at least menaced by SOMETHING in the woods that can (gasp!) frighten a little kitten to death. It relies heavily on stock footage and some well-done folk music.
And yet for all those problems, it works. The direction and camerawork is rather well done. It nay be best in how it handles the monster. We never get a good clear look at it, just of a big hairy vaguely manlike 'something'. The locals deserve some credit too; they display genuine fear when the monster attacks their homes, and nothing about their actions seems staged. They are unashamed to admit on camera that when they ran into the whatever-it-was, they fled.
The story itself is rather simple. Back in the late 60's-early 70's, "something" started to terrorize the ranchers, farmers, and hunters of Fouke, Arkansas. It was nocturnal, was repeatedly heard screaming along the creeks, and killed animals ranging from hunting dogs (by tearing their skin off) to 100-pound pigs by strangulation.
It also scared the daylights out of the locals. We are shown several scenes of it prowling around the homes of various locals, screaming and growling as it kills pets and livestock and scares people to death. Three women in a house with a baby; a local hunter who has his dogs killed; a young boy hunting deer in the woods near his home; three teenaged girls having a slumber party (and who respond to the monster's shrieks outside by grabbing a high-powered rifle and getting ready to use it, while obviously scared the whole while), all get terrorized by the Fouke Monster. A local woman's kids burst into her home yelling about a "monster" they saw by the nearby woods. She humors them by going to look -- and runs right into it, right where the kids said it was.
None of these felt 'staged'. The people involved feel obviously scared. No one is shown engaging in action-hero heroics. They hunker down and hole up until help arrives.
The climax of the film is several nights of terror for two couples that move into a home less than 100 yards from Boggy Creek. The wives and kids hear someone prowling around outside. When a pair of cousins visit, one teenaged and one a boy, they go fishing and discover large footprints along the nearby creek. The husbands hear the 'prowler' too after returning from work, and they eventually get some help (and a shotgun) from the local sheriff, who tells them they have nothing to worry about as it's "probably" just a cougar that wants to eat one of the kids! Even one of the woman says, 'That's supposed to reassure us?'
However they soon learn this is no cougar when first of all, the cousin sees 'something' peering in the bathroom window as he attends to business. Then a hairy arm gets thrust right through an open window, nearly grabbing one of the women! Everyone panics and the three men rush outside to deal with the unwanted guest once and for all. Shotgun blasts ring out, joined by howling screams from the 'prowler'. The men then head out into the darkened yard to find their attacker, and when they do... It's easy to see how this scene must have scared people stiff back in the drive-ins, when you were sitting in a car with open windows and no idea who or what might be creeping around in the darkness.
Like I said before, for all its flaws this is an amazingly well-done movie. Charles Pierce knew how to pace the film and get quality performances from his actors while keeping them all recognizable. If you've ever lived in a rural area, you'll 'get' a lot of what you see and how these people act. It feels real and that puts it head and shoulders above at least 90% of most horror films.
Note that I cant say anything good about the "sequels" other than you can not watch them. They all fell short of the original, very much so.
If you want to now more about the movie, Fouke and its people, and the monster, check out this site: www.foukemonster.net/index.htm
Best all and happy movie watching.