The Bigfoot Filmography: Fictional and Documentary Appearances in Film and Television

I wish THE BIGFOOT FILMOGRAPHY were as compelling as the amateur home-video footage that made the cryptid such a pop-culture phenomenon. David Coleman certainly has the passion for the project — and at first glance and a hold in your hands, the book’s thickness and heft promises a lot — but the end result is less than enthralling. Kinda like so many of the movies it catalogues.

Arranged in alphabetical order, the paperback gives ink across all genres, from drive-in efforts like SNOWBEAST to Hammer’s THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN and greasy kids’ stuff like HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS, as well as TV appearances like the epic bionic showdown with THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN.

But when you’re including hot dog commercials and their ilk, does the word “filmography” even apply anymore? For the exhaustive obsessives, the answer certainly would be “yes,” but then, why so many obvious missing entries? While flipping through looking for them, several popped up in my head: Where is the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 episode that skewers BOGGY CREEK II? Spider-Man’s tussle on THE ELECTRIC COMPANY with the yeti who sat on sno-cones?

The many photos are appreciated, but the grave factual errors — not typos — are not. For example, Coleman insists on referring to THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR as THE MUMMY 3, even filing the film as such. At no point after filming was the 2008 sequel even given that simplistic numeric moniker.

I also enjoyed background on the films’ making, when included; obviously and understandably, some get more exposure than others. Interviews with a select few Bigfoot filmmakers in the appendix go a long way in offering information one can’t find anywhere else.

But the same cannot be said for beat-by-beat, top-to-bottom plot descriptions. Those annoy me to no end. At least skipping them allows the reader to move through the pages to get to the real meat faster. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

RSS feed

3 Comments »

Comment by Dave Coleman
2012-02-21 12:04:51

Hi Rod,

Sorry you didn’t enjoy the book. Of course, it’s truly written as you fairly point out for the serious Bigfoot cinema fan, not as much for an admitted non-fan as yourself.

Still, every author wishes to be both factually correct and as complete as possible, especially when this is, as you mention, the entire reason for the filmography. So herein I thank you for the additions, and as well for kindly pointing out the typographical errors re: ‘The Mummy 3′ (oops, there I go again!). After literally years of dedicated research and almost as much in actual writing times, every correction, whether factual or not, helps for future updated editions.

I do have one objection to your otherwise thoughtful review: objecting to the beat-by-beat descriptions. I think as you state it is easy enough to skip over these, as they are clearly delineated as being set apart by typeset design. Remember, while you may “annoy you to no end” they are, in fact, quite finite and designated not to annoy you, truly, but for researchers who do not have access to these rare films, many of which took truly Herculean efforts for me to view even once.

The odds of others having the time and dedication to see all the rarities cataloged in ‘The Bigfoot Filmography’ would be rather uselessly spent, for example, if plot descriptions free from editorial content are what one is seeking (and this of course is what most who purchase such a book are in fact desiring to obtain). Naturally, I wish the format itself didn’t annoy you, per se; I am hoping of course it is not my writing style, in essence, but the simple fact a filmography often uses such formatting.

And in fact, as a film researcher, I can atest that while boring to read, they are extremely valuable for tracking down further information on rare movies, etc. So I wish to at least point out the style, however annoying, does have serious academic research value (unless of course my writing manner puts the reader to sleep — let’s hope not!). ;-)

Anyway, my thanks for your review. While we differ greatly in opinion about the relative strengths and weaknesses of my effort (and naturally, at that!), I find no fault in any honest review.

Best wishes,

Dave Coleman, Author
The Bigfoot Filmography

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Christopher
2012-02-21 12:36:34

I think that when Rod categorizes HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS as “…greasy kids’ stuff…”, it really calls his critical faculties into question…

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Dave Coleman
2012-02-21 13:15:51

p.s. I almost forgot. Technically, Rod, the Patterson-Gimlin footage (which you are I am surmising referencing when you write “…as the amateur home-video footage that made the cryptid such a pop-culture phenomenon”) wasn’t, of course, “home-video” but 16mm film, as my book points out.

I know this can seem minor, but it’s important that the distinction be made, as video is much more easy to manipulate than was the technical format of motion picture film production as a medium in its era (until the c.g.i. advent, which is my point). The veracity of the Patterson-Gimlin footage, in short, would be nowhere nearly as controversial if shot on videotape, as this would have offered the ability for anyone with a PC and a free special effects software program to create trickery Roger Patterson could not have dreamed of creating on his non-budget as a rodeo cowboy (however much his wealthy father-in-law may have financed his efforts).

Again, context is important, otherwise the Patterson-Gimlin footage is not properly understood from a historical viewpoint. The “why” it was so famous/infamous is, in short, partly based on the medium of production, as it was “harder to fake” than video. Hence its enduring contribution to the genre.

Also, I believe when you remark “…when you’re including hot dog commercials and their ilk, does the word ‘filmography’ even apply anymore?” It’s a very good point, actually, and I wish to acknowledge McFarland’s creation of this title finally, even if you validly call it technically into question. Their eloquent solution, however, was so much less wordy and unclear as my own attempts, I am actually quite grateful for their moniker.

To answer the question posed, however: yes, filmography applies entirely. And appropriately. A filmographic record is after all what most of the critiqued films (and a majority are movies) are truly are, by literal title. A graphic (i.e. written) record of the movie. This again goes back (somewhat) to your objection to the “beat-by-beat” plot description, but I defend the form as a writer of filmography because I believe it is what rightfully separates it from review. A review may contain plot descriptions, but rarely without the editorial slant on the very description itself. My intent was to objectively and academically render the descriptions with the most objectivity I could manage. My intent, however, clearly didn’t meet your expectation, a point of fair distinction.

And a final note about this statement. To my knowledge, there is no “hot dog commercial” posited in the book! I think you may mean the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky commercials herein, but I am unsure. But if so, I would simply say, commercials are a kind of film. And they are certainly relevant (in my opinion, mind you!) to the genre of Cine du Sasquatch, in that they are integral to the genre’s construction (for reasons I will thankfully leave to any interested reader to ascertain in my admittedly “obsessive” book!). ;-)

My sincere thanks for allowing me to respond, openly and honestly, Rod. It’s what makes the Internet great, and what makes being a writer so much fun. Decades ago? One was lucky if a rare fan letter arrived now and again. But today? I can engage in fun, enlightening dialogue with folks like yourself, even when they don’t totally “get” nor like what I’ve written.

Sure, I’d love to win over every critic, but know what? It’s much more interesting reading your honest opinions. Every writer I know dreams of causing a reaction; even a so-so reaction is better than indifference, after all. ;-)

My thanks for allowing me to ‘troll’ — the reactions are great fun to read!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.