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Sunday, August 10, 2014

REVIEW: In Search of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

Recently Vinegar Syndrome has been pumping out Peekarama double features. These are adult films from yesteryear, skillfully preserved and fully of classic star power, story lines and sex. I love 'em, but the reason I fell in love with Vinegar Syndrome was their Drive-In Collection even before I learned just how powerful their Blu-ray transfers were. Get ready for a new wave of non-adult features starting with our latest entry into the Drive-In Collection, In Search of Bigfoot and Cry Wilderness. Both of these star the BIG guy or at least are about Bigfoot. I have a definite favorite in this double feature showdown, but what you'll want to know first is whether this double feature is going to offer anything to the Bigfoot enthusiast (not the monster truck, the Sasquatch)? Yes. Each paints a picture of our beloved mystery creature, one in terms of a documentary and the other, a narrative involving a battle to that would rival only Harry and the Hendersons in the 80's for Bigfoot's life.


CRY WILDERNESS

From Vinegar Syndrome - A young boy befriends bigfoot, who instructs the boy to venture into the wilderness in order to save his father from impending danger.

Director: Jay Cohen

Okay, now this is the one I liked the best of the two movies featured in this double feature. I actually felt it was endearing and sort of... well... sweet. A boy makes buddies with Bigfoot and tries to save Bigfoot's life. I watched Harry and the Hendersons on repeat as a kid and just loved every stinkin' moment of it. When my kids rediscovered it recently, I adored that they DVR'd and rewatched just as I did when I was a kid. This one's from 1986  just like Harry and the Hendersons (give or take a year) and while the production value may not be as substantial and the star power less than John Lithgow, this is a well made PG movie for kids who like monsters that won't kill them or scare them. How does Bigfoot look? Bad, but given the fact that I still had an emotional charge even with the poor makeup job, I suppose you really have to chock this up to a budgetary misfortune rather than a creative decision. I think I will refer to Cry Wilderness as the Lassie TV Show of Bigfoot pictures.

Director Jay Cohen is responsible for directing the "Night Train" segment of Night Train to Terror which was one of my favorite releases of 2013 from Vinegar Syndrome. His credits don't extend much beyond that save for some producing work, but I've enjoyed both of his directorial efforts (though we can hardly call Night Train to Terror his). Also important to note that writer Philip Yordan also worked on Night Train to Terror and a movie we just discussed on our Dead Air podcast, The Unholy.

IN SEARCH OF BIGFOOT

From Vinegar Syndrome - In this sincere documentary, a team of bigfoot enthusiasts attempt to locate the mythical creature in the forests of Washington State.

Director: Lawrence Crowley / William Miller

Yes, this is a documentary from 1975 and it shows. The production value is a little shotty, and it drags on. That being said it is a time capsule piece. It's one of those movies that lets you know what people were filming in the 70's in regard to strange and unusual creatures. I can remember reading any number of monster compendiums that my father had collected before I was a stain on the mattress and most them seem to echo the familiar and legendary approach of the my of the Sasquatch. It's before it became a mythbuster style epidemic on TV where all docs on the Lochness Monster or Aliens was an attempt to disprove the existence of said creature.

It's good background fodder, and Cry Wilderness more than makes up for its slow pace. It's also possible that I'm not a big enough Bigfoot fan to really embrace this historic document. Director Lawrence Crowley also directed the Bigfoot documentary Bigfoot: Man or Beast? and produced the doc Mysteries Beyond the Triangle. William Miller was the Director on Mysteries Beyond the Triangle (which I am actually anxious to watch now as well as looking for copies of the Time Life books Mysteries of the Unknown) and he directed Cowboy Spirit in 2012... which is involves a guy having to make the "ride of his life" to save a dying girl. So apparently this filmmaking duo got board and decided to give it another go.

Features Include:

+ Dual-Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic & 1.33:1 Full Frame | MONO
+ Scanned in 2k (CW = 35mm Camera Negative / ISOB = 16mm Camera Negative)

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