Director/Screenplay/Producer – Charles B. Pierce, Photography – Shirak Khojayan, Music – Frank McKelvey, Creature Costumes – Bill Khopler. Production Company – Charles B. Pierce Pictures, Inc..
Charles B. Pierce (Dr Brian Lockhart), Chuck Pierce (Tim Thorton), Cindy Butler (Leslie Ann Walker), Serene Hedin (Tanya Yazzie), Jimmy Clem (Old Man Crenshaw), Rick (Rock) Hildreth (Deputy Williams), Don Atkins (Otis Tucker), James Tennison (Store Keeper), Charles Potter (Oscar Culpotter), Pat Waggner (Myrtle Culpotter), Charles Vanderburg (W.L. Slogan)
There are new reports of the Boggy Creek monster attacking. Dr Brian Lockhart heads to Texarkana with four of his students from the university, Tim, Leslie Ann and Tanya. Tracking down stories from locals, the group set up camp in the woods, determined to find evidence of the creature.
Charles B. Pierce (1938-2010) was an Arkansas-based filmmaker who had a steady career throughout the 1970s making films for drive-in audiences. (Although not born there, Pierce lived in Texarkana for many years). Pierce has great success with his first film The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972). Pierce then went onto direct two other horror films with The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) based on a true-life unsolved killing spree in Texarkana and the supposedly true-life The Evictors (1979). He also made other efforts such as the moonshiner comedy Bootleggers (1974), a number of Westerns, all with an Indian focus, including Winterhawk (1975), The Winds of Autumn (1976), Greyeagle (1977), Sacred Ground (1983) and Hawken’s Breed (1987), as well as the Lee Majors Viking drama The Norseman (1980).
Pierce’s greatest success was his first film The Legend of Boggy Creek, based on a local Arkansas Bigfoot legend, which he approached with a documentary-like realism, promoting the film as being based on a true story. Its’ success kicked off a spate of Bigfoot Films throughout the 1970s. An unofficial sequel was made with Return to Boggy Creek (1977) without Pierce’s involvement before he decided to return and make his own sequel here. Two further uncredited sequels came out after Pierce’s death with Boggy Creek (2010) and The Legacy of Boggy Creek (2011). In Boggy Creek II, Pierce also appears on screen as the academic who leads the expedition, while his son Charles Jr (billed as Chuck Pierce) plays the blonde-haired male member of the group and Pierce’s wife Cindy Butler plays one of the girls (the one whose impulse it is to get up and drive away in the Jeep).
For some reason, Boggy Creek II has a reputation as a Bad Movie – it turned up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1998-9, 2017- ) and even Pierce himself looked down on it. In watching it, I am trying to understand why. There is nothing about it that makes me want to give it a one or zero star rating.
The Legend of Boggy Creek was essentially a dramatised pseudo-documentary but lacking in much overall drama. When it comes to Boggy Creek II, Pierce drops the mock-documentary format and writes in characters and an actual story. The sequel still essentially does the same thing as the first film and there are various interludes where Pierce’s character tells the stories of other locals and their encounters with the monster.
That said, Pierce never quite cracked the matter of drama in his films. All of his films are very freeform in the sense that scenes run fairly much in any order – there is never much that dramatically drives the show. There are never any clearcut nemeses or villains in Pierce’s films (at least the ones that fall into genre material) – they are all shadowy figures like the Foulke Monster and the Texarkana Phantom Killer.
The problem here is that the characters spend time in the woods amid assorted running about and meeting various people but it never amounts to anything dramatic with the exception of the twist that comes in the last few scenes. Most of the film is about the group setting up camp, using the computer radar system, talking to locals – at most, an extended scene where the two girls decide to abandon the others and head to a motel in the Jeep only to become stuck in the mud.
There are occasional scenes throughout this where the monster turns up, resembling a giant ape covered in black hair. That said, it never much interacts with the characters – it just stands in the woods looking menacing. The creature effects are okay, although one suspects that the reason that Pierce hides it in the trees so much is that bringing it out into the light would have made it look far less effective.
There is nothing about the film I can say I had a problem with. If you think this is a bad film, I would urge you to take a look at some of the other Bigfoot films from this era. In an acting role, Pierce has a driven, tightly wound presence on screen and the others in the cast going okay performances. The film’s only real problem is that it consists of two acts building up that lead you to expect something before an ending that goes in a surprisingly different direction altogether.