As I’ve said before in previous articles on the subject matter, 2005 looks to be the year of the pissed off Bigfoot movie. I mean really pissed. We’re talking punching people’s hearts out and leaving a bloody trail of mutilated bodies pissed off. So far there are three movies set for release this year dealing with a homicidal Sasquatch. The most high profile production is Abominable, in which Sasquatch terrorizes Tiffany Shepis and a wheelchair bound Matt McCoy. Another got stuck with the dreadful title Sasquatch Hunters, which at the very least sums up what the plot is about. And then there is one simply entitled Bigfoot, in which a career soldier returns to his small Ohio hometown just in time for the title monster to start striking back at mankind in a most violent manner for destroying much of his beloved natural habitat. I first wrote about Bigfoot this past October.
Not long after that article appeared I found myself in was contact with Bob Gray, the man that wrote, directed, and even plays the town sheriff in Bigfoot. Gray spent much of the last 20 years directing television shows for such networks as E!, the Home Shopping Network, ESPN, and Fox Sports before deciding to unleash a psychopathic Sasquatch on moviegoers. I interviewed him about Bigfoot and in the process learned a valuable lesson about how one really needs more reliable equipment than I had when trying to conduct a phone interview, which is one of the main reasons why it took me two and a half months to get this interview finished. Anyway…
The Foywonder: So what made you say to yourself, “I think I’ll make a killer Bigfoot flick?”
Bob Gray: The reason I choose to make my Bigfoot a killer was that I was so sick of those gentle, misunderstood versions of Bigfoot. If there is a Bigfoot and he is part animal it would stand to reason that he might be violent. Also, I am very aware of the fact that horror is an easy sell both internationally as well as here in the states.
TF: Having seen a pic of your Bigfoot (which appeared in the original article I did) I must say it is quite impressive compared to many past movie Bigfoot creatures, most of which were meant to be less threatening.
BG: That image that appeared in your article was an unauthorized pic someone posted on the web. It wasn’t even my guy in the suit. The Bigfoot suit was specifically built to fit the actor I had for the role. If you go back and look at that pic it looked loose on him. Oh well, can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
I wanted my Bigfoot to be more like the Predator than Harry & The Hendersons. More muscular. Big and buff.
TF: And just a guy in a monster suit? No CGI?
BG: No CGI at all. I hate that! Everything looks like a video game these days.
TF: While Bigfoot sightings come from all over, the Pacific Northwest being the most prominent and widely regarded as his official stomping grounds, why did you decide to set your movie in Ohio?
BG: I picked Ohio because I am from here originally and very familiar with it. The area I grew up in is called Mentor Headlands. The Headlands is virtually an island with Lake Erie on one side and Mentor marsh on the other. The only way to get there is by one of two bridges leading into town. It is very picturesque and the community has been very supportive. Plus those tall cattails in the marsh are great for hiding a monster. They should make more movies there.
TF: Being this was an independent production I’m guessing the budget was quite small, correct?
BG: I would rather not get into the exact budget amount. However, I will say it was micro. But because of the cooperation I received from the city and others it easily looks like it cost a million bucks. The actual budget is so small that people just wouldn’t believe it.
I shot my film using a Cannon XL1S and film optic prime lenses, which was used to shoot 28 Days Later. Even before you give the video that film look process the footage looks really solid. I am very impressed and I can’t wait to see the new XL2 with 24p capabilities.
TF: How long was the film shoot?
BG: The film took two months to shoot. I could have done it quicker but we were real sensitive to everyone’s work schedule at their real jobs.
TF: There seems to be a Bigfoot movie resurgence all of a sudden, at least in the direct-to-video market. I know yours is just one of three upcoming flicks about Sasquatch.
BG: Yeah, I was hoping to have the only one of its kind on the market now, but what can you do? Their flick (Abominable) is more of a “Rear Window” thing. I don’t know. If you ask me you can’t have your hero in a wheelchair.
TF: One of the amazing things I read is that you actually managed to piss off the Bigfoot community, in particular, a fellow named Jon-Erik Beckjord, founder of Bigfoot.org and something of a lightning rod of xcontroversy even within the cryptozoology community.
BG: I kind of goaded them into it. He (Beckjord) sent me a letter expressing his concerns over my portrayal of Bigfoot. I wrote him back saying that I respected his opinion and that I wanted to do my part with the Bigfoot myth.
TF: “Myth” being the key word here. I’m sure he loved that.
BG: Like tossing bricks at a hive of killer bees. He sent e-mails to 2,000 other Bigfoot devotees trying to potentially organize a protest, boycott the film, contact the Hollywood Reporter to voice their complaints, and even potentially try to disrupt the film production itself. It just seemed so insane. But hey, any publicity is good publicity.
TF: Pissed off Bigfoot enthusiasts angry over the media’s refusal to take their subject matter seriously and angry over the portrayal of malicious Sasquatch in the movies sounds like it would make the subject of a great documentary if you ask me.
BG: Ha! It’s all cooled a bit since. However, some of the Bigfoot groups online have still been bitching about me.
TF: I know you began shopping the film around at the American Film Market a few months back. How’d that go?
BG: They went wiggy over the trailer. I got about eight different offers at AFM from the likes of Anchor Bay and Shoreline Entertainment. There’s a possibility it could get a theatrical release but more than likely it will go straight-to-video.
TF: Or a Sci-Fi Channel premiere?
BG: Uh, that was mentioned as well.
TF: So what is the current status of the film?
BG: I’ve been tracked down by three more companies over the last couple of weeks who want Bigfoot. The difference between AFM and now is the money is more substantial. I currently have over a dozen contracts and offers in front of me. I am about a week and a half away from having a really nice rough cut done. Then we start polishing it up for sale. Let the games begin.
TF: Sounds good. Any plans for a follow-up film?
BG: I have already begun writing a sequel, which begins shooting this summer.
TF: What should we expect from the second go round?
BG: Expect more blood and multiple Bigfoots.
TF: Taking a cue from the movie Aliens will the title be Bigfeet?
BG: I’ll just stick with Bigfoot 2 for now.
TF: I know you’ve probably already got a plotline in mind for the sequel but I just wanted to throw out an idea and get your opinion if that’s okay with you?
BG: Sure. Shoot.
TF: Bigfoot comes out of the woods and teaches a conservative small town to lighten up through dance. BIGFOOTLOOSE!
BG: Bigfootloose…Uh, yeah, sure, that’s a…That’s a great idea. Yeah. Aw, man, I’m just going to have to leave that one to you, my friend.
Well, I tried. Maybe I can sell that concept to Troma. Sounds right up their alley.
Seriously though, Gray was nice enough to send me a clip of the movie of Bigfoot in action, and I can assure you that this Sasquatch has definitely been taking some lessons from Jason Voorhees. Unfortunately, I can’t share that clip with you so you will all just have to wait until (presumably) later this year to see Bigfoot. But if you really want a taste of what’s to come and you have QuickTime, the rough edit promo trailer he ran at the American Film Market last year that got so much attention is now online right here. It’s definitely worth a look if for no other reason than it is probably the only Bigfoot movie trailer you’ll ever see set to the tune of Filter’s “Hey Man Nice Shot”.
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