Cryptid’s Paradise: 5 Disturbing Bigfoot Movies to Watch Now
Horror fans love the unknown. Whether that be cosmic horror, extraterrestrial terror, or something considerably more grounded, throw them a cryptic, mythic bone, and they’re going to be right there. Here on earth, it’s been Bigfoot who has dominated the public consciousness ever since the 1968 release of the Patterson-Gimlin film, a classic staple of cryptid folklore. In the short, the filmmakers allegedly capture genuine footage of Bigfoot, or some similar creature, alongside Bluff Creek in Northern California. Bigfoot, an ape-like creature, purportedly lives in the forests of North America, linking him to several other humanoids prominent in cryptozoology and folklore around the world. Naturally, that makes him the perfect springboard for cryptid terror, and here, we’ll be looking at five of the best Bigfoot horror movies out there. Get your tinfoil hats ready (really, there might actually be aliens out there in Canada).
This 2019 Epic Pictures release, playing now for free on the VA Media Horror Central Valentine’s Day Sucks live stream, works better than most by plopping a talented group of investigative researchers right into Bigfoot’s domain. In Matt Allen’s Hoax, a group of investigators enters the wilderness to determine whether a series of murders is truly, genuinely linked to one Bigfoot. At first, their steady investigation is technologically-sophisticated, adopting a more conventional filming style than most Bigfoot outings. Soon, all hell breaks loose, and the audience is left pondering if Bigfoot is really responsible for the deaths or whether there is something else out there killing crew members and reality television wannabes. With a gory drive-in feel, Hoax is anything but—it’s a hairy, bonafide treat.
Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek might well be the scariest Bigfoot movie ever made. Capitalizing on the same simmering, found footage approach that rendered The Blair Witch Project such a massive success, Willow Creek is a suggestive, frightening foray into the Bigfoot mythos. A couple looking to capture documentary footage on Bigfoot travel deep into the area where the Patterson-Gimlin footage was first recorded, hoping to have their own taste of the fuzzy Bigfoot pie. Opting to imply more than show, the true terror of Willow Creek lives on the periphery. While more modern horror fans might wish for a bit more visceral carnage, there’s little as terrifying as the midnight sounds of something big walking just outside your tent.
Speaking of The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez’s 2014 Exists, while considerably more conventional, still did enough right to earn its place in the cinematic Bigfoot canon. Here, a group of young adults on a camping jaunt to a cabin in the woods (take note, young adults, never camp, and never stay in a cabin) are unfortunate enough to stumble in Bigfoot’s domain. From there it’s a fight for survival as they endeavor to make it home before they’re all ripped to pieces. While Exists doesn’t have Sanchez’s trademark atmosphere, it has plenty of style to spare. A distinct approach to found footage terror, Exists might not be a masterpiece, but it’s a thrilling, visceral descent into the deep, dark woods.
I have very clear memories of catching Abominable on the SyFy network when I was younger. It was midway through, and in the early days of cable listings, I didn’t quite know what it was. The minute I saw a hairy, giant Bigfoot hand reach through a window and pull a naked woman through, however, I was hooked.
I wouldn’t revisit it until years later (when I actually knew what it was), though even after all that time, Abominable lost none of its B-movie thrills. With a stacked cast including Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen, and Matt McCoy, Abominable might well be conceptualized as horror royalty versus Bigfoot. A riff on Rear Window, McCoy’s Preston Rogers, a paraplegic, is the first to note a vicious Bigfoot is stalking the woods around his deceased wife’s cabin, but no one believes him. With genuine tension and plenty of grindhouse gore, Abominable is about as fun as Bigfoot gets.
Patrick Magee’s Primal Rage might not be explicitly about Bigfoot, but it’s as close as they come. A young couple driving through the Pacific Northwest are stranded in the woods with gun-toting locals, little clothes, and possibly a giant, humanoid beast stalking them. The beast, which locals refer to as the Oh-Mah, is kind of Bigfoot-lite. Where Primal Rage earns credit, however, is in its intense commitment to physicality and tactile terror. Characters are maimed, crushed, and thrown around like body bags. With the scale and Pacific scenery to match, Primal Rage is additionally uncommonly good-looking. While it’s a B-movie creature feature through and through, it does iterate stylistically on the formula, and for that Primal Rage is a primal delight.
Which Bigfoot horror movie is your favorite? Are you a bigger fan of the all-out spectacle or the more patient, haunting offerings? Let us know over on Twitter @ Dread Central, and remember—stay out of the woods!