Bigfoot is my bro. While reports of an enormous and elusive bipedal hominid are an ancient and worldwide phenomenon, Bigfoot is nonetheless a staple of North American crypto-mythology—especially on the West Coast. As a life-long resident of California and an avid camper, I’ve always felt a close connection to the mysterious creature; whenever I find myself enjoying the woods and mountains of my state, I always keep an eye out for Bigfoot.
With the release of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film in 1967 (touted by many as the closest thing to definitive proof that the creature exists), America experienced what can rightfully be called Bigfoot Mania. An entire industry was established around the creature, one that included t-shirts, toys, and a plethora of films and TV shows, most notably The Legend of Boggy Creek in 1972.
And while it may seem like Bigfoot Mania has diminished over the years, a cursory look at our modern horror landscape proves quite the opposite; according to the IMDb, around 70 Bigfoot films have been released since the year 2000, with a noticeable spike around 2006 (this includes theatrical and made-for-TV movies, straight to DVDs, short films, and documentaries). So while he may seem like a throwback, Bigfoot is in fact one of the most popular monsters of this, or any, age and an icon in the truest sense.
The films below represent the best Bigfoot-centric horror movies of the 21st Century. They remind us that it’s best to tread lightly when we venture off the beaten path. Enjoy!
While Bigfoot movies usually target a relatively small (but rabid) subset of horror connoisseurs, Abominable is a film with vast appeal. It’s a creature feature and a comedy, but it’s also a deeply nuanced story that plays out like a reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. The beasts are shown often and in all their glory, and the gore is plentiful; a scene where a creature bites into a man’s skull like an apple is especially satisfying. What really makes Abominable a must-see for horror fans, though, it’s a movie-stealing interlude that features Lance Henriksen and Jeffrey Combs as hillbillies hunters, sitting around a campfire, talkin’ S’quatch.
Love in the Time of Monsters (2014)
While many Bigfoot movies set out to be scary and fail, some of them find success in “so-bad-it’s-good” circles where they’re viewed as comedies. Love in the Time of Monsters, however, never tries to be anything except funny as hell—and it succeeds in spades! For side-splitting fits of laughter, you can’t do much better than a zombified Kane Hodder in a Bigfoot outfit shooting electricity from his fingers. Intrigued? You should be! In addition to being fucking hysterical, Love in the Time of Monsters is smart and endearing with characters who actually become less two-dimentional as the film progresses. Best of all, you don’t have to be a fan of Bigfoot movies to dig this sleeper—or is it a future cult classic?
Southern Fried Bigfoot (2008)
While Bigfoot sightings are most common in the Northwestern U.S., the creature is not exclusively a Pacific Coast phenomenon; Sasquatch sightings are surprisingly frequent in the South, specifically in Texas and Louisiana, where he goes by a few unique local monikers (perhaps in an effort to differentiate the beast from his left-coast cousin): Call him a Skunk Ape, a Boogey, a Wild Man even—just don’t call him Bigfoot. Southern Fried Bigfoot is a documentary that may lack the sensationalism of fictional cinema (and even other Sasquatch documentaries), but it goes a long way towards legitimizing the creature’s existence and de-stigmatizing purported eyewitnesses. While it falls far short of providing definitive proof, this one will make even the staunchest of skeptics take pause.