COMPANY: The Asylum
RUNTIME: 88 mins
PLOT: When a Bigfoot attacks an 80s-themed music festival, a concert promoter and a hippie burnout that are at odds with each other both set out to bring in the creature.
REVIEW: We're coming up on the final movie of what SyFy has been calling 'The Most Dangerous Month On Television', which has been made-up of the four weekly Original Movies starting with Jersey Shore Shark Attack, continuing with Piranhaconda and Arachnoquake, and now ending things off with Asylum's furry-Hulk-starring creature feature Bigfoot. And oh boy, what a month this has been – I don't think I've ever before had such a busy month filled with so much excellent cheese and B-Movie goodness. I don't even know what I'm going to do with my spare time after this, when the Original Movies slack off a bit and go back to having only one or two a month – don't get me wrong, it'll be nice to have a little breather, but I've been spoiled by having so many great new B-movies in such quick succession this month, hahaha.
Much like with Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Arachnoquake, this one will not only be airing on SyFy at 9pm Eastern on the night of June 30th, but also in Canada on the Space Channel as well; I love the fact that Space here in Canada is airing more and more of these movies at the same time as SyFy. I'd also like to thank the Space Channel once again for sending the screener of Bigfoot my way for early review – they've been a big help this month with providing me early screeners for many of the SyFy Original Movies, and without them I wouldn't have been able to have nearly as many reviews posted to the blog this month. What's a bit odd to me though, is that Bigfoot (still think it deserves a less generic and more cheese-filled name) is a bit of a strange pick to end off a month of summer B-movies for the simple fact that it actually takes place in the winter, with lots of snow and winter weather abound in it. Kind of an odd choice to have a month filled with movies that take place along the beaches of the Jersey Shore, in the hot jungles of Hawaii, or in the humid swamp lands of New Orleans, to then finish it all off with a movie that takes place in the winter, with snow storms and the like.
Anyway, this one plays off of the real-life rivalry between two classic TV legends by bringing in Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family and Barry Williams from The Brady Bunch. Danny Bonaduce plays a local small-town legend radio show host that hires a construction crew to clear a ton of forest land so they can make room for an upcoming 80s-themed music festival, with the intent of bringing back classic 80s rockers such as Alice Cooper and Sting (only one of which appears in the movie). That construction however, is cutting into the Sasquatch's home turf and disturbing it, causing the creature to be very angry and hostile, and thus the events of this movie take place due to that. Barry Williams plays the leader of a group of hardcore environmentalists that are willing to go to extreme lengths to protest this deforestation (and then later in the movie, they also run a 'Protect Bigfoot' campaign). As you can imagine, this becomes grounds for plenty of great tension-filled confrontations between these two characters, with tons of winks and nods to real-life stuff regarding the two of them.
If this all sounds a tad familiar, well that's because there was a similar rivalry between 80s teen singers Debbie Gibson and Tiffiny in a previous Asylum/SyFy movie titled Mega Python vs Gatoroid. Hell, there's even a similar brawl between these two guys that has a hilarious initiation that I won't spoil here, though sadly it didn't go on for as long as the one between Gibson and Tiffany did in Mega Python vs Gatoroid. This one was really quite short and not at all as fulfilling, but it still had a couple hilarious moments during it. Actually, it's pretty clear that Asylum intended this as a non-sequel follow-up to Mega Python vs Gatoroid, due to the massive amounts of similarities between the two, so I'm not really sure why SyFy and Asylum aren’t promoting this movie nearly as well as they did with that one – For Mega Python vs Gatoroid they had the two leading ladies go through the press circuit and make their interview rounds with several websites and well-known magazines, as well as host the movie the night of its airing, have a one-night-only theatrical screening of which they were in attendance, as well as had both of them release new song Singles to go along with the movie. This time around, none of those things are present for Bigfoot. Anyway, rounding out the main cast is the stereotypical small town Sheriff that these movies always have. This one is played by Sherilyn Fenn of Twin Peaks fame, who is only temporarily taking up the role of Sheriff from her recently-deceased father, until they find someone to take the job full-time. She's in the movie quite a bit (just as much as Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams) but regardless, she still doesn't really have a whole lot to do here.
Of course, you can't talk about the cast of a movie called Bigfoot without mentioning the title creature itself, as it plays just as much of a character in the movie as anybody. In regards to that, what will become clear very early-on for those who are not already familiar with The Asylum, is that they are certainly no masters of subtlety; They show off the hairy Hulk in all it's full-on rage and glory not even 60 seconds into the movie. No build-up or anything, just boom, there it is, standing tall and roaring loud. And good GOD, does it stand tall. Very tall. The Asylum cranked this creature's size up to max and completely super-sized it – not one word of a lie, the Bigfoot in this movie is pretty much just about the same size as King Kong. Even when he walks, the ground trembles and his footsteps sound like the footsteps of the Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park. Considering its gigantic size, loud walking, and its penchant for constant rage-roaring, I find it amazing that these creatures are still only myth and have gone so long unnoticed. Then again, maybe it goes so long unnoticed because the damn thing brutally kills any witnesses; There's even one scene where it takes out an entire construction crew in a matter of seconds – Sasquatch don't play around. As for how it looks...weeellll...the CGI is up and down. There are some shots were it looks excellent while there are other shots where it looks horrible (especially towards the end). If anything, I'd say the CGI model itself looks great, but it just doesn't interact with the physical real world stuff very well at all and looks terrible when it tries to. One thing in regards to the CGI that I was surprised with though, and I also greatly appreciated, is there was this one scene where the Sasquatch is rampaging through the town and a tank fires upon it. From that scene on, the creature's face is badly burned and it's missing patches of fur from its upper body. That's more detail then is usually put into these things, and even though a lot of the CGI was pretty bad, I can still really appreciate the effort for that bit of continuity.
Another bit that surprised me was the fact that the 80s-themed music festival that all the promos mention as being the center of the movie, actually happens pretty early-on, and in the end had very little impact on the movie itself. In Mega Python vs Gatoroid, the main event of the movie was built up to gradually over the course of the movie and happened towards the end (as they so-often do in these movies), so I never once for a second even considered that this movie would be any different. Surprisingly, by 30 minutes in, the two leads have it out between one another several times, make-up and get along for a short period of time, have it out again that will last the rest of the movie, the music festival starts, and Hulkfoot (as I like to refer to the monstrously oversized and rage-filled Sasquatch as) interrupts by going on the expected rampage and killing half the concert-goers, which included my two favorite deaths of the movie – one via a falling port-a-potty and the other gets ripped in half by the Sasquatch. Also, it's during this scene that Alice Cooper cameos as himself, as a special guest at this outdoor concert, and of course he doesn't last long once Bigfoot shows up. Yes, I know, I know, this movie follows all the same beats and even some of the same jokes as Mega Python vs Gatoroid, but if a certain formula works well then why screw with it? Plus Alice Cooper's hilarious face-off with Bigfoot here was such a better moment then when Micky Dolenz bit it in the other movie. He may only be on-screen for a moment or two, but Alice Cooper totally steals the entire movie during that brief time.
The remaining hour of the movie consists mostly of Danny Bonaduce and a group of hunter friends trying to hunt down and kill Bigfoot (and then later switching to trying to capture it alive to make them rich by turning it into a tourist attraction), Barry Williams and his group of environmentalists trying to protect and save Bigfoot (and later trying to capture it to transport it to a nature preserve), continuing confrontations between those two characters, the military arriving and setting up a perimeter around the town to protect them against further Bigfoot rampages (which, shocker, doesn't work well), some not-so-smart residents venturing into the forests to try to get pictures and videos of Bigfoot to put online or sell, and of course Bigfoot itself continuing to rampage around - first through the forests, then back into the town for a bit before being chased away into the mountain-range. Of course nothing that I just mentioned above really works out well for anyone involved, many other people die, tons of more property damage happens, and it culminates in a pretty decent set of scenes of the Sasquatch climbing the famous Mount Rushmore president faces, as well as our two main rival leads fighting one another atop those as well. And if you've seen Mega Python vs Gatoroid, you can take a pretty accurate guess as to how that scene turns out for everyone involved (though not without a pretty interesting little twist first).
What stops the movie from reaching its potential (other then needing to bring Bigfoot back down to a more realistic size), is that neither character played by the rival 70s TV stars are as interesting or as engaging as the rival characters played by Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in Mega Python vs Gatroid. The actors did great with the material, don't get me wrong there, they were both excellent actors, it was just the characters themselves weren’t interesting or likable in the least. Really, the only scenes with them in it that I enjoyed at all were pretty much just the scenes that they were both in together – they had excellent enemy-chemistry together, but when they were apart I just wasn't invested in either of them. Adding to that, after the awesome Music Festival rampage that was filled with all sorts of unique and fun Bigfoot-related kills, the deaths during the rest of the movie were pretty much the exact same – The Bigfoot either picked a person up, bit off their head, and then threw the rest of the body away, or it stomped on them and squished them into the ground. Not a whole lot of variety there to keep things fresh, which was a pretty big letdown after the first thirty minutes created such promise for a wide variety of cheesy death scenes.
Alice Cooper cameo aside, I still think Mega Python vs Gatoroid is the more entertaining of these movies, by a long shot. This one is still a decent companion piece for that one, to watch afterward, with its main faults being boring and unlikable lead characters, uneven CGI, repetitive kill scenes, and a terrible oversized scale for the title creature - it's definitely not Asylum's best, or even the best SyFy Original Movie this month.
However, while this one doesn't have much of a re-watch factor with me, it did keep my attention well enough while watching for the first time, and if you're into B-Movies like I am then it's worth giving a once-over when it airs on SyFy and Space on Saturday, just don't go into it with the expectation that it's as good as Mega Python vs Gatoroid, or even as good as most of the other Original Movies this month.
5/10 rooms in the Psych Ward