A Monster of a Tale: The Legend of Boggy Creek
The recently remastered 1972 tale, The Legend of Boggy Creek hit the ‘net last year and I thought I’d take a little look-see and what the buzz was all about. One-part creature feature, one-part docudrama, this film tells the story of the Fouke Monster, a creature of Arkansas folklore that largely resembles Sasquatch. But this is not a horror film, it’s a retelling of a local legend.
What is a docudrama?
Before you rush out to watch The Legend of Boggy Creek, I think it’s important to fully grasp what a docudrama is. This film is quick to point out that it’s a true story, and as with all docudramas, an element of that holds up. But that’s not the case entirely.
By definition, docudrama films are a “dramatic reconstruction of a real event or person” (HuffPost). Their goal is to retell the story of a character place or event as close to the real thing as possible. But there's a catch.
Docudramas are fictionalized reconstructions of real events. That means that there is still a cast and crew, a script and, most importantly, creative license taken by the filmmakers.
The Fouke Monster of Arkansas
Fouke, located in Miller County in the southwest corner of Arkansas, is a town of almost 900 people today, but in the 1970s it would have been closer to a population of less than 600. A quintessential county-looking town, Fouke features forested bogs and a fairly flat landscape.
This quaint little town was thrust into the spotlight in the 1970s when The Legend of Boggy Creek was originally released. Detailing the existence of the hairy, ape-like creature called the Fouke Monster, a true local legend.
The Fouke Arkansas Monster was a local legend before the film was released in 1972. Similar to Sasquatch, sightings of this creature date back to the 1940s and it’s said to be seven feet tall with three-toed feet, smelly and covered in reddish-brown hair. At one point there was even a $10,000 reward for Fouke Monster photos.
But with the filming of The Legend of Boggy Creek movie in full swing in the early ‘70s, sightings of the local creature increased. It started when a local farmer found footprints that were too large to be from a human on the edge of his soybean farm in June of 1971.
Then there was a car full of residents that saw the elusive creature run across the highway in front of them. A hunter that spotted it while she was out looking for deer. And a local resident even said he moved his family into the safety of town after a particularly terrifying encounter.
The Legend of Boggy Creek features staged interviews and reenactments of some of the older residents of the Fouke area and their encounters with the Sasquatch-like creature. Including the story of the monster picking up a local farmer’s 200 lbs hog and carting him off.
But in 1986, years after the ‘70s hype of the Fouke Monster was at its height, a story by AP was printed that surmised the whole thing was a hoax. Sightings have been down in years, with the local police sharing that they no longer keep a file on the creature.
Even Former Fouke Mayor James D. Larey said that he didn’t think anyone actually believed the creature ever existed. And while he suspected that the tracks were faked, he thought it was neat that the story brought so much interest to the small town.
Checking out the Film
Before you kick your heels up and turn on the film, you might want to crack a beer because you’re going to be in for a long run (did I mention you can use our super fashionable bottle opener to do so).
While the story behind the picture is interesting, the film itself features long, drawn-out landscape scenes (there’s over five minutes of music and nature shots before the story even begins). And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s kind of like watching 90 minutes of Unsolved Mysteries reenactments.
I can say safely that I’m not putting The Legend of Boggy Creek in my top 10 favorite films, but I would definitely watch a full-blown creature-feature horror on the Fouke Arkansas Boggy Creek Monster.
Visit Boggy Creek
Want to see more, join our All Access area as Chuck visits Fouke Arkansas and Monster Mart and follows up the adventure with the November 2017 Podcast with Lyle Blackburn.
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate, Inc.