• Drive-In Collection: In Search Of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: August 12th, 2014.
    Director: Lawrence Crowley, William F. Miller/Jay Schlossberg-Cohen
    Cast: Eric Foster, Maurice Grandmsaison, John Tallman, Casey Griffin
    Year: 1976/1986
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s Drive-In Collection line lives again, back with a Bigfoot double feature pairing up one oddball documentary with one of the wonkiest ‘little kid is friends with Coca-Cola loving sasquatch’ movies you’re ever likely to see.

    In Search Of Bigfoot:

    The first film, a Bigfoot expert named Bob Morgan leads a crew into the mountains of Washington State to, as the title implies, search for Bigfoot. He’s got a few scientists with him as well as some trackers and Bigfoot scholars along for the ride but this is Morgan’s show more so than it is anyone else’s. After all, as a kid he came face to face with the mythical monster and he knows that he’s still out there… somewhere… hiding from civilization.

    As they group make their way into the hilly forests of the Pacific Northwest, Morgan interviews others who claim to have encountered the beast and various theories about why Bigfoot remains so elusive are bantered around. Eventually they wind up on Mount St. Helens where history reports that a group of miners encountered a certain creature. Fire has wreaked havoc on the area, however, and as such, Bigfoot remains pretty tough to search for. Roll end credits and call it a day.

    Although the search turns up… nothing, this is still a pretty interesting documentary thanks to Morgan’s tendency to take charge of the situation and ramble on with his own personal theories as to the who, what, where and why of Bigfoot mythology. He gets into some genuinely interesting debates with other self-proclaimed experts on the subject and through some of these talks the film offers up a bit of moral messaging as to the merits of mankind’s overzealous tendencies in regards to harvesting forest resources.

    What the movie lacks in rad-tastic Bigfoot footage it at least partially makes up for in nice Pacific Northwest travelogue footage. The mountains are beautiful and the camera does a fine job of documenting this as well as the various characters that both populate the area and makeup Morgan’s team.

    Cry Wilderness:

    The real gem on this release, however, is the second feature. The film introduces us to a boy named Paul Cooper (Eric Foster). When we meet him, he has wandered away from his glass during a field trip to a museum. His teacher, Mr. Douglas (Navarre Perry), finds him gazing longingly at a giant Bigfoot display. Douglas tells him Bigfoot isn’t real but Paul knows better because last summer when he was fishing in the woods he befriended the harry brute. Not only that, but because Paul was kind enough to give him Coca-Cola and share with him his love of rock n roll, Bigfoot gave him a fancy medallion in return.

    Later that night Paul peers out the window of his boarding school dorm and sees Bigfoot standing on the lawn waving at him. Bigfoot tells him that his dad, a forest ranger named Will (Maurice Grandmaison), is in terrible danger. Paul knows better than to doubt a midnight warning from Bigfoot himself and before you know it’s he’s hitchhiking through the snowy mountains of northern California. After scoring a ride with a friendly trucker and his dog, Paul heads into the woods where we see pretty much every animal known to man and then, eventually, he finds his dad. It turns out a tiger has escaped from a circus and is roaming the area just before some obnoxious bigwig who hangs out with sexy martini sipping bikini girls is going to open his resort for tourist season. Will tries to send Paul home but he’s not having any of it. Soon enough, Paul is accompanying his dad and his Native American friend Jim (John Tallman) and a US Marshall/big game hunter named Morgan Hicks (Griffin Casey) into the woods to find the tiger and save the day. Bigfoot, however, is hanging out and Hicks wants to shoot him, stuff him and charge a small fortune to let tourists gawk at his corpse!

    As nutty as you’d expect from the guy who assembled the amazing Night Train To Terror, and just like in that screwy film we once again get a ridiculously annoying but undeniably theme song (over the end credits this time). The movie also features a weird selection of animals throughout the movie (supplied by Jungle Exotics according to the end credits), some of whom appear more tame than others: watch for leashes holding the wolves in place and hey, those friendly raccoons that Ranger Will lives with might not be so friendly after all, even if they sure do love their strawberry preserves.

    Bigfoot himself gets a fair amount of screen time here and the makeup effects that bring him to life are kind of cool in an eighties sort of way. The performances are not very good at all, though credit where it’s due, Eric Foster comes out of this one in much better shape than any of the adults who populate the cast. Throw in some really weird dubbing (Will sounds a little bit like Waylon Jennings), a gratuitous drunken biker scenes (complete with scores of empty Corona bottles) and an ancient and wise Indian shaman named Red Hawk (Foster Hood) who has risen from the dead to help and this one winds up a winner!


    In Search Of Bigfoot was transferred from its original 16mm negative and is presented in its proper 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. It looks like a documentary shot outdoors in the seventies on 16mm stock should look – grainy and gritty – but it’s clean in regards to any serious print damage and color reproduction is typically quite strong. Cry Wilderness is a more polished production and the 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer taken from the original 35mm negative looks about as good as you can realistically expect it to. There are some wonky looking stock footage inserts used in the early part of the movie that stick out like a sore thumb but that’s no fault of the transfer. Aside from those shots, generally the movie is clean, colorful and quite impressive in both detail and texture.

    Both films get English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mixes with no alternate language options or subtitles provided. There’s a little bit of hiss here and there if you really listen for it but most won’t find it an issue at all. Dialogue is clean and clear on both films and levels are properly balanced throughout each production.

    There are no extras on the disc aside from static menus and chapter selection.
    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD release of In Search Of Bigfoot and Cry Wilderness is a lot of fun. If you’re into esoteric documentaries, really strange kid’s movies or Bigfoot films in general then dive right in!