The thoughts of slender young actor Alex Fox as he stands in a shower cubicle (playing Peter, but not with his peter…), water glistening over a fresh outbreak of hives on his face and back, are lost to time. We do learn from director David DeCoteau’s DVD commentary (1) that Fox’s dedication saw him power through an “allergic reaction to some meds he was taking” to deliver the “very tasteful, yet sexy” shower scene required of all 1313 films. A game player in DeCoteau’s rapid-fire exploitation regime – one actor, one day, no makeup artist – Fox delivers that old adage: “the show(er) must go on”.
“Need some sugar? We have sugar for you.“
BIGFOOT is DeCoteau’s comment on campus rape culture (I kid you not…). A group of young men head to a remote island for a break in their studies before being picked off one by one by the titular creature. The ancient forest spirit is at the meditative command of Danielle, wronged by the guys on a previous trip.
BIGFOOT constitutes a break in the 1313 series from the otherwise ever-present Malibu mansion and is one of a trilogy of titles given over to unexplained phenomena (the others are UFO INVASION and BERMUDA TRIANGLE). There is none of the perverse tied to the bed sado-masochism to be found in other titles. Instead, we get “Abercrombie frat boys go back-packing”, complete with a cast of mostly objectionable idiots who say things like: “Kiss my butt, you bum”.
For production reasons, DeCoteau adopts a free-form spatial elasticity throughout that gives BIGFOOT a rather trippy vibe (2). Multiple location shoots – hot-swapping the arid scrub of L.A. for the lush Canadian backwoods – mean that key actors are often in entirely different forests. As if to reinforce this bizarre continuity, the lumbering threat is never encountered directly by its victims – lunging into camera as they, reverse shot, react. The thrift store monster has the same shade, and menace, as a Banana Split (3).
Cast notes: Alex Fox went on to appear in DeCoteau’s 2: VOODOO ACADEMY (2012) before disappearing from IMDb. Kathryn Collins has appeared in DeCoteau’s HANSEL & GRETEL: WARRIORS OF WITCHCRAFT (2013) amongst other fine work. Charlie Meadows gets a writing credit.
In brief: A riff on contemporary campus rape culture where a wronged island maiden summons supernatural fur to bring balance to the forest.
In briefs: 2 out of 5. By DeCoteau’s own admission, there’s less “underwear work” here.
READING (between the lines…)
(1): 1313: BIGFOOT ISLAND (2012), DVD Commentary Track, David DeCoteau, Rapid Heart.
(2): “BOLD! DARING! SHOCKING! TRUE! A history of exploitation films, 1919-1959”, Eric Schaefer (1999) pp48: “Sparse sets and errors in continuity contribute to the bizarre timeless and placeless feel that is conveyed by many exploitation movies.”
(3): Disregarding Danishka Esterhazy’s outrageous franchise reboot, THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE (2019)…