Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking for Mr. Bigfoot, or Thoughts on Willow Creek

Much like an American The Wicker Man (1973, as opposed to Nicolas Cage’s 2006 remake), Willow Creek (2013) is about a pair of skeptical outsiders who trespass in a small town where they’re not welcome.  Kelly and Jim, two big city actors visit Willow Creek, CA, home of the actual Patterson-Gimlin film (1967), the clearest and most famous Bigfoot film footage.  Willow Creek has developed a Bigfoot tourism industry like a Northwest Area 51 (except for cryptozoology, not aliens) and the two spend the first half of the movie mocking the locals and interviewing eyewitnesses before heading out into the woods.  They are warned off but nobody ever listens in these movies and to be fair, there would be no story if they just turned around and went back home.
Willow Creek is an impressive, clever, low budget indie done right, written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait (yes, the Police Academy Bobcat Golthwait). Half the movie is spent on build up before the creepy stuff happens during the first night in the woods.  Camping features an illusion of safety when in reality the only thing separating you from the wild is a thin sheet of nylon and a zipper.  There’s a 21-minute one-take tent scene reminiscent of Orson Welle’s War of the Worlds Mercury Theater radio play (1938) where the actors Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson react to sound effects; strange hootings, moans, and the sounds of footsteps getting closer.  There is a subtle genius at work here; it’s a simple scare that should be shown at film school as one of the best examples of the less is more philosophy.
Reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project (1999) but without the annoying shaky-cam, Willow Creek is less about Bigfoot and more about humans searching for Bigfoot, and how stupid they act in the woods.  The screenplay isn’t exactly funny, but if you’re familiar with Bobcat’s comedy (his stand-up style was a goofy, less-bitter Sam Kinison) you will hear his quirky sense of humor behind his actor’s lines.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).