Starring: Sue Lynn Sanchez, Bill Ushler, Dave Bonavita, and Juan Fernandez
Director: Dave Wascavage
Rating: Five of Ten Stars
If you like old time comedies, horror movies and adventure flicks like I do, you've undoubtedly noticed that extremely fake-looking gorilla suit that seems to appear in every third movie from the 1930s and early 1940s.
Well, sixty-plus years later, the old monkey suit appears to still be in service. You can see it on display with some minor alterations in Dave Wascavage's "Suburban Sasquatch"!
In "Suburban Sasquatch", a Sasquatch (aka a Bigfoot if you're in the American Northwest, or Abomniable Snowman if you're in the Himilayas) goes on a rampage in a new housing development, because humanity has either encrouched too close to its natural habitat or because the hairy beast has a personal vendetta against John Rush (Bovavita), a police officer who moved to here after Bigfoot killed his wife some years ago. A young Native American, Talla (Sanchez), is equipped with magical arrows and handaxes and set to kill the beast before the life-force he's absorbing from his victims make him unstoppable and unkillable. Along the way, she manages to find love in the form of a reporter (Ushler) who is also on the trail of the Sasquatch.
"Suburban Sasquatch" is a campy, low-budget monster flick that brings to mind numerous drive-in movie "classics" and a number of B-movies from the 1940s and 1950s--and not just because of the cheap gorilla suit that serves as the Bigfoot costume in the flick. The acting is as bad as it was in most of those flicks, the special effects are as dodgy (even if they're 21st century dodgy... such as CGI effects that are so horrible they've obviously been MADE to be horrible), the story poorly thought out, the dialogue is delightfully cheesy, and the characters hilariously cliched.
This film is far more fun to watch than the ones it emulates, because there's a sense here that that actors and director weren't trying to make a movie we're supposed to take serious, but were instead making the exact sort of goof it turned out to be. No one part of this film is more laughably bad than any other part, and this consistency, coupled with the fact that most of the film moves along at a fast pace--it is blissfully padding-free!--makes this fun to watch if you have a soft spot for B-movies. Plus, how can you not enjoy a movie where Bigfoot rips a guy's arm off and throws it at another victim? (Of course, if Wescavage and Friends WERE making a serious monster movie, then they came up with the perfect fusion of crapitude and created an accidental piece of art.)
This is not the perfect Bad Movie, however. Although the film moves quickly in most spots, there are times where it grinds to a near-complete stop, such as when our intrepid (yet whiny) reporter is having redundant meetings with his editor or redundant badgering sessions with the cops, or when he whines to Talla about how he's a storyteller and she's a warrior. In fact, just about any scene with the reporter that doesn't also involve Talla shooting badly done computer-animation arrows at Big Foot, or Big Foot trying to rip someone limb-from-limb are dead spots that drag the film down.
Another weak point is the back story involving John Rush and his previous Big Foot encounter. The film would have been stronger if the simple approach that the new housing development was built too close to the Sasquatch's hunting grounds had been what the film had offered up. It's one that's more in keeping with the whole Native American angle, and it's one that makes more sense than the Sasquatch trailing John from his old home to his new one. (Yeah, I know I just asked for a film titled "Suburban Sasquatch" to make sense....)
For all of the low-budget badness (and, despite the fact that I'm tickled by it, it is still bad) there is one aspect of the film that impressed me. I was very impressed with the actor wearing the monkey-suit, particularly in the medium and long shots where he adopts a gait that is exactly like the creature that appears in that famous blurry footage of a Bigfoot crossing a rocky clearing (or a stream or something). The low-budget camera-tricks of the "teleporting" mystically charged Bigfoot also work in the context of the film, and they even manage to bring a little spookiness to the proceedings.
Is "Suburban Sasquatch" a film you should seek out? I think I have to come down on "no", unless you pick it up as part of of a DVD multipack (such as "Depraved Degenerates" six-pack, available from Amazon.com for $7, or the "Decrepit Crypt of Nightmares" 50 movie pack, which can be from Amazon.com for a mere $13), because I think getting the film as a stand-alone might mean you're not getting your money's worth. As much as I admire the consistent level of badness here, and the fact that Wescavage avoids many of the faults typically found in films at this level, I still can only give it a low 5 rating... and that might even be a bit generous. (I may be kinder to this film than I should be, becuase I so loved Wescavage's utterly wild "Fungicide". This movie isn't nearly as insane, however.)
If acquired economically, "Suburban Sasquatch" would be an entertaining secondary feature for a Bad Movie Night. It might be even more amusing if you have someone in your circle who is ultra-PC. (I can imagine how some of the more hysterical, super-liberal and super-sensitive types will react to the miniskirt-wearing mystic Native American warrior chick in this film.)
"Suburban Sasquatch" is currently available as part of the "Depraved Degenerates" and the "Decrepit Crypt of Nightmares" collections from Pendulum Pictures.
For more movies with guys in bad ape suits, click here to visit Shades of Gray.