Giant creatures are living at the edge of our civilization: “Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster”

By on February 23, 2018

The 1975 theatrically-released Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster was written & directed by highly-respected filmmaker Robert Guenette and hosted by square-jawed actor Peter Graves, whose serious-toned interviews with people who claim to have evidence of Bigfoot’s existence adds additional gravitas to all of the scientific evidence on display.

This mid-’70s cult classic is definitely one of the strangest little documentaries you’ll find streaming over on Night Flight Plus, and not only because the film’s mid-70s color stock has faded to a sickly green tint throughout (this particular unrestored title was released on DVD by Cheezy Flicks in September 2009).

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS9

The 90-minute film — also released as The Mysterious Monsters in March 1976, featuring segments on the Loch Ness Monster, and the Abominable Snowman, Yeti — had a huge impact on ’70s pop culture (though this film’s impact was not as widespread as the fictionalized documentary-style drive-in classic The Legend of Boggy Creek).

Historically, Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster was the first documentary to feature the 18-second 16mm film footage shot by small rancher and part-time Bigfoot hunter Roger Patterson in the early afternoon hours of October 7th, 1967.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS4

Patterson’s film clip shows an arm-swingin’ bipedal hominid — which was determined to be a female Bigfoot they later named “Patty” — strolling across a dry riverbed in Bluff Creek, California, a tributary of the Klamath River.

Patterson — who was accompanied by tracker Bob Gimlin — ran towards the creature while trying to simultaneously focus on what he was seeing about thirty feet away from the camera (Patterson, who “maintained right to the end that the creature on the film was real,” died of cancer in 1972).

Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster was also particularly significant because of how the cryptid Bigfoot was treated scientifically, with video/film footage/sound recordings, etc. being discussed by famed anthropologists and Bigfoot hunters, like Grover Krantz, showing footprint casts and providing expert testimony.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS11

Along with these displays of actual evidence, there are testimonials provided by eyewitnesses who saw Bigfoot; one witness is even given a polygraph (lie detector test), while another being placed under hypnosis. Peter Graves even visits a psychic who works for the local police!

The film also examines the history of hairy Bigfoot-type creatures in many ancient cultures, but one of our favorite things about the film was how it featured dramatic re-enactments of various reported Bigfoot sightings, with actors in full makeup wearing Bigfoot-style modified giant ape costumes!

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS2

Graves — who we’re sure you’ll remember from great films like Airplane! and TV’s “Mission: Impossible” — totals up of all the facts and fictionalized accounts with a conclusion we think we can all agree with: “I hope we won’t destroy what we seek to understand.”

Read more about Robert Guenette and Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster below.

IDevices-For-NF-web

Hey! Do you have a Night Flight Plus subscription?

We’re offering up original uncut air masters of Night Flight programming from the video vaults of the 1980s TV show, as well as provocative new selections from the world of music, documentaries, animation, cult films and more. Sign up today!



BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS6

“In Marietta, Washington, you will experience the terror of Bigfoot,” the creepy voiceover announcer on the film’s original theatrical trailer tells us, sending shivers up our spines.

He continues: “It all began on the night of June 6th. Rita Graham was sitting on her couch, watching TV. Suddenly, a giant hairy hand crashed through the window and groped about. The monster was next seen by Tom Stern, and three days later in a boy’s scout camp. In all, this small town experienced twelve encounters within thirty days.”

The Rita Graham late-night Bigfoot encounter re-enactment is actually one of the best scenes in the film.

The Mysterious Monsters was one of the very first theatrical releases produced by Sunn Classic Pictures (also known as Schick Sun Classic Pictures), a Utah-based independent film company founded in 1971 and reportedly first owned by members of the Church of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons).

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS12

Sunn Classic/Schick Sun — whose great little documentaries were typically based around controversial conspiracies, with dramatizations and re-enactments — also released The Search for Noah’s Ark, The Lincoln Conspiracy (based around the complex complex conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln centered around super spy/traitor Union Colonel Lafayette Baker), The Bermuda Triangle and more great documentary titles.

in 1980, the company was purchased by Taft Broadcasting, who reincorporated the company’s films into their own Taft International Pictures.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS5

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Robert Guenette pioneered the depiction of great events in history by using newsreel-style documentary footage and re-enactments (which appeared to be shot by on-the- scene news crews), beginning with They’ve Killed President Lincoln (1971), which earned him Emmy awards for producing and co-writing.

Guenette became interested in Bigfoot while filming a documentary on “monsters” for the Smithsonian Institution in 1974 — his hour-long TV special Monsters! Mysteries or Myths? — after which he began to participate in Bigfoot expeditions, interviewing many of the eye-witnesses and veteran cryptid hunters for this theatrical film.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS15

He also directed The Making of ‘Star Wars’ (1977) — it was among the first “making of” programs to be shown on network television — The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1980), and hundreds of other documentaries and TV features.

Guenette and his wife Frances Guenette are also credited as the authors of a 160-page book adaption of this film. He died on Halloween day in 2003.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS3

Bob Gimlin (left) and Roger Patterson posing with casts of Bigfoot tracks

This film was later featured in an episode of “Cinema Insomnia,” a nationally-syndicated TV series hosted by Erik Lobo, a.k.a. Mr. Lobo., a reverend in the Church of the SubGenius who was also canonized as “Patron Saint of late night movie hosts and insomniacs” in the Church of Ed Wood.

In 2010, Apprehensive Films introduced a line of Cinema Insomnia DVDs, including Bigfoot: Mysterious Monster.

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS10

Watch Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster tonight on Night Flight Plus!

BIGFOOTMYSTERIOUS1

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.