Considering they’re probably the best-known cryptids in history, the humanoids known variously as Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman and so forth don’t get much respect in modern cinema. While thousands of hours of film and video have been dedicated to these elusive man-beasts, there’s something about the big dude that makes it nearly impossible for filmmakers to take him seriously.
It’s certainly not for a lack of trying; there have been nearly a hundred Bigfoot and Yeti movies released since the ’50s: old-fashioned monster romps, found-footage and slasher entries, feel-good family dramas, romantic comedies… and yes, even porno flicks. So why are nearly all of them so damn goofy?
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy these insane interpretations; in fact, the crazier they get, the more fun I have watching them. So to honor this dubious cinematic legacy, here are two dozen of the all-time nuttiest Bigfoot & Yeti flicks ever… and this isn’t even close to all of them.
[Note: This is an ever-evolving list (no pun intended) which I began years ago as a writer for FEARnet, but since then there’s just so much more Sasquatch shenanigans to go around… so, as they say, the legend continues!]
Probably one of the most “respectable” entries on this list (which is a pretty dubious distinction) thanks to the appearance of genre icons Lance Henriksen (ALIENS) and Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR), as well as a very good man-in-suit monster enhanced by creepy animatronics (not unlike Rick Baker’s 1976 KING KONG suit).
APE CANYON (2002)
One of many tales to exploit the kinky potential of Bigfoot’s sexual needs (currently an extremely popular trend in erotic fiction), this sleazy, cheap shot-on-video entry is probably too rapey for most tastes, but an amazingly weird spectacle nonetheless.
An early “Bigfoot digs the chicks” entry, this exploitation junker pits the randy beast against a gang of equally sex-crazed bikers who challenge the monster’s claim to their buxom girlfriends. Note the tasteful tagline: “breeds with anything…”
Another SyFy quickie, this one’s also produced by The Asylum — so smoke ’em if you got ’em, if you know what I mean. From the ridiculously huge title beastie (he looks Kong-sized at one point) to the presence of Danny Bonaduce, all bets are off on retaining your sanity.
BIGFOOT: THE LOST COAST TAPES (2012)
It’s certainly not the only Bigfoot entry in the found-footage subgenre, but it’s one of the more watchable of the bunch, taking advantage of the “dude, did you see that?” potential of Sasquatch sightings.
BIGFOOT’S WILD WEEKEND (2012)
Apparently Bigfoot really likes him some boobies, as he spends lots of time ogling naked babes in this silly softcore romp — which seems to be setting up a much naughtier scenario, but never actually delivers.
CURSE OF BIGFOOT (1958/1976)
The dates for this outrageously bad title refer to its original release as a mummy movie titled TEENAGERS BATTLE THE THING, spliced with some oddball “educational” footage in an attempt to cash in on the mid-’70s Bigfoot craze. It didn’t help.
DEAR GOD NO! (2011)
This sleazeball fusion of bikers, Nazis and nuns (yup, they’re covering all the retro-grindhouse bases here) also slides into ’70s backwoods monster territory, resulting in one of the more entertaining and extreme titles on this list. Big fun, if you know what you’re getting into.
This backwoods slasher flick features a Sasquatch-type monster — which may be an alien! — and there are also some zombies and George Kennedy. That’s all I could figure out. Notable as an early script from FX guru John Carl Buechler (who was originally slated to direct), it’s impossible to decipher, but at least it’s not boring.
THE GEEK (1971)
Remember when I mentioned “Bigfoot Porn” was a thing? Well, this is that thing. As far back as the early ’70s, pornographers were envisioning the artistic potential of hardcore Sasquatch-on-human action… a concept which, oddly enough, would migrate to insanely successful works of erotic fiction four decades later. Don’t believe me? Check out the Amazon link at the end of this article.
HALF HUMAN (1958)
The Japanese monster movie JÛ JIN YUKI OTOKO (from Toho Studios, creators of Godzilla) was re-cut by its US distributor, who then added footage featuring horror legend John Carradine (cashing one of his many quick paychecks). The result makes zero sense, but it’s got a pretty cool kaiju-style Yeti.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972)
While it’s best known for its seriously creepy trailer, this pseudo-documentary from B-movie auteur Charles B. Pierce (THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN) about the legendary Arkansas “Fouke Monster” is an amateurish exercise, but it’s got that awesome ’70s drive-in feel you just can’t duplicate. Pierce’s 1985 sequel, BOGGY CREEK II, was trashed on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 (and deserved it), and the story was loosely revisited in 2010… but I’ll stick with the original.
LEGEND OF THE SANDSQUATCH (2010)
That’s not a misspelling there… apart from the dumb-ass title (probably decided between bong hits), this is a semi-entertaining spin on the legend in a desert setting, with emphasis on the “missing link” aspect. Sadly, the monster reveal is quite underwhelming: it’s basically a hairy naked guy.
LITTLE BIGFOOT (1997)
Another “family-friendly” entry in the subgenre, this is also one of the worst Bigfoot movies I’ve ever seen, coming dangerously close to the glorious awfulness of TROLL 2, but wrapped up in a flimsy environmental message and embarrassing attempts at tugging the heartstrings. (I did feel a tug, but I think it was something I ate.)
MAN BEAST (1956)
Hokey but actually a lot of fun, this early outing from notorious low-budget auteur Jerry Warren (TEENAGE ZOMBIES) leans too heavily on nature footage and clunky dialog scenes, but the tribe of savage Yetis are fairly creepy, and the main plot twist is surprisingly effective.
NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980)
Not to be confused with NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (the one with Linnea Quigley and the lipstick), this no-budget splatterfest throws in black magic, a slasher body count and tons of cheesy gore (including a guy’s thingie getting ripped off), and makes absolutely no sense… but it’s still a damn good time.
NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST (1975)
Who better to face off against a Yeti than a werewolf — specifically, Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy, in his famed role as the lycanthropic Waldemar Daninsky? Yup, it’s as fun as it sounds, and this ludicrous flick throws just about everything at the screen to keep you entertained.
Obscure but worth seeking out, this Sasquatch tale draws more from Native American lore for its premise… but that’s not to say it takes the subject too seriously. Instead, it goes for fast and fun entertainment, with a good turn from GREMLINS star Zach Galligan and a cameo by Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman.
Before the bigger-budget ABOMINABLE, Lance Henriksen faced off against another hirsute humanoid in this direct-to-video offering (originally titled THE UNTOLD). It’s cheap but fun, featuring cool monster point-of-view shots inspired by PREDATOR, but the horribly choppy editing might try your patience.
SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED (1974)
This gloriously awful mishmash of Bigfoot cash-in, cannibal exploitation and body-count flick is sheer lunacy. It’s something about an anthropology professor and his students tracking a Yeti in New York… and before you say anything about the Yeti actually being native to Nepal, I don’t think the filmmakers actually gave two shits about that. The monster itself looks a bit like Santa Claus.
This hokey monster flick scared the hell out of me when I was a kid, and while it doesn’t do the trick today, it’s still packed with enough soapy TV-movie fun to please ’70s horror buffs. It was remade in 2011 for Syfy, but I’m going with the original for the nostalgia factor (and Yvette Mimieux in ski pants).
STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM! (2005)
One of the few films to reference the “Skunk Ape” legend of the Everglades, this one tosses the monster into a parody of the rock ‘n’ roll teen beach-party genre. An excellent selection of garage-band tracks keeps the joint stomping, shouting and screaming. Not quite as good as PSYCHO BEACH PARTY, but lots of fun nevertheless.
THE WILD MAN OF THE NAVIDAD (2009)
Another deliberately retro-styled throwback to ’70s horror, this Texas-based production totally nails the gritty look and feel (all the way down to its “based on a true story” tag), but also excels as a taut and fast-paced thriller, playing the material completely straight. Highly recommended.
YETI: A LOVE STORY (2006)
If you’re wondering why there aren’t more Troma titles on this list, I’d say this one’s outrageous enough to take up the slack. It’s groundbreaking in its own unique way, as it’s probably the only Yeti-themed gay sex film ever made… but again, this is Troma we’re talking about, so don’t expect any bold social subtext here.