Creature from Black Lake
Creature from Black Lake is a decent production, albeit on a low budget, but once played out the story is actually pretty good. Dennis Fimple is cast perfectly for his roll, and creates a likeable character as Pahoo; comical, yet somehow vulnerable, and we find out how well this actually works at setting us up for a shock later in the film.
Two college students, Pahoo and Rives (John David Carson), head to the deep south to search for an elusive Bigfoot creature said to be stalking the lakes and swamps of Louisiana. We get a hint of their camaraderie and of Pahoo's love for burgers (how can he eat so much?) as they head south in a van, loaded with camping gear, and their equipment, a camera and a tape recorder, with which they record some pretty creepy Bigfoot sounds.
We follow their investigation as they interview local townsfolk about the creature. Not everyone is so eager to talk about it, and the sherif doesn't like them poking around, stirring up fear in a peaceful community. He wants them out of town. Of course they stick around, and to make matters worse, they hook up with a couple of local gals for an evening of beer drinking and campfire romance and one of the girls is the sherif's daughter. The boys end up in the slammer for the night.
The following day they are told to leave town, but they decide to stay another night to see if they can catch sight of the creature. They catch sight alright, and disaster strikes for the two would-be Bigfoot Hunters. The Creature from Black Lake features an unexpected, and dramatic twist ending. It's a fun film for anyone interested in low-budget 1970's creature features. If you're looking for a classic Bigfoot film, complete with eerie, dark, Louisiana bayou scenes, and a giant beast lurking in the shadows, buy The Creature from Black Lake on DVD. It's a fun film.
The scenes are shot well, and the acting is pretty good for the most part. It was originally shot in a widescreen format, cinemascope or something, but the version reproduced for the DVD features the infamous pan-and-scan trick to get characters into frame. Of course the title sequences are all squeezed in there in order to make all the words fit on a standard TV screen, so everything looks stretched and tall. Maybe someone will decide to release this again in a widescreen format on DVD.
Next to The Legend of Boggy Creek I'd have to say this is my favorite Bigfoot film of that era. In fact, aside from Harry and The Hendersons, which wasn't a thriller, any other Bigfoot movie I've seen was just okay. This movie has a certain quality about it which makes it fun to watch, entertaining and spooky at times.
Fimple kept pretty busy in the movie and TV business. You might recognize him most recently as Grandpa Hugo Firefly in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses (2003), but he played small rolls in many movies over the years, and appeared in many TV show episodes, including ER, Quantum Leap, The A-Team, The Fall Guy, The Dukes of Hazard, and many others, even Petticoat Junction and Green Acres back in the late 60's. Sadly Dennis Fiimple passed away in August of 2002, of natural causes, shortly after finishing his work on House of 1000 Corpses.
John David Carson is a familiar face of film and television as well, having appeared in episodes of Hawaii Five-0, CHiPs, Charlies Angels, The Fall Guy, Eight is Enough, Barnaby Jones, and many others, including a small roll in the 1990 film Pretty Woman.
Carson plays the cool, good looking half of the duo, but Fimple has some sort of appeal, even though many might consider him less than attractive. Heck, one of the young vixens in the film even shows interest in him.
Jack Elam portrayed town drunk Joe Canton. Elam's career spanned 6 decades, beginning way back in 1944 with Trailin' West. You may remember him as the cooky-eyed Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing in The Canonball Run (1981), or from a host of other films and TV shows throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Elam passed away in October, 2003.