Valley of the Sasquatch, to view, or not to view?
I’m on a mission. Not the Fallout mission, that’s different. This mission isn’t about fun. It isn’t about groovy aesthetics. This is a mission of existential importance. I, Edward, am going to watch every single Sasquatch horror film I can find and write a review about their squatchiness.
Okay, perhaps I over hyped it a bit, but it is a really interesting thing to look at. I’m looking firstly at this really useful list themonsterman-15193 made on IMDB. It will be my compass in the dark times, as I sit red-eyed, staring at the TV as I witness my millionth Sasquatch. I’m going to post updates whenever I manage to locate and watch another Sasquatch film, but as of this moment I have only seen two. Firstly is Snowbeast, a low-budget flick from 2011, not the 1977 one. Secondly, and shamefully finally, Valley of the Sasquatch - AKA Hunting Grounds, which is what I would like to talk about today.
I first watched Valley of the Sasquatch in early 2019, having owned the film for about a year or so. I was fairly ready, I mean, it has loads of high ratings plastered all over the cover it must be good right? Let’s see…
When Roger Crew runs out of money, he and his son Michael move to a cabin in the woods to keep the costs down. It was passed down to Roger from his family who regularly stayed their as a wee lad. Now, he has to live in it. When they both arrive though, the place is trashed. What follows is an extended character-progressing “whistle while you work” session, where very little cleaning really seems to happen. Roger has some news though, he’s bringing up his drinking buddies - his friend Sergio, formidable beast of a man, all around tough guy and not at all cowardly (watch it and prove me wrong), as well as Roger’s brother in law Will.
This drinking and hunting trip soon goes awry though, when they encounter more than they bargained for out in the wilderness. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that they encounter Sasquatch. I mean, the clue is in the name.
Once we get to through the set-up, which is a little generic - being moved to a new area and bad stuff happens there- but there’s something a little bit more interesting to the goings on in Valley of the Sasquatch. A lot of what goes on is taken from ‘real’ Sasquatch encounters, which is pretty cool. The distinguished Sasquatch experts amongst you can probably even name some, particularly the one roughly halfway through.
Even at this halfway point, there are the odd little nuggets that make the film just a little bit more interesting than the run-of-the-mill creature horror. It’s a pass from me, but not with flying colours.
I think when they were putting this film together, they looked to place more metaphorical eggs in the visuals basket than the plot one. When Jaws was made, they chose to make the views of Bruce fleeting, since the prop they were using looked rather fake. Valley of the Sasquatch decided to do the opposite. With Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) spending so much time on screen, they needed to look pretty good. Whilst i’m not aware of the budget of the film, i’m guessing that CGI wouldn’t have been an option - we’ve seen even big budget CGI look terrible even up to the present day. Naturally then, they opted for costumes. Good call. Costumes, puppets and props may not always look natural, but they do always look real because, well, they are. The costumes for our fluffy forest friends don’t look that bad really. I could certainly imagine wearing on in the wildernesses of Washington State and causing some mischief.
Outside of these costumes though, the film looks more or less how you would expect it to, like a low budget film. I don’t mean that to sound like a bad thing, but there is a certain look you get when the lighting is low and the camera is digital.
The ‘squatch factor
I’ve already talked about the way the Sasquatch look (pretty good), and the way the story is based on ‘real’ encounters (groovy), but how Sasquatchy are they? I’m seriously going to have to come up with a rating system for this at some point, but for now, I can only compare them to the mythological beast stalking North America itself.
Since this is based on ‘true’ encounters, I have to say be default that the beasts in this film are fairly good. Perhaps a little too extrovert, although the film does go some way to explain this. If the tales are to be believed, then there is a good chunk of the behaviour of the Sasquatch in the film that it may make them very ‘squatchy indeed.
Which film should I watch next from my list? Let me know!