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Bigfoots will burn down your park: “Savage”

October 20, 2012

Wow. Five-plus years of blogging about terrible movies, and somehow I’ve never covered one about Bigfoot. How about that? I wonder why. Probably because there really aren’t that many Bigfoot movies. I mean, there are some, but hardly enough to call it a genre, don’t ya think? I guess, when you get right down to it, Bigfoot is kind of a stupid monster. I mean, basically, he’s an ape. Now, ape’s and monkeys can be scary, but you really can’t claim they’re monsters per se (unless you’re making a sequel to Blood Monkey…and that’s a real bad idea). Yes, the proven existence of Bigfoot would probably shake up the biologists a little, but all it would mean to the regular schmope like you or me is that now we have apes to worry about not hitting with our cars when we drive through National Parks. And speaking of National Parks, that’s a good place to start with the movie Savage…

Savage begins in an unnamed National Park, where some firefighters have just contained a pretty sizable blaze. They regroup, having contained the fire well enough for it to burn itself out, and two of them step away from the group to have a cigarette and discuss deep matter (like why dudes who need to be in peak physical shape would be chain-smokers). Then they’re killed by a Bigfoot. Yep, that’s about how suspenseful the whole thing is. Big old, hairy man-beast with a ski-slope forehead and big teeth ambles up and puts the smack down on them. Yeah, this movie isn’t trying real hard.

Okay, settle in, because this part is going to get a little drawn-out.  You wanna maybe grab a snack, go the bathroom first? No? You good? Okay, well, this movie is lousy with subplots. First we got the Ranger (disclaimer: I’m spotty on who played who in this movie…IMDB is too), who has, apparently, left the police force in the big city for the peace of a remote cabin the woods with his pregnant wife (Lisa Wilcox–still cute all these years after A Nightmare on Elm Street 4) Just think Martin Brody from Jaws and make the appropriate substitutions.

Awww….

Then we have the young newlyweds–an abusive former Marine, and a cute chick that looks like Jessica Alba circa 2000 (holy crap, they cloned Jessica Alba! Well done, science. I knew that sheep was just a smokescreen). They’re on the run from a holdup gone bad, and are hiding out in the woods, so the husband can do some illegal poaching, which, according to his dialogue, he seems to believe will bring in a lot of money. Maybe he confused poaching with stealing priceless works of art. I dunno.

I mean, if we’re gonna clone people…

We also have a dweeb who has hired a local mountain man (Martin Kove) as a guide in the hopes of proving Bigfoot’s existence. Now, if you’re gonna hire anybody to play a grubby hillbilly, you want to run down the list a ways before you get to Martin Kove. I mean, remember him from the 1980s? Remember that slo-mo, cheesecake shot of him in the opening credits of Cagney and Lacy? This guy’s been a pretty-boy for three decades now, and giving him some tobacco-stained teeth does nothing to sell his, uh, transformation. He’s gotta be the only hillbilly who uses copious amounts of hair product.

The teeth are pretty gnarly, though.

Yeah, we’re not done yet. Need to get something to drink or check your e-mail or something? Walk the dog, maybe? You good? Okay, well, there’s also a greedy real estate developer who wants to turn the park into a big camping and hunting resort to revitalize the economy. It’s not a bad idea, really, but because he wants to make money, you know, he has to be evil.

And…I think…those are all the subplots. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.  Well, the various characters kinda bump into each other as they go in their separate orbits, but nothing much comes of it until the Bigfoot shows up and starts killing them. First he offs the abusive husband, sending proto-Jessica Alba running through the woods, where she meets up with the Bigfoot hunters.

Then the Ranger catches up with them and takes proto-Jessica Alba into custody and drives away. Bigfoot ambles along and both of them, with Kove getting just pwned, while the dweeby kid films it. And keeps filming as they Bigfoot advances on him (giving us possibly the only Bigfoot crotch-shot in film history–at least I hope it is), and kills him, too.

Behold the terror….ah, the hell with it.

Along the ride home, Ranger finds out from his dispatcher that the firefighters’ corpses have been discovered in the woods and that means no one has been fighting the fire (well, duh). That, in turn, means the fire is headed toward his cabin. So Ranger heads toward home to get his wife,but he’s interdicted by a Bigfoot, who busts up his jeep pretty good.

Ranger and proto-Jessica Alba manage to escape and limp to his cabin and warn his wife, but then the Bigfoot attacks. They put up a fairly weak defense, but Ranger rings the propane tank to explode and orders everyone out of the house. At the last minute, though, proto-Jessica Alba sacrifices herself to blow up the Bigfoot and save Ranger and his wife. Then, the Ranger figures out–pretty much out of thin air–that the greedy developer has been setting the fires in order to clear the land for his resort, so he punches the guy. But the resort gets built anyway. So, it’s kind of like the end of Chinatown, only with Bigfoots.

So, that’s Savage. It’s pretty much all sizzle and no steak. well, no, there is steak, but it’s like donkey-meat steak. I mean, yeah, we get plenty of Bigfoot attacks, but they’re all broad daylight in wide-open spaces, which reveals just how unconvincing the creature makeup is. Harry from Harry and the Hendersons was fucking bone-chilling compared to this thing.

Okay, that’s about all I got. Hey, remember that Silver Spoons episode when Ricky wanted to go find Bigfoot? Except he kept calling the thing “Bigtoes?” What was that about? I mean, what? Is the name “Bigfoot” copyrighted? Did they think they had to change the name for some reason? Make it less scary for the kiddie demographic? Man, that question’s been bothering for years.

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