TBF Blog Launches with Clips, Photos

'The Bigfoot Filmography' by David Coleman.If you want to interactively explore Cine du Sasquatch, check out the new The Bigfoot Filmography blog. It has many rare photos from Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti movies and t.v.  shows. It also features some clips from that show the influence and range of various cryptid cinema portrayals. There are also some choice links to the various Bigfoot websites and blogs worthy of your time if you’re at all interested in cryptozoology or Fortean phenomena.

Be sure, of course, to click the “Buy!” link when you’ve had your fill on online previews. After at, at 344 pages and with 100s of rare photos, lobby cards and posters? The Bigfoot Filmography is definitely the real main course compared to any flavorful samplings! ;-)


The Bigfoot Filmography Now Out!

The fine folks at McFarland have generously sent me a copy of The Bigfoot Filmography.  I am very pleased as author with how they have presented my The Bigfoot Filmography by David Colemantext. From the careful lay-outs to the high-quality reproduction of the rare photos, and from the wonderfully graphic cover to the choice of premium stock upon which to print, The Bigfoot Filmography is definitely not going to disappoint fans of Cine du Sasquatch.

The final beast is a massive tome, as is perhaps befitting its subject matter. Whatever one’s critical opinion, it is hard to dispute The Bigfoot Filmography has priority value in event of emergency flooding, at the very least. One can easily sit atop it’s generous-sized bulk with one’s family, pet and even a few choice neighbors and bob along to safety. Sure beats the Kindle edition in such apocalyptic disasters, that’s for sure! ;-)

Early enthusiasm for the book is very keen, as the following actual screenshot taken from Amazon reveals:

Click to enlarge and read how you can steal this book for only $406.13 (plus shipping)!

The screenshot shows an actual page that has been serving out from the Amazon page via an Amazon reseller. While one can only hope this is a typo, in case anyone is seriously impaired enough to order The Bigfoot Filmography at $406.13 (plus shipping)? Allow me to point out this is (erroneously) listed as “Used” which is quite impossible given the book is officially scheduled for release today! And more importantly, the author is hereby prepared to send his own personal copy for only $203.07 (plus shipping)! ;-)

Order The Bigfoot Filmography  from Amazon.


Bob Mitchum Meets Bigfoot!

My thanks to the fine folks over at Shadowland Magazine. They just accepted my new piece “Bob Mitchum Meets Bigfoot!” for their upcoming Fall 2011 issue. The four-page article features the recently re-animated Robert Mitchum and John Huston, no less, pontificating the relative values of Killer Gorilla vs. Savage Sasquatch movies as beguiling genres of bargain-basement cinema.

As die-hard Mitchumphiles know, Robert Mitchum was forever obsessed with defining what he considered the near haiku distillation of everything that was wrong with each new turkey picture he was assigned to ‘rescue’ from bad scripts, dull directors and worse producers. He endlessly repeated to every director he worked with how one always knew when one was working on a “Gorilla Picture.” A Gorilla Picture was, to Mitchum’s reckoning, one in which nothing much happened for six or seven reels of the movie. Then in the final reel? A gorilla bursts into the movie, steals the heroine, and leaves the hero to duke it out, mano a gorillo. Fade out, roll end credits.

As you can no doubt guess, the editors of Shadowland Magazine take a healthy “open source” viewpoint towards even the more esoteric of content submissions! Jam-packed with informative, well-researched perspectives on classic and not-so-classic horror, SF and B-movies, Shadowland Magazine reminds this Old Ghoul School writer of a clever, revivalist concoction of Famous Monsters of Filmland meets the keener-edged content of Castle of Frankenstein. Quite an accomplishment, as these were always my two favorite mags as a SF/horror-obsessed lad in the halcyon days before the Internet.

http://shadowlandmagazines.yolasite.com/


Pre-Orders Now Accepted for TBF

Pre-order your copy now of The Bigfoot Filmography: Fictional and Documentary Appearances in Film and Television (ISDN 9780786448289) from McFarland either via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The Bigfoot Filmography by David ColemanWhile actual street date is yet to be announced, this is a sure-fire stocking stuffer for the avid cryptid enthusiast on your holiday shopping list for this upcoming season. Why not take care of it now (unless they’ve been naughty… or is that, especially because they have been…?).  ;-)

To up the ante? I’ll send a free autographed copy of my earlier fictional cryptid foray Ancient Lake to anyone who pre-orders The Bigfoot Filmography. It’s as easy as sending me an email confirmation that you receive from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (minus your credit card and/or other pertinent personal info, of course!).

So after you pre-order? Just click the Contact the Author button herein. Send me an email and I’ll ask you how you want the Ancient Lake inscription to read, where to ship, etc. All at no additional cost, and my way of giving you a little something for giving others something, too.


Cover for TBF from McFarland

McFarland recently sent me the cover image for my forthcoming reference book The Bigfoot Filmography(ISDN 978-0786448289). It is definitely an eye catcher! The stark contrast in colors and silhouette of the beast is quite striking.

Cover Image for "The Bigfoot Filmography"

Cover Image from The Bigfoot Filmography

Of course, savvy fans of Cine du Sasquatch — the Bigfoot film genre by any other name — will recognize the modified cover image of The Bigfoot Filmography. It was none other than the same poster image used for the classic Sunn Classic (see, the name ‘classic’ is right there in the namesake!) release The Mysterious Monsters. Released by the venerable Salt Lake City-based Sunn in 1976 — a veritable hotbed summer of non-stop Sasquatch sightings — the film quickly gained favorable word-of-mouth amongst Bigfoot film lovers. While it featured Peter Graves and psychic Peter Hurkos in front of the camera, early Bigfoot creature designs by Stan Winston and company are another creepy highlight.

As I saw The Mysterious Monsters theatrically as an impressionable youth, I can affirm from a personal remembrance to the powerful graphic impact this poster had on me. It helped lure my pre-teen psyche into a darkened theater full of equally cryptid-obsessed strangers — and now it’s my turn to corrupt another generation (hopefully) using the same basic imagery, no less! Who says the study of missing hominids can’t be sexy? ;-)


The ‘Lost’ Yeti Film by Paul Wegener with Max Schreck

Poster

Original USA theatrical poster.

There are many ‘lost’ Cine du Sasquatch movies (some will be profiled on this blog and many more in my forthcoming book The Bigfoot Filmography from McFarland in the Fall of 2011), but perhaps none so obscure as Ramper, der Tiermensch [aka Ramper, the Beastman], or as it was generally titled to English-speaking audience of the 1920s, The Strange Case of Captain Ramper (1927). The odd but intriguing fact that two of German silent cinema’s great talents – director Paul Wegener known perhaps most famously for his Golem films and actor Max Schreck inevitably for his iconic portrayal of Count Orlok the vampire in the Murnau’s Nosferatu – appear in Captain Ramper make it one for the head-scratching puzzle records that the final film is so relatively forgotten, especially by Bigfoot cinema fans.

Paul Wegener

Paul Wegener

Captain Ramper (played by Wegener) — a famous explorer who was once thought lost in the icy north prior to his rescue years later when Ramper has become in effect a human primitive — is always shown to be the implied Yeti in question throughout The Strange Case of Captain Ramper. In other words, the film’s point of view is such that the human observers are the ones projecting their belief Captain Ramper himself is the Abominable Snowman atop Ramper’s mute, non-protesting silence. How else to explain the tall, fur-covered “wild man” the curious crew recover in the Arctic wastelands? Appropriate to the title, this is a strange inversion of the usual “man in an ape suit” motif in which a supposedly legit Sasquatch is revealed as a hoax by the conclusion; whereas, Ramper in The Strange Case of Captain Ramper is the “ape in a man suit” reversal, with the Yeti a case of mistaken identity.

Strange Case of Captain Ramper

Spooky desolation in the search for..?

Ironically, humanity itself becomes a questionable commodity which is arbitrarily given and taken away by Ramper’s fellow human beings (at least from Ramper’s point of view, which is largely the film’s p.o.v., as well). The delicate European society of The Strange Case of Captain Ramper of genteel well-doers and bourgeois shop owner types have no use for a once famous exploratory Captain who is already historically forgotten to them, let alone a mute “Ice Man” who seemingly lacks even rudimentary intelligence or proper esteem for such truly important skills as pinkie extension during high tea.  In essence, Ramper as Yeti is excluded not because he is a Yeti, but because, sadly, no longer is mere physical resemblance the only criterion by which impatient human beings may collectively revoke another individual’s status. The tribe bestoweth the title of “fellow human” and the tribe revoketh.

Max Schreck

Max Schreck

As The Strange Case of Captain Ramper shows in an eerie tonal prefiguring of The Elephant Man, even a genuine specimen of Homo sapien stock can be reduced to less than human if the perception by the mass around him suggests that said subject is somehow inferior or lacking in the “good genes” of the human DNA genome. In this sense, we glimpse the underlying roots of racism, class divisions, uber nationalism, and many other inherent social ills; our own biased nature works to insure these moral failings as a steady-stream by-product of our ongoing, largely chaotic creation of a civilized society. That the decision to reduce Ramper from exploration demigod to sub-humanoid in status is largely arbitrarily-made, outside Ramper’s control, without any critical debate at all by the human participants is grotesque in the same vein as the aforementioned The Elephant Man or Browning’s Freaks. It suggests the cruel nature humanity is capable of invoking to exclude its own for the most superficial of reasons, even as it creates societal structures to reward more fame and riches to those who already have plenty.

Strange Case of Captain Ramper

The inability of society to tolerate noncomformity -- even when heroically achieved -- is a key theme.

Indeed, it is as if we are witness to a pagan ritual in which the crowd is chanting for more sacrifice at whatever cost, offering up burnt embers of self-destruction, and never once seeing that their actions are ultimately short-sighted with tragic consequences soon to follow. Into this scenario, Ramper reveals the perfect wrecked psyche for which the ever-fascinated public to consume upon and vicariously live through (at least, that is, until the next diverting thrill comes along), as – not unlike John Merrick’s own historical case in point – Ramper is an ongoing transformation in life, offering multiple levels of “viewer” empathy, interest, and exploitation. Ironically, the whole of Ramper’s life has been to become trapped like Prometheus in a series of scene-stealing tableaux (first, the living icon of explorer and aviator; later, as the frozen man unable to muster an emotional response in the modern world). Beyond these two moments in time, it is as if Ramper the man never existed, nor ever will. It’s quite a bitter wind that blows throughout the soul and imagery of Captain Ramper.

The cast and crew are excellent. Known mainly as an actor from his series of German films featuring the Golem character during the silent era, Paul Wegener was a key player in the Expressionist tendency in German filmmaking circa the 1920s, also writing, directing, and producing movies. Max Schreck, the memorable Count Orlok from the original Nosferatu, here has a dual role, one minor and one major:  as a sailor aboard the rescue vessel, Schreck is a crowd player who blends in as directed; as the embodiment of a series of horrors that befall Ramper during his 15-year long ordeal of estrangement, Schreck plays a series of representative woes such as Cold, Loneliness, etc. The latter sequence is the most Expressionistic of the entire film, using near-operatic intensity to suggest states of mental being (and non-being) with Schreck tormenting Ramper, year after desolate year, like some kind of demonic ice harpy, placed to do so by some truly angry Teutonic gods.

Excerpt from The Bigfoot Filmography forthcoming from McFarland.


The First Frost Giant: CONQUEST OF THE POLE (1912)

Many fans of Bigfoot Cinema believe the genre was born with the 1950s release of the otherwise undistinguished The Snow Creature (1954), directed by Billy Wilder’s brother W. Lee.

The first-ever appearance by a screen snowmonster.

The giant snow'man'ster from "Conquest of the Pole" (1912).

In reality, however, Yeti appearances in fictional films arrived with the popularization of narrative cinema itself. In fact, none other than the French pioneer of fantastic cinema himself, George Méliès, originated what can arguably be called the first-ever Abominable Snowman appearance in film history. It equally launched an enduring, vibrant off-shoot genre that endures to this day — Cine du Sasquatch.

That salient film effort was called Conquest of the Pole (1912) aka <<À la conquête du pôle>>. It featured a climatic encounter with a huge man-monster who devours humans alive from the icy pits of its own frozen hell. Although much more human than cryptid, the beast is nevertheless firmly within the genre conventions of all that would follow. Yeti in films was born, albeit in a more human and only nascent form.

You can witness the quaint charm of the production with the below YouTube clip erroneously titled “Conquest of the North (sic) Pole” but quite a nice Super 8mm-to-video capture, all things considered. At approximately 5:30 into the narrative, the monstrous Abominable Snowman-ster rears its ugly head, and upper shoulders, and dangling arms!

Despite its primitive nature, Conquest of the Pole‘s frost giant was a technical marvel for its era of construction. Audiences were astounded by the Abominable and the creature’s lifelike expressions. In many ways, this was one of the true first-ever animatronic constructions for a film, even if the entire contraption was operated by hidden players inside the giant’s head and shoulders, as well as cables and pulleys activated by off-screen helpers. King Kong‘s use of a similar bust for some crucial close-up shots may have been influenced by Méliès’ movie, as well.

Alas, despite the technical innovations, Méliès found a largely indifferent audience for this, one of his last large-scale productions. Popular tastes in cinema were already evolving from sheer novelty “trick films” (as Méliès himself called his efforts) and into more narratively-oriented efforts (read: stage plays that were photographed).  Conquest of the Pole would not only create the Cine du Sasquatch genre, in short, but temporarily bury it under the celluloid permafrost, as well.

That ice would later melt, of course. But for many lonely years, Conquest of the Pole was the first — and last — word in Bigfoot Cinema.


New Details About THE BIGFOOT FILMOGRAPHY Publication Date & Format

Scene from 'Tanya's Island'

Rick Baker and Rob Bottin collaborated on the unique hominid from TANYA'S ISLAND. They won a Canadian Academy Award for Makeup Effects for their efforts.

Good news from the folks at McFarland. My new book The Bigfoot Filmography (ISBN 978-0-7864-4828-9) will be first published as an oversized, hardbound edition in the Fall of 2011!

Complete with 100s of rare photos, many never-before published, and interviews with key Bigfoot genre filmmakers, The Bigfoot Filmography: Fictional and Documentary Appearances in Film and Television is a first of its kind reference guide and genre-defining critique of “Cine du Sasquatch” — a newly-proposed genre of horror filmmaking.

But as the overview of every-known Bigfoot film & t.v. appearance makes readily apparent, Cine du Sasquatch is actually as old as the narrative film itself. Citing the earliest examples of Yeti movies by pioneering filmmakers such as George Méliès and Willis O’Brien, and then moving forward through film history to denote key moments in the genre’s progression, The Bigfoot Filmography meticulously documents how the Cine du Sasquatch genre has always been lurking, just out of classification in film critique annals and as misunderstood as the cryptozoological namesake which inspires the films.

With a foreward by noted cryptozoologist, author, and museum curator Loren Coleman (no relation, alas for me, save our shared heridity of a love of Bigfoot Cinema!), The Bigfoot Filmography also includes a complete listing and critique of every known Bigfoot, Yeti, and Sasquatch movie and t.v. appareance, cameo, or significant mention, complete with cast and crew credits, running times, and other resourceful information about each listing.

I’m truly thrilled that after literally years of work, The Bigfoot Filmography will be available for the Bigfoot Cinema fans like myself, many of whom equally feel they’ve been “in hiding” as much as any cryptid for their dedication to a what is still (until publication date!) a misunderstood cinema genre. More info as it becomes available, of course! ;-)


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