Category Archives: Recent Writings

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.

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 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! 😉