Rives (John David Carson) and Pahoo (Dennis Fimple) are anthropology students at the University of Chicago.  After hearing a lecture about a strange bipedal creature in the Arkansas-Louisiana swamps the guys decide to use their Spring break to investigate and see if it really exists.  They take their camper van and camping equipment and drive down to a town called Oil Rig, Louisiana.  They heard about a couple of trappers that had been attacked by the creature that lived near there.  One of the men was supposedly killed by the monster.  The guys decide to try to find and speak to the man who survived the encounter, Joe Canton (Jack Elam).

After asking around town, they finally meet Orville Bridges (Jim McCullough Jr.).  Orville tells them about his seeing the monster when he was a child.  He takes them home with him where they meet Orville’s grandfather, Grandpaw Bridges (Dub Taylor).  Grandpaw tells them about seeing the creature on the road when they had a flat tire.  While trying to flee they hit a tree and Orville’s parents were killed.  Since then, Orville’s grandmother (Evelyn Hindricks) gets upset whenever the creature is mentioned.  Pahoo and Rives end up spending the night in the Bridges’ barn.  Late that night they hear the creature howling outside.  Rives manages to get the sound on tape. 

The next day the guys meet two young women, Becky (Becky Smiser) and Michelle (Michelle Willingham), at the local diner.  They invite the girls to visit them at their campsite.  It turns out that Becky is the daughter of the town sheriff, Billy Carter (Bill Thurman).  He interrupts their party and tosses them in jail for the night.   

Meanwhile, Joe Canton is attacked by the creature at his shack in the swamps.  Joe goes to the sheriff to report the incident.  Realizing that Joe is drunk, the sheriff sticks him in a cell with Pahoo and Rives.  In the morning they promise to leave the area, but the guys follow Joe to his shack and learn about his encounter with the beast in the swamp.  Rives and Pahoo decide to follow Joe’s trail and head out deep into the swamps to find the creature.

“Creature From Black Lake” was released in 1976 and was directed by Joy N Houck Jr.  It is an American horror film.

I wasn’t all that impressed with the movie.  There was a lot of dialogue but very little Bigfoot.  It played out more like a buddy movie than a horror movie.  The best part of the creature is the poster.  The best character is Jack Elam as the drunken redneck that has the misfortune of tangling with the creature more than once.  Other than Elam’s performance the other characters are a little flat and very talky.  Still, it’s not a horrible movie, just not very creepy or atmospheric.  At least not until it gets to the last part of the film.  Things pick up and there are some moments that have some scare in them.

Technically it’s not a Bigfoot but a Fouke Monster.  A bit of Arkansas folklore, a Fouke Monster is a three toed bipedal ape-like creature that roams the swamps.  It is further described as large and covered in hair or fur.  It was spotted in the rural town of Fouke, Arkansas sometime in the early seventies.  The creature has also been called the Boggy Creek Monster and the Swamp Stalker.  The first Fouke Monster film was the docudrama “The Legend of Boggy Creek” 1972.    

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