31 Days of Halloween Movies: When Animals Attack

This October, horror fans across the country are challenging themselves to watch one horror movie a day, all through the month. Horror movies aren't just for Halloween anymore. So we'll be bringing you our favorites, all month, one horror movie a day. It's 31 Days of Halloween and we're extremely here for it.

For our Oct. 4 pick, we decided to honor National Animal Day, selecting a "documentary" about an "animal." There's nothing quite like it in horror movie history. Tonight, we're watching...

The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Fouke Monster, a Southern-fried version of Bigfoot, as seen on the movie poster for "The Legend of Boggy Creek." Howco International Pictures

In the early 70s, Arkansas set designer and commercial director Charles B. Pierce interviewed residents of Fouke, a small town (pop. 506 in 1970) with a big legend: the Fouke Monster. A ten-foot ape, covered in dark hair, the creature killed livestock and stunk like a wet dog. Pierce wasn't necessarily a believer, but he saw an opportunity and started scripting a movie around the eyewitness accounts.

By filming the real residents of Fouke describing their encounters with a strange beast, Pierce invented the mockumentary horror movie, a full eight years before 1980's Cannibal Holocaust, which pioneered the "found footage" style that ignited a modern horror renaissance (or dark age, if you're not a fan of the subgenre) when The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999.

But The Legend of Boggy Creek isn't just horror history trivia, it's also a supremely creepy and engaging watch, blurring reality and fiction expertly, as it bounces between sinister footage of the Boggy Creek swamps and surprisingly effective recreations of Fouke Monster encounters. Dogs give chase, kittens get scared and hogs get carried away. The last third or so of The Legend of Boggy Creek switches up the format, dramatizing at length a terrifying night spent in a remote cabin besieged by the monster.

After Boggy Creek, Pierce would go on to direct The Town That Dreaded Sundown in a similar style. But in his later projects, including Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will recognize this one), Pierce never quite found the verisimilitude and uncomfortable collision of truth and fiction as he did with his first two.

"Fouke is a right pleasant place to live… until the sun goes down," the narrator says, right before an unseen something tosses a dog across a porch. There may be slicker Bigfoot movies, like Abominable , but nothing else comes close to Boggy Creek 's eerie mix of documentary and hairy-limbed exploitation.

The Legend of Boggy Creek is available for streaming on Shudder.

Here's What We've Watched So Far:

  • Night #1 - Mandy
  • Night #2 - Dementia 13
  • Night #3 - Messiah of Evil