Creature from Black Lake – aka Demon of the Lake – is a 1976 American Bigfoot horror film directed by Joy N. Houk Jr. (Night of Bloody Horror; The Night of the Strangler; The Brain Machine) from a screenplay by Jim McCullough Jr. (Mountaintop Motel Massacre; Video Murders). It was produced by Jim McCullough Sr. (director of Mountaintop Motel Massacre).
Jack Elam (A Knife for the Ladies; Uninvited ), Dub Taylor (Burnt Offerings), Dennis Fimple (House of 1000 Corpses), John David Carson (Empire of the Ants), Bill Thurman (The Black Cat ; Night Fright; Keep My Grave Open), Jim McCullough Jr., Roy Tatum and Catherine McClenny.
A Bigfoot-type creature has been reported near a Louisiana town and surrounding swamp area. After local trapper Joe Canton (Jack Elam) reports that his friend was killed by the creature, two University of Chicago students load up their van and investigate. Along the way, they have a run-in with Sheriff Billy Carter who warns them about upsetting the people of the town. Predictably, they ignore the sheriff and end up finding that the creature is real…
“Creature… draws its effectiveness from its relatively realistic tone. One person’s death is a significant event in the movie, as it would be in real life. What’s more, Creature… avoids the typical situation in exploitation horror, where the heroes are nearly indestructible and the supporting characters are little more than balloons full of stage-blood just waiting to be popped.” Brain Eater
“As with all mid-70s Bigfoot movies, the man appeal of Black Lake is not horror or action or camp. Rather, you get a rural mood piece, a yearning for simpler bygone days when some wilderness yet remained wild, with some mysteries yet remained unresolved. Like the other movies in the subgenre, it is low-budget, largely amateur, blue collar, simple and sincere. And like the other films it has a small devoted cult following.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“Despite a distinct lack of horror and action, the flick ponies up a lot of cheesiness because of the redneck characters. There’s usually something being said about old hound dogs or the weather and how these city boys are just a couple of Yankees. And, I’ve never said no to a Grizzly Adams-like moonshine-drunk hick stumbling into a sheriff’s office with a shotgun.” Oh, the Horror!
Whereas many entries make the mistake of taking their subject matter far too seriously — as if such grim determinism will allay any viewer’s doubts about Bigfoot — here the filmmakers were clever enough to keep the cryptid convincingly savage and scary while loading the balance of the film with healthy doses of regional realism and character-driven humor. The pleasant jambalaya thus concocted is a more believable and amusing blend.” David Coleman, The Bigfoot Filmography
“Despite its obvious handicaps, this ultra-low-budget Bigfoot movie–a subgenre that always seem to suffer from a lack of production funds–is fairly watchable.” TV Guide
“Overall this is a fun movie. Rather than overt monster action, it goes for a steady build up of tension and terror, using its monster sparsely until the final act. The characters never come across as forced or fake, which almost gives the film a documentary feel, a notion made even stronger by the grainy film quality.” Shadow’s B-Movie Graveyard
“Despite a respectable looking ape-suit for the creature, and the presence of Dean (Halloween) Cundey at the camera, the film still wastes its visual possibilities. Bigfoot may be an oral tradition, with sightings passed around as folk stories and local gossip, but it seems a perverse use of the medium to spend more time looking at people talking about Bigfoot than actually showing the thing.” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA
“Dub Taylor and Jack Elam, as good ole swamp boys give the film character, and the Louisiana bayou photography is okay, but the younger characters and their search are hampered by tomfoolery. The film ends with a harrowing chase, but it comes too late.” John Stanley, Creature Features
Bossier City, Oli City and Shreveport, Louisiana
Some images: Shadow’s B-Movie Graveyard
More Bigfoot/Sasquatch movies:
Assault of the Sasquatch (2009)
Bigfoot vs. Zombies (2016)
Bigfoot Wars (2014)
The Capture of Bigfoot (1979)
Dear God No! (2011)
Field Freak (2014)
The Legend of Six Fingers (2013)
Valley of the Sasquatch (2015)
Willow Creek (2013)
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