2/2/07

1006 Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues…

(1985, Adventure-esque, color)

I saw the little creature!

Rating: Zero Stars

In a nutshell:

A self-righteous naturalist relates numerous irrelevant flashbacks about Bigfoot.

Summary:

Professor Douchebag in action.We spend fully a third of Boggy Creek II—the beginning, the end, and several longish sections in the middle—staring at narrated shots of the river. Think of the most boring nature show you’ve ever seen, then remove ninety percent of the wildlife footage. Now fill the resulting emptiness with irrelevant pontification. A headless deer rounds out this portion of the film.

Interspersed among all the other irrelevant elements, another third of the film consists of a series of four irrelevant, soft-focus flashbacks. (If the focus was any softer, it would be opaque.) Our execrable hero, Dr. Lockhart, narrates about that one time when a Bigfoot-like creature let a farmer’s cattle out of a barn. Later, he narrates about that other time when the creature pushed a backwoods cracker into his own outhouse; his wife had to pull him out and hose away the fecal matter. Then there was this other time when the creature crept up on a mountain man and attacked him while he was changing a tire. The man didn’t survive, so no one ever found out about it. Finally, the local sheriff went fishing on his day off, but Bigfoot and baby Bigfoot stole his catch. Doh!

What little time remains relates an irrelevant plot, of sorts. University professor and Boggy Creek Creature specialist Dr. Lockhart gets a call from the aforementioned deputy sheriff regarding the stolen catch. He gathers his students: pouty, braless Tanya and serially shirtless Tim, as well as Tanya’s prissy whiner friend Leslie. They drive out into the boonies, exchange barbs with the locals, and settle into a campsite where they watch little green dots blip on a screen for a long, long time. The girls whine and get muddy, Lockhart darts a man in an unconvincing ape suit, and then they take a boat down the river. Soon, they happen upon the abode of an unwashed mountain man named Crenshaw, who wears overalls without a shirt and a broccoli rubber band around his head. Turns out he’s kidnapped baby Bigfoot for some reason, and must set fires outside his house every night to keep its mother away. Lockhart takes him prisoner in his own home and gives the baby back to his Bigfoot mama.

Introduction:

Making things out of macaroni is its own reward.Crow and Mike are cub scouts. They’ve carved their pinewood derbies and copied a Van Gogh masterpiece with macaroni, and now it’s time to sing a song about trees. Tom shows up dressed as a brownie, because skirts suit him better than pants.

Host Segment One:

Tom has changed into a Flemish glassblower outfit and flies into a rage when Crow asks what he’s supposed to be. Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl’s new plan to rule the world involves hoarding potatoes and then shutting off the electricity to the all the earth’s major cities. She will then fashion crude potato batteries and use their power to rule the world! Brain Guy shuts down the power, but Bobo has forgotten to gather potatoes. Mike offers his, but it’s gone soft and moldy.

Host Segment Two:

Mike breaks up a fight between Tom and Crow. When asked, they can’t remember the reason for their fight, nor can Mike remember why he came to the desk. Crow helps by flashing back to when he and Tom were fighting, and then Mike came to break it up. This is not helpful at all, so Tom flashes back to the same sequence of events, only blurrier and more elaborately described. “Two Olympian Gods engaged in gymnastic sport…” Mike still can’t remember, so he flashes back to a pair of two vaguely robot-shaped objects who were forced apart by a big bluish blob…and remembers he came to get his contact lenses, which he had left by the desk.

Host Segment Three:

Pearl tells a harrowing tale of a hairy, foul-smelling beast that lives in Castle Forrester, whom Mike and the ‘Bots immediately identify as Bobo. Brain Guy plays up the mystery even more with a folksy, three-minute introduction to a fifteen-second folk song. “Clearly there’s some kind of creature,” says Pearl. “We haven’t worked out all the details yet.”

Host Segment Four:

Tom starts whittling, then starts a whittling factory, then starts a chain of whittling factories under a ruthless, multinational corporation called WHITL-Tech. His product: a short stick, slightly narrower at one end. He turns a fire hose on the workers when they try to unionize.

Host Segment Five:

Crow and Tom douse the bridge in gasoline during a game of Big Smelly Mountain Man and Captive Baby Boggy Creek Creature. They get bored of the game and wander off, leaving Mike to deal with the rising flames. Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl and Brain Guy try to sell Legend of Castle Forrester merchandise to a little kid. Bobo interrupts the sales pitch; he’s bored of staying in his room. With the legend revealed as a fraud, the kid kicks Pearl and runs away. Bobo muses on this while Pearl aims her clown hammer at his shins.

Stinger:

“I saw the little creature!” “No!”

Thoughts:

How on earth did he get that line out with a straight face?The line referenced in the stinger is the third most unintentionally filthy line delivered in an MST3K film. (See Episodes 1013 and 905 for the first and second, respectively.)

Movie, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways:

5) Charles “Chuck” Pierce, Jr., a.k.a. Tim Thornton.

If you ignore the issue of nepotism, Chuck Junior isn’t really all that bad. He’s soft-spoken and blank-faced. Sometimes he answers a phone, hauls a deer carcass, or feeds a straight line to his father, but most of the time he just stays out of the way. In fact, wouldn’t be offensive at all if he would just wear a shirt. Come on, kid—you’re thin as a rail and paler than a cave-grown mushroom. No one is going to mistake you for a body builder, or believe that you take your shirt off outdoors on a regular basis. I admit I’m at every bit as pale and thin as you are (though, technically, I suppose my copious chest hair makes me slightly manlier) but at least I have the decency to cover myself in public.

4) Flashback #3: Death of a Mountain Man.

You say you know a detailed anecdote about a man you don’t know, who was killed in the dead of night by a mythical creature that no one saw? Huh.

3) Cindy Butler, a.k.a. Leslie Ann Walker.

She hates beans, mud, water, mythical creatures, rural Arkansas, camping, and Doc Lockhart (though I guess I can sympathize with that one), and she whines unceasingly about all of the above while dousing herself in makeup and hair care products. Who invited her? Why did she want to come? Why did they let her come?

2) Flashback #2: Outhouse Humor.

Yuck. All that talk about catalogs, those boxer shorts, that gray-brown sludge clinging to his leg*... It’s just... Yuck. Is this what passes for comedy in rural Arkansas?

1) Charles B. Pierce, a.k.a. Professor Brian C. “Doc” Lockhart.

The auteur of Boggy Creek II—our writer, producer, director, and star—is a man who combines the toxic smarm of John Allen Nelson’s Deathstalker with the long-winded pompousness of John Agar’s Dr. Roger Bentley; if there was a fourth prize in the “Most Unappealing Protagonists Featured on MST3K” contest, he would be a shoo-in. What keeps Mr. Pierce off that list is his screen charisma, or lack thereof. Both the actors mentioned above play their roles to the hilt; their performances seize you by the metaphorical lapels, forcing you to hate them. Mr. Pierce’s performance, if it is a performance at all, seems directed wholly towards himself, as if filmmaking was simply a means to entertain himself; like a substitute for bowling on Saturday night; or an excuse to go camping with young women in their underwear; or a way to scam home-cooked meals from backwoods yokels eager to share their local folklore. This self-absorbed tone pervades the rest of the film as well. Its purpose, if it has one, seems like it must have been accomplished somewhere in the process of its creation. It certainly doesn’t look like it was ever meant to be viewed.

The best host segment deals with Mike and the ‘Bots’ multiple flashbacks to the same events, highlighted by Tom’s eloquent description of his version. Crow’s promise of a car chase in the next version is a nice touch as well. Brain Guy’s folksy introduction to the Legend of Castle Forrester song makes me laugh, but the rest of the host segments are merely decent, and perhaps a little bland.

The film segments are difficult viewing; they’re just a big mass of Boggy Creek stuff, with no rhyme or reason to them. If you strip away all the irrelevant voiceover, boring flashbacks, and unexplained plot twists, you’re essentially left with nothing, and "nothing" is awfully difficult to make fun of. When the campers pass a statue in the center of a small Arkansas town, Tom calls it, “The Tomb of the Unknown Cracker.” When Lockhart sends the bare-chested Tim to the door of yet another unidentified house, Crow says, “Can I borrow a cup of shirt?” After an extended scene in the swamp, Mike declares, “This is one of the dampest movies we’ve ever done.” Ultimately, there’s very little movie to mock, leaving the Satellite crew and their comments high and dry. It’s not an episode I can recommend.

*We got off easy. According to Bill Corbett’s entry in the online MST3K episode guide, the uncut version of the outhouse flashback contains many more “humorous” elements. That probably means groans, grunts, flatulent whines...perhaps even a butt cheek or two.