Friday, 2 March 2018



The Thing Under The Lake. Forest Of Death. Bayou Of Blood. Swamp Beast. The Creature And The Witch. There are five generic, unimaginative titles I've just thrown into the ether for a generic, unimaginative seventies monster horror that somehow got stuck with a British slang term for the lavatory as a title. Surely someone must have been aware of that and suggested a retitling, even if only when it came to the UK video release? (The pre-cert cover compounds the euphemism by calling it The Bog.) It can't have been possible to not know: it's not as if "bog" was an archaic, regional colloquialism, and the Carry On team had made a whole film about lavatories and called their main character WC Boggs.

A pre-credits idiot awakens a blood-drinking prehistoric creature while out fishing with dynamite. Shortly afterwards, two wives on a camping expedition are killed, a couple of deputies and a girl on a bicycle shortly follow, the local yee-hawing beer-and-guns redneck brigade demand action, and sheriff Aldo Ray and coroner Gloria De Haven try and make sense of it all. There's a mad old woman (De Haven again, for no narrative reason) living in a cave deep in the swamp; maybe she knows something? Eventually they come up with a shaky plan to capture it for science, but inevitably it gets loose...

Routine monster schlock for 1979's drive-in audiences, Bog has the feel of a Deep South monster movie like Creature From Black Lake but was actually shot in Wisconsin. It's slightly interesting in that it feels like someone has at least flipped through an encyclopedia at some point in an attempt to fashion a viable-sounding lifecycle for the creature, and also that it includes a tentative September-September romance between De Haven and local GP Marshall Thompson (both were over 50 at the time). The bog monster itself is barely glimpsed save for the occasional claw murders, which is perhaps for the best because when it's finally revealed as a 6'7" man in a rubber suit with a giant fish head, it looks a bit silly, like an ill-conceived mascot costume for the high school football team.At least not lumbered with amateurishness: it's a proper, professional (albeit not Hollywood) film, and the streaming version is sourced from a film print, to add to the nostalgia. Sadly it's a nostalgia for something that wasn't, and still isn't, very good.


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