THE WEIRDEST MOVIE EVER MADE: THE PATTERSON-GIMLIN BIGFOOT FILM (HARDCOVER EDITION) by Phil Hall
On October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin emerged from a forest in Northern California with 59 seconds of grainy, shaky, silent 16mm film that supposedly offered documentary evidence of the Sasquatch, a creature of Native American folklore. Although neither Patterson nor Gimlin had any previous experience in filmmaking or zoology, they presented their remarkable footage as the first motion picture confirmation of the existence of the elusive Sasquatch.
However, not everyone was convinced by the imagery on the Patterson-Gimlin Film. Additional doubt was generated by the strange story behind the film’s creation. Over the years, odd rumors emerged about the film, including the story of an Academy Award-winning make-up artist’s alleged role in assembling the creature seen on camera.
Film journalist Phil Hall traces the convoluted history of how Patterson and Gimlin supposedly wound up in the right place at the right time with their camera, and how they brought their weird little film into the scientific community and American popular culture. While the debate over the authenticity of the Patterson-Gimlin Film continues to percolate, few would question the effectiveness of how this piece of celluloid brought forth an unlikely sensation lovingly dubbed Bigfoot.
Phil Hall is the author of The History of Independent Cinema, The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time and In Search of Lost Films. His film writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Daily News and Wired, and he is the host of the award-winning SoundCloud podcast “The Online Movie Show with Phil Hall.”
THE WEIRDEST MOVIE EVER MADE: The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film by Phil Hall (BearManor Media; www.bearmanormedia.com; $14.95). On October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin carved a unique niche in the public consciousness when they ventured into the California wilderness with a 16mm camera and emerged with 59 seconds of a large, hairy, upright creature- the first, honest-to-goodness footage of a Bigfoot! This 122-page softcover looks back at that nutty, highly-divisive episode in pop-culture filmmaking and its lasting aftermath, with author Phil Hall recounting the duo's original story, including all of its gaping holes and inconsistencies. No surprise, scholars of the time agreed that their film was a hoax, but publicity-whore Patterson found any way to make a buck and sold his story to the cheesy men's mag Argosy, with his shaky, grainy footage's impact continuing to grow over the decades. In addition to theories about its fraudulent nature and recent reevaluation thanks to digital technology, Hall pads out this slim volume with an overview of cryptozoology and history of the Sasquatch, Bigfoot-themed films, and critiques of the Patterson-Gimlin footage from various media experts. It's a fun and unjudgmental look at the public's need to believe, no matter how ridiculous it might seem to skeptics like myself. Over fifty years later, the debate rages on...
-- Shock Cinema