I don’t know how many have of you have followed me from the Eve of the Ozarks days, or hell even the Backwood Folk days. The blog here is new, so if you only ever interacted with this site in particular it’s likely that you know very little about me. I’m from the Ozarks and still planted firmly within them. As cartoonish as the stereotype is, I am an artist hiding out on a far away mountain in a cabin in the woods. It’s enough of a stereotype that I can’t even claim to be *the* artist on this mountain. Too many others around these parts for there to be a definitive article. Which honestly? Solid balm for the ego.

Because of this, most of my early comics were regionally focused with a specific interest into Arkansas and Ozarks folklore. Needless to say I went in quite familiar with the Fouke Monster and the Boggy Creek series. This is our home state Bigfoot variation with three toes after all. I had seen two Boggy Creek movies prior, though weirdly I had never seen the initial outing. Which feels slightly sacrilegious in retrospect.

Now as a point of clarity, Fouke and its mythical creature are in Southern Arkansas and far removed from the Ozarks. As it is with rivalries within state borders as an Ozarker I had to hiss “flatlanders” as often as I could throughout my watch. Truly speaking the culture across the state isn’t as different as much as we like to project at each other. And listen, I’ll side with the flatlanders over the Texans any day of the week. Though let’s be real, not a great time for either state for a lot of reasons. A lot those reasons are Republican, but plenty are rich folks with designs who would be thoroughly disgusted to be lumped in with the former. But it is what it is. So that’s the lens I went in watching The Legend of Boggy Creek with.

The first film forms a solid case that you don’t have to actually make a good movie to have a good movie. It’s not great cinema, but god damnit it sure is Arkansan cinema. There isn’t a narrative to speak of. Just a bunch of locals telling an unseen Charles B Pierce (our director and producer) about their experiences with the creature as reenactments play out. These reenactments are smart enough to never clearly show the monster. Instead we just get a distant shape in the woods buried in layers of trees and swamp. As it turns out though, you can point a camera anywhere in the Arkansas wilderness and have a beautiful looking picture. The hidden corners of this state just bleed the atmosphere of a ghost story. Plop a man in a gorilla costume far from the camera and this low budget movie can provide the kinda shot that a lot of other horror movies would kill for. Though nothing in the movie proves as threatening as a character being driven to the hospital across state lines. A distinct horror score plays over the Welcome to Texas sign. It does this completely oblivious to its potential as a grim portent of both the series’ and the state’s future.

Return to Boggy Creek, an immediate and unofficial sequel starring Dawn Wells of Gilligan’s Island, is a more slight affair. It lacks any of the atmosphere of the original and instead trades for an early live action Disney movie approach to the story. It has its charms, and is probably a solid little spooky movie for the G rated intended audience. It certainly was a VHS babysitter of mine as a pup, but there’s not a lot of ground to cover on it.

However, 1985’s Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues is a smorgasbord to Return’s lunchable. Charles B. Pierce returns here in full force to the point of playing the lead character and ignoring its unofficial predecessor. This movie not only plays on every indulgence of Pierce’s, it also plays on every Arkansan indulgence imaginable. Which is to say it opens on Pierce’s character enjoying some Razorback football. Finally a movie asking “How about them hogs?”

Pierce plays a University of Arkansas Anthropology Professor who has enlisted a bunch of his students into a mad quest to Southern Arkansas to finally answer the question of the Fouke Monster’s existence. Starting the movie at the University of Arkansas and Fayetteville puts this fully in my neck of the woods. It also gives the movie a constant perspective of the state’s various regional rivalries.

The structure of the movie is much like the first, save that the linking elements are an actual story with Pierce and his students having their own encounters and meeting the interviewees before the reenactments begin. They are shaggy things but so filled with Arkansan in-jokes that I can’t help but love it. Whether purposefully or not Pierce increasingly becomes a sort of Colonel Kurtz figure to his students. And his quest seems quite like a tongue in cheek take on the various folklorists and anthropologists who would treat the state as a case study. Because of this the locals of Fouke treat this college professor and his devoted students as city slickers and outsiders. Considering 1985’s Fayetteville this is a somewhat hilarious if accurate little joke on the rural region seeing a small town as “the city.” 2021’s Fayetteville it’s no longer a funny aside but a standard fact. Cut to the modern day and the University of Arkansas would start getting lax on its out of state tuition. The jokes of Fayetteville as the next Austin stopped having punchlines and started being bullet points in boardrooms. Increasingly old farm trucks on the roads of Northwest Arkansas would be replaced by spotless vanity trucks adorned with Texas plates. A more contemporary Boggy Creek II would probably be more accurate to have no Arkansas born characters as the leads.

Parallel to the Boggy Creek, movies a regional grocery store began conquering the world. Northwest Arkansas’s own Walmart would become a publicly traded company just two years before Charles B Pierce’s first film. It’s 25th anniversary followed two years after Boggy Creek II’s release. These are unrelated except for the sake that Walmart’s history would rapidly become synonymous with Arkansas history. In 2011, a massive art museum called Crystal Bridges would open not far from Sam Walton’s very first grocery store or that university that once employed Pierce’s fictional bigfoot hunter. It was a project of his daughter Alice and one that promised to introduce culture to Arkansas. Its accolades were loud enough to drown out the feint sound of a piper’s flute. A lot of us didn’t catch on to it as the first shot in a large effort to rebrand the region as more friendly and more cultured. But that’s a marketer’s dark arts for you. Because it never tells you who they are making it more friendly or more cultured for.

All the spit and twine that built Arkansas would be phased out for state of the art construction. The cities and towns of the region would salivate at the promise of a bold new world and cosigned quickly. Old rickety neighborhoods would be torn apart so towns could have fancy parking garages that they called art corridors. Music scenes and art venues would be replaced with expensive modern condos that were paradoxically less resilient than the spit and twine. After awhile it became apparent the Arkansans too had to be replaced. They couldn’t afford this new Arkansas. Modern places require modern people with modern money after all. Grants operated like bribes and were offered to out of state talent who could afford these new gifts. Turned out moneyed Texas could afford what Arkansans could not. And slowly the identity of a region is changed not by organic growth but total replacement. It’s a sort of culture I suppose.

2011 also saw the release of another unofficial entry in Boggy Creek: The Legend is True. A total remake of the series. One that would ditch its regional trappings and instead take the formula of a modern slasher just with Bigfoot. The spit and twine was replaced by cheap digital cameras and cgi bigfoots. The craggy faced locals were no longer necessary as the young unblemished faces of models could do the job. The regional humor was replaced by blood and jump scares. Haunted shots of the Arkansas wilderness were replaced by floodlights behind the trees. A mimicry of Platinum Dunes to illicit the feeling of a music video versus a folktale. Where was this? It sure didn’t feel like Boggy Creek anymore


The Legend of Boggy Creek would be restored and remastered. It’s remastering in 2019 led to theater showings and blurays and inevitably streaming. Available as it was intended to be seen almost everywhere as a cherished little object of Arkansas history and lore. Boggy Creek: The Legend is True has largely vanished and been forgotten. An entity with a recognizable name but no identity.

Boggy Creek Rankings

Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues

The Legend of Boggy Creek

Return to Boggy Creek

Boggy Creek: The Legend is True