Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bog (1978/1983)

Somewhere in the provincial wilds of Wisconsin there's a nameless, boggy lake. Under its surface dwells the most amazing of creatures - a beautiful (your ideas of beauty may vary) swamp monster. The monster - let's call it Elroy - spends most of his time sleeping, when he's not injecting the local swamp hag (Gloria DeHaven) with his blood to make her his willing sex slave (well, as far as a PG rating allows, which isn't all that far). Elroy, who failed at evolution, can only procreate with the help of a female human, you see.

One sunny day, a backwoods fisher wakes the poor dear through his misuse of dynamite, making for a pissed off monster and a dead fisherman. As luck will have it, no sooner is the man dead (and his blood sucked, in case you were wondering), than two bitchily married couples arrive at Elroy's home for a fishing weekend.

All the bitching, drinking and noisy berating of partners seems to piss Elroy off even more (I'd say he's not feministically inclined). It doesn't take long until the women fishers are also sucked dry, while their husbands suddenly feel the barbaric urge to buy really big guns and shoot themselves a monster. These two yahoos shouldn't be too much of a problem for a real monster like El, but the local police under Sheriff Rydholm (Aldo Ray, who else?) is a completely different story.

With the scientific help of (and I quote) "local sawbones" Dr. Wednesday (Marshall Thompson - good Lord, is there a retirement home for aging B-Movie heroes around!?) and Ginny Glenn (Gloria DeHaven, in a double role without any discernible reason), a scientist from the conveniently situated local marine research lab, we soon learn all there is to learn about the monster, namely that it's a relation of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, just with cancer cells instead of the vegetable part, a proboscis for sucking blood and other stuff (some part of it is made of tungsten???) that doesn't make any sense.

After some (useless) fun with explosives, a middle-aged love interlude and a few more deaths, our scientific scientists finally develop a method to catch the monster. They build a Blood Scent Generator (TM, I suppose) to lure poor Elroy out and mistreat him with fire extinguishers until he drops down unconscious. Alas, not every old movie hand will survive this little escapade!

Having caught the true hero of the film with still nearly twenty minutes of runtime to fill, what better way to do this than by flying in ichthyologist John Warner (Leo Gordon!) - just to sprout a little more "scientific" nonsense.

If you paid attention you might have noticed that a) the monster is still alive and b) Elroy hasn't abducted a female cast member yet. I think you can draw your own conclusions about what will happen next.

After the mainstream and the producers of B grade schlock had deserted the traditional American cheap monster movie with a guy in an even cheaper monster suit sub-sub-genre, it was time for the heroic efforts of local filmmakers to fill in the hole AIP left in our hearts. Often, this lead to films with merits even more dubious than the merits of the worst of early Roger Corman, but from time to time it gifted us (slimy, stinking) pearls like Bog. Now I'm not saying Bog is a good movie (although I kinda do, because I kinda think so). It's just an absolutely perfect specimen of its kind (at least as perfect as Elroy).

Bog's awesomeosity, let me count your ways:

  1. Terrible cheesy theme song, that has nothing to do with the film? Check.
  2. A monster suit so ugly you'll see more frightening things on Halloween (even in Germany)? Check.
  3. "Science" that even I know is oh-so-wrong? (Also, science that lets a bunch of dead scientist rotate in their graves so heartily that the Earth's roation itself is changing?) Check.
  4. Dialogue so phony you can't help but admire the actors for not giggling? Check.
  5. "Acting"? Check.
  6. Plotting written with two "d" and making no damn sense at all? Check.
  7. More local colour than you can shake a (swampy, slimy) stick at? Also, offensive backwoods people clichés and sudden appearance of not racistically written black person? Double check!

If you need more reasons to not walk, but run, to the nearest den of iniquity that sells films like this, I'm not just not able to help you anymore, I'm frankly not willing!



Todd said...

I'm intrigued by the fact that this has a theme song. Does it at least have the word "bog" in it? I know that it's too much to ask that the song actually be called "Bog", though that would be awesome beyond words. I'm thinking something along the lines of...

Bog, bog
Wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style some daaay

Is that at all close?

houseinrlyeh said...

Now that would make sense, and we can't have that!

So the theme song is called "Walk With Me" and is a cheesy love ballad. Probably the song Elroy sings to his Chosen Woman (as the film puts it) "before the injection".

Todd said...

Rather than make you describe what that "injection" entails, I think I'll just see the movie.