A mystical, murderous beast of lore has suddenly appeared in the woods of a small Pennsylvanian town. Hikers, fishermen, urbanites, and even grandmothers are not safe from the carnage dished out by Bigfoot. Sniffing around crime scenes is eager freelance reporter Rick Harlan to unearth the truth about the recent string of grisly attacks and make a name for himself as a journalist. Harlan finds himself in the middle of a police coverup, a Native American woman-warrior, and one suburban playground where a phasing in-and-out Sasquatch can make a killing whenever and wherever. The Native American, Talia, is destined to square off against the evilest anthropoid her tribe has ever faced, one that thirsts for blood and does the unspeakable with the women it abducts. The story and clash of the century may be Rick and Talia’s last in this brutal man versus beast showdown.
As an aficionado of the horror genre, I’m on what seems to be an eternal quest to unearth the best (I’ll even settle for just good at this point) Bigfoot/Sasquatch film that really can scare the pants off viewers while providing a good storyline and solid special effects for the hairy big guy. Is that so much to ask? The next undertaking to flash across our eyes, like a brisk fur of man-beast in the forest thicket, is the classic SOV-shot and shamelessly spooled special effects endeavor that is “Suburban Sasquatch.” The 2004 Dave Wascavage film is the sophomore project for the writer-director, following up from his deadly fungi party comedy-horror, “Fungicide,” with a shot at the title for best-worst, or is it worst-best, Bigfoot movie in the early 2000s. Shot in my old stomping grounds of West Chester, Pennsylvania, the suburban setting is authentically captured in that piece of the Commonwealth state with sprawling neighbors that give wide berth of land between houses and plenty of parks and wooded areas to Sasquatch-suit tramps. Wascavage produces the film himself, while also wearing multiple hats in many other crew roles and creates the feature under the filmmaker’s very own Troubled Moon Films, a production company that prides itself on low-cost video production and storytelling in which Wascavage self-proclaims Z grade movie making results.
“Suburban Sasquatch” is a pendulum swing between character perspectives, disassociating any one character from being a main lead and focusing more on a group of principals that even includes the suburban sasquatch itself. If focusing on the heroes of the story, or the hero-ish types, then Rick Harlan (Bill Ushler, “Viscera”), Talia (Sue Lynn Sanchez), and the two officers – John Rush (Dave Bonita) and Steve Parker (Juan Fernandez) – would be your best bet as the unorganized protagonists deal with the beastly menace in their own way. The acting is forced and rigid all around but not entirely at the cast’s culpability. The script is extremely breathy and scenes last too long by lingering exposition that resulted in the film’s too-lengthy 100-minute runtime, likely drafted as a shorter run film but dialogue was added to flesh out a full-fledged feature. Even so, performances are blankly vanilla and, to be fair, that’s to be expected inside the low-budget market. Dave Weldon, Rush, Parker, and even director Wascavage himself enact Bigfoot’s posturing and behavior familiar to a mountainous silverback gorilla with wild cupped hands waving overhead and while this seems silly in the obviously cost-efficient makeshift suit packed with unnatural folds of the stomach, a bulging bosom, and a mouth that chews like a latex-fitted gumming grandmother, the trio make the best of Bigfoot’s monstrosity and hirsute lumbering to the point of knowing what you’re getting in a sasquatch for the rest of the film. It’s all about consistency, especially when four actors interpret the movements. Wes Miller, Dallas Quinn, Troy Stephen Sanders, Loretta Wascavage, Edward Wascavage, and David Sitborn, who I thought had the most natural dialogue in the entire story, rounds out “Suburban Sasquatch’s” mania.
Has “Suburban Sasquatch” become the Bigfoot film of my long-awaited dreams? Unfortunately, no. However, what the 2004 inexpensive picture offers is invaluable cabbalism that theorizes one reason why Bigfoot is only briefly caught out of the corner one’s eye, a peripheral phantom, with a phasing feature that allows Bigfoot to go in and out of reality. Like a good b-movie horror writer-director, Wascavage also capitalizes on the creature’s stature by not only arranging a towering comparison against his enemy and food but also by fabricating a big hairy foot, larger than man’s chest, to emphasize more on the beast’s epithet. In order to achieve the height, Wascavage uses easy, practical tricks to jumboize, such as playing with different depths, but Wascavage, in another one of his many hats, also attempts his hand at crude computer generated graphics that stretch beyond the images’ limits to achieve his desired effect. Pixelated and warped without any depth or any amount of smoothness, the cut and paste photoshopped animation is jerry-built “Monty Python” at its worst in a so bad its worth seeing phenomena and certainly priceless for internet memedom, especially when coupled with severed appendages doctored from the local Spirit Halloween flying in all different directions in a Bigfoot’s fit of animalism. A couple of slashing eviscerations, a head-popping decapitation, caricature arrows and tomahawks, attack crows, and a whole lot of thwacks summarize much of the monkey business violence “Suburban Sasquatch” unfurls and while not completely bottom-of-the-barrel terrible, translating better than most SOV post-work, this Bigfoot berserker extends the search for a better entry in the subgenre.
Much like the first three predecessors on the Wild Eye Releasing Visual Vengeance banner, “Suburban Sasquatch” receives a massive, special features loaded Blu-ray upgrade coming in catalogued at number four. Also, like the first three volumes, Visual Vengeance precautions viewers about the source material quality, an array of standard definition master tapes. The region free release is presented unrated in full-frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio and the picture quality fairs better than most SOV releases. While still heavy on the electrical interference with dancing pixels finding difficulty delineating the image, there is less tracking line obstructions and no macroblocking. Details are standard definition quality with softer details, more like smudgy, in the natural color tones and lighting. The English language lossy stereo audio mix has no punch behind unlike Bigfoot who comes out swinging like Rocky Balboa in every human encounter. I would take a wild guess and say the audio is more mono as every aspect from the dialogue to the soundtrack sounds muffled or muted, likely door to poor audio recording equipment and no boom mic, making the actors’ articulation often difficult to hear. Sound effects are the only mix that has any kind of stereo potency with an overboard variation of the impact or ambient sound that adds to “Suburban Sasquatch’s” slipshod satire. Optional English subtitles are available. But if you’re buying the release because you’re interested in the special features, then Visual Vengeance has you covered with a brand new 2021 audio commentary featuring director David Wascavage, a second commentary with Sam Panico of B&S About Movie and Bill Van Ryn of Drive-In Asylum, and a third commentary track, a RiffTrax episode special, that provides hilarious MST3K-like comedy throughout the feature. Other bonus material includes an archival behind the scenes featurette, the designing of the Bigfoot costume, outtakes, the so-called CGI making-of, an interview from David Wascavage, a behind-the-scenes image gallery, the original teaser and theatrical trailer, and other Visual Vengeance trailers. The physical release itself comes with a cardboard slipcover with artwork with new artwork, a reversible Blu-ray cover with the original artwork on the inside, a two-sided insert, retro VHS stickers, and a mini poster. All that is missing, beside the link, is the kitchen sink. To conclude, Visual Vengeance ample format and bonus material enrichment doesn’t take away from the fact that “Suburban Sasquatch” remains the trashiest sasquatchsploitation on SOV ever!