We’ve all seen the various filmographies of the major archetypal monsters of film, fiction, and folklore: vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. These are the standard reference works that sit on the shelves of every serious horror fan. But have you ever found yourself wanting a comprehensive reference guide to every Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, and Abominable Snowman appearance in a film, TV show, commercial, or music video? You have? Well, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what screenwriter and Bigfoot expert David Coleman has produced. This truly is a massive, encyclopedic tome. Like all such works, it’s not generally the sort of thing you read cover-to-cover in a single sitting; you’ll want to savor it slowly and keep it on the shelf to refer back to as needed.
The book opens with a lengthy essay that introduces Coleman’s description of the genre – what he calls “Ciné du Sasquatch” – that provides a thorough history and cultural contextualization of films about Bigfoot and his ilk from around the world. The bulk of this hefty book (running well over 300 pages) contains lengthy descriptions and analyses of individual films from around the world: from 30-second commercials to feature-length films and everything in-between. This filmography is the heart of the book. Most descriptions are several lengthy paragraphs, while others run for a couple pages. Movie stills and posters are interspersed throughout. Coleman does not restrict himself to just purely fictional films; he also reviews the various Bigfoot documentaries that purport to provide real footage of Bigfoot and his kind. Coleman concludes with a series of brief interviews with filmmakers who have produced new works about Bigfoot and the like in the last decade. These are well-done; I would have liked to see more of these interviews, but the ones included are interesting reading. I won’t even pretend to have seen more than a small fraction of the films Coleman analyzes, despite my (admittedly casual) interest in cryptozoology, but I will say that I have placed a number of the films described here on my Netflix queue. How could I not watch a raunchy comedy like “Yeti: A Love Story” (2006)?
I wasn’t kidding about this being a comprehensive guide. I think that anyone but the most hardcore fan of Bigfoot would be hard-pressed to cite a significant appearance that’s not covered here (I wanted to see a full write-up of the classic “Jonny Quest” yeti episode alluded to a couple times, as that show is a favorite of mine, but that was the only one that came to my mind). Coleman seems to genuinely love the genre, and has clearly devoted decades of his life to the films of these creatures. He includes write-ups of films so obscure that I doubt many of his readers will ever have the chance to see in person, making his descriptions and analyses all the more valuable. At times, I did feel that Coleman’s definition of Bigfoot- and yeti-related films was stretched too broadly: I wouldn’t have included the “Planet of the Apes” films, as they seem to draw on entirely different tropes and traditions than Bigfoot, but that’s a fairly minor quibble.
If you are seriously interested in the legends, stories, and images of Bigfoot and the yeti, this one is a must-read. If you are a student of cryptozoology, interested in the cultural contexts of these kinds of critters, or a serious fan of B-movies and psychotronic films, then THE BIGFOOT FILMOGRAPHY is highly recommended. It does exactly what it sets out to do – provide a unique reference guide to all such filmic appearances – and does it well. I can’t imagine that Coleman’s reference guide will ever be surpassed by another author.
Review copyright 2012 J. Andrew Byers