The second foray into our now-annual Bigfoot flick quest this year coincidentally finds us looking eastward again in the NewYork-avania area (judging by the license plates on the vehicles) for the big, stinky, hairy hulk of a creature except this time he’s hanging out in the woods outside a (fictional) body farm in Wyoming County, N.Y.
Why a body farm? Well, because we’re checking out Bigfoot vs. Zombies, and it’s easier to get a bunch of corpses walking around attacking people if they’re all lying around exposed to the elements and dressed up in random outfits to start the flick. Let’s face it, Mark Polonia, who was the writer/director of this one, was on a budget and he needed an easy way to cram in some references to Dawn of the Dead, Burial Ground and Return of the Living Dead as well as explain the inconsistent appearance of the zombies (some of em wear masks and some of em are circa 1978 Tom Savini gray). Polonia wanted to make a Bigfoot flick AND a zombie flick and you need to set things up just right so that everything makes sense.
So this one starts out with Bigfoot-o-vision with a cam roving out in the majestic woods over a deep synth score reminiscent of Fabio Frizzi’s work in Zombi 2 or City of the Living Dead with lots of growling noises over nature footage in the middle of the summer (cause the foliage is lush and green).
But then, after the credits are done, it’s suddenly autumn and the first words out of this blonde photographer’s mouth are “Who’s there?” as she takes pictures of leaves and tree bark as Bigfoot stalks her. But then he doesn’t really stalk her and she ends up farting around the woods awhile taking selfies with her Nikon and asking if there’s anybody out there and then considering whether to trespass on the Wyoming County Body Farm or not. (She does.)
We then get to meet everyone else. There’s a security guard who hits on Renee (Danielle Donahue), the lone lady of the office who looks at pictures of guys in their underwear when she should be working the spreadsheets, over the radio and extracts a gate fee of one porn mag per entry from Ed (Dave Fife) and Stu (James Carolus), a pair of hospital workers who are delivering a couple of corpses to the body farm in a maroon GMC van that’s seen better days. They both hit on Renee when they get into the office.
The head scientist guy who’s in charge of the body farm, Dr. Peele (Jeff Kirkendall), is too busy to hit on Renee. He is working on this black gunk in an open flask that is supposed to decompose dead flesh quicker. But it also has the side effect of reanimating the corpses out in the wild after Andy, a guy in a ball cap and Carhartt overalls, dumps a single barrel of the black toxic crap off his truck bed, talks about how he hates his job and then drives away as the canister leaks. Andy comes back to the office and hits on Renee.
From the one canister and the injections Peele has been putting in the corpses, 12 or so zombies in various stages of makeup are resurrected over this many-acre compound and start staggering around in formation so that it looks like there’s a bigger threat than the budget allows, and they occasionally attack folks so that some red corn syrup can be thrown into the shot along with the same prop severed arm to add some dismemberment to the proceedings.
This hunter guy named Duke Larson (Ken Van Sant) is called in because Dr. Peele thinks wildlife is eating the corpses when they’re actually walking around. Duke surveys the scene after he arrives, hits on Renee, mistakes some Bigfoot scat for bear or mountain lion poop and then kills a bunch of zombies. I lost count, but he might have killed more of em than the undersized Bigfoot did when all was said and done.
The zombies stomp around, to get through the farm’s fence and advance the plot, Bigfoot smuggles himself onto the body farm property in the back of Duke’s 1990s Jeep Wrangler (he’s not really that big). There’s banter between characters, a stoner scene, static camera work and lots of telling when there should be showing. Ed ends up being the one to score with Renee. The fights between the zombies and Bigfoot end up being the zombies dogpiling on Sasquatch. There’s also some CGI blood involved.
The zombies start talking like in Return of the Living Dead (or at least a couple of the fresh ones do) and that’s because Polonia needed to get as many references to other classic zombie flicks in the short (like the Bigfoot) hour and 18 minutes of runtime, which gets us to …
Best Budget-Conscious Way to Simulate Blood & Guts: An orange handkerchief dipped in barbecue sauce when the security guard gets killed, plus they use the same severed arm that they ripped off of the flick’s first kill and throw it into the frame.
Best Budget-Conscious Way to Ensure Continued Operation of a Body Farm: Peele shrugs off the inconsistent results of his experimentation, saying, “These bodies don’t last too long for some reason, but pay no mind, it’s good for business,” and “I wonder how long the new serum will take to have an effect.” and “At a time like this, we need to stick together.”
Best-Suited for Zombie Killing: Duke, complete with sweet perm, sleeveless camouflage wardrobe and a Jeep, proves to be as good as Dean Miller (Nightmare City) at killing zombies and says of Ed, “Maybe his broom sweeps both ways.”
Best Besieged Character, Knowledge-Wise: Ed tells everyone, “I’ve seen Dawn of the Dead many times” and feeds Bigfoot some Altoids to help with his halitosis.
Best Advice for Any Filmmaker Considering Doing a Bigfoot Flick: Have the tallest person you can find play Bigfoot so that way when there’s a melee with zombies or a scene where Bigfoot is saving some people he at least looks big when compared to the other folks in the scene.
Final verdict on this one is one lonely star. Bigfoot’s not big, even for a juvenile Sasquatch. There are no cars flipped over, as is required by the groundbreaking episode of The Six Million Dollar Man from the 1970s. There is a weak attempt at a Bigfoot footprint when he’s stomping around inside a garage. This one has a zero breast count even though Renee is hot to trot and hooks up with Ed in the rickety GMC van. For Bigfoot flick completists only and only if sufficiently prepared with the choicest substance needed to endure a one-star flick akin to Things.
Speaking of one, Polonia did one more Bigfoot flick, 2018’s Frozen Sasquatch (wouldn’t that just be a Yeti?) and has recently turned his focus to the ocean, putting out about seven shark movies in the past two years, according to his IMDb page. Bigfoot vs. Zombies is available to watch for free on TubiTV and the Roku Channel or you can seek out a physical copy.
Next up: Bigfoot gets out of the wilderness.