Dallas filmmaker Todd Jenkins’ flick takes two right turns before we get to Sasquatch slaughter time
We’re continuing to stumble here through the brambles, cocklespur, thistle and thorns of the country’s uncharted forests in search of Bigfoot (because he’s A LOT easier to spot when the leaves are falling), and this week’s flick – Cherokee Creek — zigs and zags its way to a big body count at the end with detours into the heist genre and buddy comedy realm before getting into the wilderness massacre part.
Todd Jenkins, an actor out of Plano, Texas, was the driving force behind this passion project — acting, directing, writing and editing this one. He likely had some involvement in the food service for the production as well, doing everything his ownself and getting a crew together a couple years ago along with friend and veteran Texas actor Billy Blair, then shooting the movie out on some family wilderness in Melissa, Texas. He sunk thousands of his own funds into the flick.
The shame about Cherokee Creek is that Jenkins got an absolute raw deal from digital aggregator Distribber and also ran into some B.S. with Amazon that resulted in the censorship of the flick that disrupted the release. (So it’s no wonder that he and Blair essentially cut a promo against the world’s biggest retailer and film pirates on the disc containing by my count 37 F-bombs).
But, since we here at the Joe Bob Briggs website owe just a little bit to the Dallas area, and we dig free speech, here’s hoping the review helps to get some eyeballs on his flick, which might be offensive to some and a throwback to some revered 1980s classics to others.
The flick opens with two guys hunting for Bigfoot in an unidentified wilderness location canoeing down Cherokee Creek into a restricted area. They’re talking about a million-dollar reward that they’ll get by killing a Bigfoot with the boss guy, Rowdy (Terry Dale Parks), making it clear to his mathematically challenged sidekick Cletus (Ray Hosak) that in order to hunt a Bigfoot, you have to follow these rules to avoid being killed:
- No pissing or shitting in the woods.
- No loud noises.
- No jacking off, because Bigfoot is territorial.
Of course, the incompetent Cletus dumps a jug of urine all over the place while relieving himself behind a tree, drawing the wrath of Bigfoot and getting himself clawed to death. Rowdy’s marksmanship fails him and he also falls victim.
We then cut to a trio of dudes in a van casing a house. They talk about sex, don ski masks (one inside out) and bust into the house brandishing guns. They surprise a guy on the toilet, who faints, falls off and never has a chance to wipe.
They drive the guy out to the same woods where the first scene happened, and it looks like we’re going to get a Boondocks Saints headshot to the poor guy with the dirty drawers. (The kidnappers weren’t too excited about wiping his butt).
But surprise — the abduction was a setup. The victim, Pat (Justin Armstrong), is getting married, and the two guys kidnapping him — Jinx (Jenkins) and Vinny Blades (Blair) — are his buddies who whisked him away for a bachelor party in the woods. Those very same woods are where Bigfoot lurks, and these folks and the other handful of people attending the party don’t know the rules.
• Best Stick to the Formula: They did a good job with the prologue scene that not only gets the first two kills out of the way, but also establishes the rules for the creature.
• Best Way to Supplement Your Income: Vinny charges $40 for a selfie/autograph from fellow partygoer Chad. When Chad takes a crummy picture and asks for a reshoot, Vinny gets another $21 out of him.
• Best Right-Hand Turn: When the kidnapping aspect of the flick is revealed to be all a setup to get Pat out in the woods for his bachelor party.
• Second-best Right-Hand Turn: When Bigfoot shows up at the bachelor party and starts slaughtering folks in increasingly messy manners, especially those folks who answer nature’s call.
• Best Cabin Fever Homage: Park Ranger Bates (Nellie Sciutto) comes not to arrest the bachelor party attendees, especially after meeting Vinny, but to party.
• Best Dual Role: The guy who played the strippers’ handler (Anthony Phoenix) also was the main guy in the Bigfoot suit.
• Best Bang for their Bucks: Jinx arranges a little deal with Lacey and Bambi, the strippers he hired for Pat’s party, resulting in multiple violations of Bigfoot Rule 3 above.
• Second-best Bang for the Buck: Fiancee Caroline (Olivia Sabini) gets lambasted by the owner of the La Bare male strip club (James Yeager) when she doesn’t pay her tab: “I see you spending money every weekend on dicks like it’s crack — two dances and three drinks.”
• Best Reasons to Wear a Codpiece: Both Jarrett (Justin Duncan) and Jinx lose their whangdoodles in about a two-minute span.
• Best Friends Till the End: After Jinx is attacked by Bigfoot, has a member dismembered in unusual fashion and then loses a hand in a bear trap, Vinny holds onto the severed parts of his pal through the next few scenes in the hopes that both could be reattached. Jinx’s last words on screen: “I got no hand, no dick. I can’t even jack off anymore.”
Here’s hoping Jenkins and Blair decide to do more together – their chemistry is undeniable in their scenes together and in the pre- and post-credits interludes as “The Kidnappers,” a ski-masked and vulgar criminal comedy duo with supremely foul mouths. Severed whangdoodles and garbonzas aside, a couple of the comedy/gore bits in Cherokee Creek don’t quite achieve the extreme level of a Troma flick, say Poultrygeist, and some of the scenes miss opportunities for taking the gags to an even-more absurd comedy. Also, from a horror perspective, it runs about two hours with a pretty long interlude between Bigfoot kills and a lot of talking at the bachelor party.
But if Jenkins and Blair get a chance to refine the recipe a little bit and decide to give it another shot – the kidnapper characters would work well in an absurdist crime comedy – they’ll be pushing four stars.
Three stars. Cherokee Creek fulfills all the tenets of a drive-in flick with blood, breasts and one teed-off beast that kills everybody who goes to the bathroom in his territory. (We had to implement a half-star deduction because the one vital Bigfoot rule established by The Six Million Dollar Man was not followed – the creature did not flip a vehicle.)
Check Cherokee Creek out by buying it on Blu-ray directly from Scream Team Releasing. It’s also available on a couple of digital platforms, but it’s better to give direct to the source: Jenkins had a hell of a time getting it in front of an audience, and every little bit helps.