The movie Creature from Black Lake (1976) is an American horror film written and directed by Joy N. Houck Jr. The film follows two anthropology students from the University of Chicago who attempt to document the Fouke Monster, a Bigfoot-like creature who is said to torment a small Louisiana community .
After hearing a lecture on unknown, humanoid creatures such as Bigfoot and the Fouke Monster, two University of Chicago students, Pahoo and Rives, decide to spend their spring break pursuing the story and journey from Chicago to the Louisiana-Arkansas border. There they begin interviewing witnesses, first a family that suffered a car crash when the creature menaced them on the road, killing the parents of a young child, Orville Bridges. Pahoo and Rives stay with Orville and his grandparents, who are reluctant to speak with them, fearing they will portray them as superstitious rednecks, but soon take a liking to the students .
Grandpaw Bridges regales them with stories about encounters with the creature, including one in which he witnessed it viciously murdering his pet dog. Late in the night at the family’s rural farm, the household is awoken by sinister, guttural screams coming from the woods, which Pahoo and Rives are quick to attempt documenting with a tape recorder. At a local diner, the men meet two local women, Becky and Michelle, who take an obvious liking to them. The men invite them to come visit their campsite that evening in the nearby state park .
Shortly after the women arrive in the movie Creature from Black Lake (1976), the group are attacked by the creature, who begins stalking them outside their tent during a rainstorm . Moments later, Sheriff Carter, Becky’s father, storms into the tent, ordering the girls to leave before arresting Pahoo and Rives and holding them in the county jail. Meanwhile, local Joe Canton, whom the students previously encountered, is accosted by the creature in his backwoods shack. He defends himself against it with a rifle¹. When he stumbles into the police station raving about the creature, Carter dismisses Canton as a raving drunk, and also keeps him overnight in the holding cell with Pahoo and Rives. Canton recounts to the men his first encounter with the creature from years prior, when it pulled his friend and fellow fisherman, H. B., into the lake, killing him .
- Jack Elam as Joe Canton
- Dub Taylor as Grandpaw Bridges
- Dennis Fimple as Pahoo
- John David Carson as Rives
- Bill Thurman as Sheriff Billy Carter
- Jim McCullough Jr. as Orville Bridges
- Roy Tatum as Fred
- Cathryn Hartt as Eve – Waitress
- Becky Smiser as Becky Carter
- Michelle Willingham as Michelle
- Evelyn Hindricks as Grandma Bridges
- Roger Pancake as H.B.
- Karen Brooks as Orville’s Mother
- Chase Tatum as Baby Orville
- Bob Kyle as Rufus
- Joy N. Houck Jr. as Prof. Burch
The film’s theatrical poster was painted (and signed) by Ralph McQuarrie, who went on to become a celebrated conceptual artist/designer, most notably in Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and Cocoon.
The film was re-released theatrically in 1982 as part of a multi-film package called “5 Deranged Features” .
According to a review on Genregrinder, the movie is a scrappy, low-budget, regional bigfoot flick with some notable names attached to it .
A review on The Digital Bits refers to the movie as a no-budget production, it still has plenty of rough edges, but there’s more going on here than you might expect .
McBastard’s Mausoleum describes the movie as a scrappy, low-budget, regional bigfoot flick with some notable names attached to it .