In Search of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness DVD Review
DVD Review- In Search of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness (Drive-In Collection Double Feature)
Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Street Date: August 12th 2014
Technical Specifications: 480P Video, Color, 1.33:1/1.85:1 Aspect Ratios, Mono Audio
Runtime: 76 Minutes/91 Minutes
If you’re a cult and exploitation film fan and are somehow unfamiliar with Vinegar Syndrome, you need to get acquainted fast! Operating out of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the company has been putting out some fantastic vintage erotica, cult horror films, and other genres onto DVD and Blu-Ray for the past few years. With this brand new release of In Search of Bigfoot and Cry Wilderness (part of their Drive-In Collection of double features), they have taken us on yet another fascinating journey into cinema obscurity.
In Search of Bigfoot (1975) – Directed by Lawrence Crowley and William Miller, this documentary follows a group of scientists, researchers, anthropologists and other experts as they journey into the Washington wilderness to locate the elusive Sasquatch (Bigfoot). The leader of the gang of researchers, Morgan, claims to have personally come face-to-face with the creature 20 years prior to the filming of the documentary, which propelled him to launch this expedition. This is actually a fairly well made documentary on the subject, even with its corny voice-over and overzealous obsession from the crew. It reminds you of a cheesy film reel a science teacher may have shown their students in the 1970’s, but at the same time, remains very informative of not only the legend itself, but the surrounding Washington wilderness. This one comes recommended, even though it’s clearly a “watch once” kind of film (unless you’re a Bigfoot fanatic).
Cry Wilderness (1986) – In this low-budget offering, a young boy at a Private school insists to his headmaster that he befriended Bigfoot last summer while visiting his father, a forest ranger. After getting in quite a bit of trouble for what the headmaster deems as lying, and being told by Bigfoot himself that his father is in danger, the boy runs away from the school, hitch-hiking his way to the wilderness to visit his father once more. Upon arrival, the boy, his father, and their friends have frequent run-ins with the Sasquatch, who remains fairly hidden for the most part. When the boy becomes separated from the group and with hunters on the creature’s tail, Bigfoot’s there to save the day and teach a lesson or two for those that wish to deprive nature of its natural beauty. This is a really bizarre but ultimately harmless family film, utilizing some cheap effects and a B-squad of acting talent, but also showcasing some beautiful scenery and impressive footage of various animals in the wild. I’m not sure if I was supposed to laugh out loud at some of the dubbed voices and Bigfoot’s “Santa Claus” laugh, but I sure did, and ultimately enjoyed this odd gem for the most part.
Vinegar Syndrome presents In Search of Bigfoot and Cry Wilderness with brand new transfers that were scanned in 2K from the original camera negatives. The 16mm source for In Search of Bigfoot looks outstanding and generally lacks the artifacts or anomalies you would see in most footage from the time period. Even with the occasional scratch or debris, the colors look outstanding and the detail is surprisingly clear, even in standard definition. Cry Wilderness exhibits a bit more inherent softness on the print, but looks fairly clean and consistent throughout. Black levels are solid for the most part, and colors are strong and authentic to the time period. For the most part, both films look really good, and hats off to Vinegar Syndrome for the restoration work they have done here.
With a solo Mono audio track for both films, the audio is never very impressive, but it’s clear and audible enough for the DVD format. Running a little front-heavy with a “tinny” sound, the dynamic range is never there, but honestly, who cares, right? As mentioned before, both of these films are rather obscure and it’s delightful just to have them on DVD on this double feature set.
Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD for In Search of Bigfoot/Cry Wilderness doesn’t have any special features to speak of. There are chapter selections located in the main menu labeled “reels”, but no trailers or commentaries are found on the disc. I believe that most would say that the films themselves are quite enough, given that the movies presented here are rather obscure and catered to cult audiences who seek out films of this nature.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this DVD edition from Vinegar Syndrome features the original theatrical posters for both films within the “Drive-In Collection” retro case design. I really dig the style utilized on this series, which emphasis the cult fun and grindhouse style posters for these films. On the reverse of the case you’ll find a plot synopsis for both films, some technical specifications, and production stills.
Vinegar Syndrome’s Drive-In Collection has offered up some tasty cult and exploitation treats, and this double feature for In Search of Bigfoot & Cry Wilderness stands apart from the collection in its focus and family friendly tone. In Search of Bigfoot is fairly informative on both the subject and surrounding nature in Washington’s forests, and Cry Wilderness is a cheesy but harmless family film with some unintentional laughs to boot. The transfers have been restored from the original camera negative, and look surprisingly detailed for the DVD format. Though the audio track is a little lacking in terms of power, I’m not sure the audience that seeks out these kinds of films would even notice. I really enjoy these DVD gems that Vinegar Syndrome puts out, and this collection comes recommended for fans of strange cinematic oddities.