Your film Bigfoot's Wild Weekend - in a few words, what is it
Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
is a comedy adventure
feature film. It's the story of a small Sierra mountain town whose
residents and visiting tourists experience strange and wild encounters
with a creature commonly discribed as Bigfoot. Hearing about the sightings
and contacts from the local Sheriff, a national tabloid newspaper sends a
cub reporter to investigate. The tabloid also offers a $25,000 reward for
the creature dead or alive. This sets off a chain of events which brings
local hillbillies, reform school girls, campers, a biker gang, stoners and
others searching to locate the "monster" and collect the reward.
It's a sexy fun-filled 85 minute romp through the woods with plenty of
action and laughs.
A very basic question: Why Bigfoot?
And who did actually come up with the original idea for Bigfoot's Wild Weekend?
idea for this film came to director = me over a year and a half ago, well
before the current interest in Bigfoot as seen on recent television
programs and in the movie theaters. After being an executive producer on
the feature film Super Shark (directed by Fred Olen Ray), I began to look
for a project of my own. Long interested in things supernatural and
unexplained, an idea was hatched for a low budget project which featured
one of my favorite cryptids: Sasquatch. At first I thought about just your
run-of-the-mill horror film, but having spent the past eighteen years
associated in some small capacity with B movies (naked girls, guns, fast
cars & monsters), I couldn't help myself from bringing these elements
to my picture. Hence, the working title went from "Bloody
Bigfoot" to "Bigfoots Wild Weekend". With a new title and
the B movie formula, I began to write an outline to present to the people
I had in mind for my key production staff. The rest is history.
can you tell us about Bigfoot's Wild Weekend's evolution from idea
to paper to film? And a few words about your co-writers?
I created the body of the story of Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
in a 15 page outline with the help of my son Nick and some
input from my wife Sue. I presented the outline to an acquaintance, Ryan
Ramos, who said he would attempt to write a script from my ideas. Ryan did
have experience in writting for short films and commercials, but this
would be his first attempt at a full-fledged script. When I did receive
his first draft, I was blown away with his treatment of my concept. It was
funny and entertaining with just the right mix of naked girls, crazy
hillbillies and the monster. I had few minor concerns with some of the
language in a couple of scenes, which we replaced with less obscene
dialog. It required about two months to develop a completed script.
has been the subject of tons of (pseudo-)scientific studies and (unscientific) feature films. What can you tell us about your research on
the subject? And some of your favourite "sources"?
I have hand an interest in
the subject of Bigfoot
since the 1960s. I was a high school student when Roger Patterson
encountered the creature here in California at Bluff Creek. I've read a
lot of material on cryptozoology and Sasquatch in particular over the
years. I have also lived in the mountains of California for over thirty
years and heard many stories and reports of incidents of Bigfoot
sightings. It seemed natural for me to create a story about this elusive
creature to bring to the screen, and that's what I've done.
key aspect of any Bigfoot-movie
is of course finding the right costume for the hairy guy. What can you
tell us about yours, and a few words about your Bigfoot-actor
Making an ultra low budget feature film and
finding an affordable creature costume effect really doesn't make a good
fit. When we began planning for Bigfoot's Wild Weekend, it was to be a
local project with local talent and a miniscule budget of around $
10,000. The costume was an unknown quantity, and the original idea was
to find a Halloween gorilla
costume and beef it up. As planning went
forward, the budget began to grow. We located Hollywood actors and
nearby experienced entertainers willing to work on the project at
reduced rates. We found some great locations which could be had at very
affordable prices and realized that the production value of the picture
was increasing with every new discovery of talent and set location.
With the quality of people coming to the project, I did not feel we
could get away with a cheap costume which would look fake and
unbelievable on screen. Through some research we were able to find a
high quality Bigfoot-costume which would work well for our picture. And
One thing that I did not discover until
later is that many other filmmakers have used this same costume in their
films. Most recently Sweet
Prudence and the Erotic Adventures of Bigfoot - it's the exact same costume we rented for
Bigfoot's Wild Weekend! A friend asked
if I was disappointed about having such a well-used costume-effect in my
picture. The short answer is - NO! The costume added a lot of value to
the project and if nothing else, the viewing public will see that Bigfoot
has consistently the same look from film to film.
D.T. Carney as Bigfoot with Jeff Murray
David Novak, David Bradford
One thing about the costume was that the
actor wearing it needed to be between 6' 4" and 6' 9" for a
proper fit. I was fortunate to find an experienced nearby actor with
many IMDb credits by the name of D.T. Carney. Just happens that D.T. is
6' 7" and of perfect build for the costume. With the high rental
price, we could only afford the thing for two days and as fate would
have it, both days were over 100 degrees during filming here in
California in July. D.T. was a real trouper and made it through both days
without incident or complaint. He also has a cameo in the picture as a
normal local resident who reports an encounter with the creature.
What can you tell us about the rest of your
The star of Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
Novak who plays Sheriff Bubba Lopez. David has appeared in many films
and television shows including Days of Our Lives, General
Passions and more. His Sci-Fi history includes SuperCroc,
and Super Shark, all Fred Olen Ray-films. I met David on the set of
Shark and enjoyed his acting ability. He was my first choice to play the
Sheriff in our film.
Other cast menbers include Chase Carter as
the cub reporter Harlan James, and Nicole Parsneau as his love interest
Simone Jennings, a local television reporter. Both have had loads of
acting experience, but this is their first feature project.
Ron Blackwell plays Chester Scoggins the
Hillbilly Bigfoot Hunter and UFO contactee who searches and eventually
finds Bigfoot in a crazy trek through the woods. Ron recently starred in
the feature Showboys and has several other films under his belt.
Our reform school girls include Jeslin
Michelle, an experienced actress with many projects completed in film and
stage. Aja Chachanhsy, another of the "bad girls", recently went
into adult entertainment video and now has her own interactive website
and product line, Jesse James' Hollywood at 19. She is featured in several
nude and lesbian scenes in the picture and is also one of our popular
models in advertising materials for the film. Several other girls appear
as part of the "naughty" girl group, and all were great in
Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
has an ensemble cast
of over thirty five talented actors with mixed degrees of past film work
experience. A complete listing of cast and crew can be found of IMDb.com.
Having sufficiently covered the Bigfoot-part
of your movie title, let's move over to "Wild Weekend" - which
to me suggests quite a bit of sex and/or violence. Is there any truth to
this bold assumption, how far do you go concerning sex and violence, and
is there a line you refuse to cross?
This film is a comedy adventure, and the
violence is very minimal. There is enough sexual content to keep most
males interested throughout the picture. This includes topless swims,
nude sunbathing, lesbian love scenes, a bikini dance contest and other
nudity in the appropriate areas of the story. There are also lots of
guns and other weaponry in the movie while the hunt for Bigfoot
Shots are fired....but they don't always hit
the correct target!
What can you tell
us about your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
This being my directorial debute, it was a shaky process to start. My approach was to allow the actors to express
themselves and develop the role in a way that matched my vision for
that particular character. I liked getting input from the crew and ideas
from my assistant director Bryan Harley.
My only experience with how movies are made
was through my 18 year association with Fred Olen Ray. Having been on
many sets with Fred, and appearing in five of his films, I learned by
simply watching the process. I attended the Fred Ray film school so to
speak, and tried to emulate what I had seen him do over the years. I
don't know if I was successful in my efforts, but judging from the
reception that the picture received at our recent premiere, people seem
to like it and find it entertaining and funny.
would you describe your film's brand of humour, and do you consider
yourself a humourous person, actually?
I would have to say that my humor matches up
to that of days gone by. For example, I find Laurel &
Chase, Jackie Gleason, Harold Lloyd and Rodney Dangerfield to be
hilarious. Modern comedy just isn't funny to me. I think that Dennis
Miller is probably the only "comedian" I enjoy these days.
So, you might say that Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
has some slapstick-type comedy, cheesy burlesque gags and a few prat falls and
physical humor that actually work very well in the picture. There was
laughter throughout the screening during the premiere, and the audience
seemed to find it very enjoyable.
The $64 question
of course: When and where will the film be released?
are currently seeking distribution for the picture. Our screeners and
information packages with advertising materials and press kits will be
released to distributors in mid-July. We are very hopeful that the
picture will find it's way to television and DVD release throughout the
go back to the beginnings of your career: I've read somewhere that before
making movies, you have been a sideshow operator. What can you tell us
about that part of your career, and how did you become involved with
sideshows in the first place?
It's been a wild ride. After leaving high
school, I attended the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. I
graduated and passed my State of California licensing test as a Funeral
Director and Embalmer to spend nine years in the mortuary profession. I
had a of love of carnivals and sideshows since my childhood and had
harbored a desire to run away and join outdoor show business for many
years. I divorced my first wife in 1978 and began making plans to build
a carnival freak show. Another failed marriage after my first delayed my
efforts, and I eventually moved to the family ranch in Oakhurst
California where we opened a bar and small restaurent called the
Ahwahnee Inn, which I operated with my parents for about five years.
During this time I met my lovely wife Sue, and found that she also had a
desire to try something new and exciting. I did manage to purchase a
small trailer-mounted "grind show" from an old showman in
Washington state and we became "weekend carnies", showing the
attraction at small fairs and festivals in nearby towns. The show was
called the Arabian Giantess and featured a nine foot tall (paper mache)
mummified giant female corpse. The King Tut exhibit was making the
rounds in America at the time, so I re-titled the show "The
Egyptian Giantess" which only mildly increased ticket sales.
Eventually we sold our bar business, and as
luck would have it, a large working carnival sideshow owned by a well-known Florida showman came up for sale. I immediately purchased the show
sight unseen and rented a truck and traveled to Virginia to pick it up
at the close of the fair date where it was showing. It was a big tented
show with a 100 ft bannerline front and all equipment. We followed the
owner to his winterquarters in Florida where we obtained yet another
huge load of show displays, costumes and related materials, and headed
back to California. I booked a fair date on the return trip home so we
could start making money with the show right away. I had also hired one
of the acts who sort of came with the show, and Sue and I filled in
doing the blade box and electric chair acts, and I also lectured on the
preserved freak animals displayed in jars, while old Curley did fire
eating, sword swallowing and human pincushion. The show made money, but
we found that the 40ft X 60ft big top tent was about to fall apart on
us. That winter we purchased a new tent and opened for full time
business in the summer of 1984. I spent a total of 25 years in the freak
show business having worked with many famous human oddities and
displayed hundreds of curiosities both living and dead. We purchased
several complete sideshows from other showmen over the years and at one
time owned many preserved human freak fetuses including Billy Bryson the
two-headed child seen in the movie She
Freak. We also employed many
human freaks in our shows including Otis the Frog Boy, Milinda the
Monkey Girl, midgets Prince Arthur and little Richard Freeman, fat man
Howard Huge, and the famous tattooed man and champion sword swallower
Capt. Don Leslie, along with many others.
I still own many oddities and have enough
equipment to frame a show whenever I please. However, I've lost much of
my interest in the business and look forward to a lot of film work in
What got you into the
filmworld eventually, and how do sideshows and (genre-)filmmaking compare?
Jeff Murray with Kimberly and Fred Olen Ray
I got into the filmworld through my
association with Fred Olen Ray.
Back in the early 1990s, a friend and
business associate of mine who made "gaffs" (manufactured
oddities) told me of a customer he had in California who was interested
in building a sideshow and asked if I might assist in some way. I agreed
by making my phone number available and told my friend to have the
"would-be sideshow owner" give me a ring if he needed some
help. Wasn't long before the phone did ring and a voice on the other end
introduced himself as Fred Olen Ray.
It seems, like me, Fred had an interest in
freak shows from childhood and was ready to give outdoor show biz a go.
He had no intention of leaving the movie business, but wanted to explore
the carnival world and become active in the operation of his own
sideshow. Fred had already purchased a trailer mounted show called
TERRORS of the AMAZON, which toured a few dates on the East Coast and was
managed by a relative of his. The show did alright, but Fred wanted a
simpler operation, one which he could handle alone, playing nearby events
Eventually, Fred framed a truck-mounted show
called The Alligator Man, which exhibited a very well made
gaff of a creature wrapped like a mummy with the body of a human but the
head, hands and feet of an alligator. It was a creepy looking effect and
had many customers scratching their heads in wonderment.
I hooked Fred up with a number of nice fair
and celebration dates in Southern California at which I also booked a
couple of my shows. By this time, Fred and I were good friends and I
stayed at his home in Sherman Oaks on many occasions, and spent a good
deal of time together as well. There were also several movie projects on
Fred's schedule during these times including Mind Twister, Inner
Sanctum 2, Bikini Drive-In, Attack of the 60ft
Island and others all being juggled between carnival events. As time
passed, I was invited to appear in several of these features and also
supplied props, tents and other equipment on a few different sets. When
not doing a small role before the cameras, I was hanging around in the
background watching and learning about the filmmaking process. I wasn't
ready to leave the carnival business, but having fun with making movies
seemed like something I might eventually try.
After a few years of touring his Alligator
Man show and doing a big museum sideshow in partnership together, Fred
lost interest in the carny life and moved into professional wrestling.
He wrestled under the name Fabulous Freddie Valentine and did a great
job of training and getting himself into shape. He formed his own
wrestling federation and promoted shows in the LA area and also
wrestled some out of state dates. We began to lose track of each other
and it would be ten years before I met up with Fred Olen Ray again.
Funny how time flies, as they say. We
exchanged Christmas cards and an occasional email, but I hadn't seen Fred
in ten years when we made arrangements to meet up for lunch while I was
playing a date in SoCal. I had just about reached the end of my rope
with the sideshow business and was looking for another outlet. During
lunch we talked about a few past projects Fred had completed in which a
mutual friend had invested money as a producer. I thought this might be
a chance for me to change direction and I offered to become involved in
an upcoming film venture.
Within a few weeks the opportunity arrived
in the form of Super Shark, a feature Fred was planning to shoot in July
of 2010. I came onboard as one of the executive producers and also had a
small role in the picture. I enjoyed the process so much that I made
plans to do my own picture when the time was right - Bigfoot's Wild Weekend.
What actually made you usurp the
director's chair for Bigfoot's Wild Weekend?
I do not believe that I usurped the
directors chair for Bigfoot's Wild Weekend
With the project being mostly written by me,
financed by me, cast by me and produced by me and other family members,
who else could have seen my vision brought to the screen?
When I bought my first sideshow and booked
it with a carnival company to play big fair dates across the country, I
had no experience with that except for what I had read and heard from
people who had been in the business before me.
I found out as much as I could beforehand
and then jumped in head first and went for it. I got my bumps and
learned from the school of hard knocks, but I was a successful sideshow
operator for many years.
I've done the same with the film business,
and time will tell if I make a success of it as well. If nothing else,
I'm having fun in my senior years and don't intend to slow down or
retire for some time to come.
who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
John Ford, David
Lynch, Ridley Scott, Martin
Scorsese, James Cameron, the Coen Brothers, Roger Corman [Roger
Corman bio - click here], Fred
Your favourite movies?
Shane, War of The Worlds (original),
(original), Drums Along the Mohawk, The Quiet Man, 3:10 to
Yuma, Day The Earth Stood Still (original),
Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, 40 Year Old Virgin, Shallow
Hal, Wizard of Oz,
On The Beach, 1941, Fail Safe, No Country for Old
and of course, films you really deplore?
The Wiz, Yentl,
The Fokers, Big
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Bigfoots Wild Weekend (The Movie) on
Thanks for the interview!