[Review] The Man from Boggy Creek [MidWest WeirdFest]: Short-Film Documentary Pays Tribute to Independent Filmmaker Charles B. Pierce

In their documentary short The Man from Boggy Creek, cowriters/codirectors Paul Glover and Scott McKinnon pay tribute to maverick independent filmmaker Charles B. Pierce, whose movies The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown are favorites of many a fright-fare fan. 

The Legend of Boggy Creek was a huge influence on such later filmmakers as Eduardo Sanchez, director of The Blair Witch Project and Exists, who appears in this documentary to pay homage to Pierce and his work. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is one of the early proto-slasher efforts, and another fine example of Pierce’s faux-documentary approach to horror, which would influence many other future filmmakers, as well. Besides Sanchez, The Man from Boggy Creek features interviews with actor Michael Berryman, composer and sound designer Alan Howorth, director/cinematographer Derrick Sims, and others, all discussing how seeing Pierce’s films affected them and influenced their own work. 

Glover and McKinnon offer plenty of background information on Pierce, though he appears mostly in clips from his films and stills. The codirectors do a fine job of presenting how Pierce took decidedly unusual routes to become a filmmaker, and how his two best-remembered and still-loved films, The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown, went from being obscure, low-budget regional films to box office smashes — often at drive-in theaters — making millions of dollars. 

The Legend of Boggy Creek’s success led to a prolific career for Pierce, who went on to make westerns, a Viking film, and family dramas, and received a story credit for the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact, with Pierce being responsible for the classic line, “Go ahead, make my day.” The Man from Boggy Creek is an intriguing, engaging look back at Pierce and his influential career, which began at a time when independent filmmaking — especially with projects centered in Arkansas, where Pierce started out — was something of a rarity. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

The Man from Boggy Creek screened as part of MidWest WeirdFest, which took place March 4–6, 2022 at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.