Film Willow Creek showcases at BU as a wild success

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Every semester, Boston University hosts cinematic events held by none other than Suffolk’s very own Gerald Peary. At these free events, filmmakers, actor, director and many more involved in the craft will visit BU to screen one of their recent efforts, along with a post-film discussion in which the students and the filmmaker(s) can engage in a personal discourse. This week I had the pleasure of seeing Bobcat Goldthwait’s newest film Willow Creek.

The horror/comedy film revolves around a young couple. (Kelly and Jim) played by Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson., pilgrimage to Bluff Creek, Calif. to visit the sight of a film to hopefully capture footage of the legendary Bigfoot.

The film is one of the found footage genre, but I’d be willing to call it the freshest variation since The Blair Witch Project. The film is genuinely funny in Bobcat’s signature style, and when the film makes a turn to the horror inclined side it outs you right in the driver’s seat with the characters experience of the sheer terror that the wilderness may have to offer.

The film does a great job of exploring the phenomena of Bigfoot enthusiasts but the film does drag in certain scenes, which include the couple engaged in nagging arguments where the director later claimed he was trying to draw suspense like Lynch and Tarantino.

Photo courtesy of Willow Creek

While the projector did shut down on a few occasions, the Q&A following the screening more than made up for delay. Bobcat said they filmed on location in Bluff Creek  and that there were mountain lions and bobcats on set. Bobcat made it clear that he loathed the found footage genre, and he made it more than apparent with comical banter including a Kubrick comment.

Citing Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man as a huge influence, a man chasing his obsession and is eventually destroyed by it. Originally, he wanted to do a Christopher Guest-esque film about a Bigfoot convention but he was convinced to change the format to his liking.

He  jumped during a scene, even though he was he one who played Bigfoot in the film and in the soon-to-be infamous tent scene for which Terry Gilliam told Gold when he screened the film that had “no respect for the language of cinema,” His retort was “That’s coming from the guy who made Brazil.”

When asked about the safety on set, he said that there was a ranger on set, who writes a tween Bigfoot series. Which received an uproar from the audience.

On  casting for the film, he used actual folks from the town  with some plants but he didn’t want to make the film too snarky because he didn’t want anyone to think that he was poking fun at some of the subjects, or that he was trying to pull a Sacha Baron Cohen. On staying there, he loved the two different sub-cultures of marijuana growers with machine guns and bigfoot groupies. One student asked how did you coach them during the tent  scene, he said “They had an idea but it was spontaneous.“

His own wife said that the couple in the film were “just better looking people playing us.”  Goldthwait went on to say that during filming that an actual bobcat almost attacked him. The irony of Bobcat being killed by killed by a bobcat was not lost on him. When asked about if the film would get a decent release, he responded that his films don’t get released; they get unleashed.

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