Bog. Now this is a movie that I have been looking for everywhere. Lo and behold it was on YouTube all along (how about those searching skills, eh?).
I suppose the main reason this is a little bit tricky (and I really mean only a little bit – I really am stupid) is the odd dates surrounding the movie. Bog was originally filmed around Harshaw in northern Wisconsin in 1978, but it wasn’t until 1983 that the film finally got a release. To be fair, 1978 Wisconsin looks like 1983 Wisconsin and probably still looks like 2015 Wisconsin so it doesn’t make too much of a different when it was filmed.
This movie has lived on in legend. This is a film that has only ever received a VHS release. An official DVD copy has never happened, which I guess is why it was such a pain to find. There are bootleg copies, or so I’ve heard, but I always imagine bootleg movies are for pirates. Anyway, I was so desperate to find this movie that I was just shy of hunting down a VHS copy myself and investing in a VHS player.
So finally: Bog! It’s here! And was the worth the anticipation? Not really. But it is still worth chatting about.
Of course Bog opens much like a 70’s sitcom with the bizarre purple framing and forlorn love song. Two couples are out in the boonies of the Wisconsin woods. The women are, of course, whiny and just wanting to shop. The men are, of course, dumb and ‘Northern’. Strangely, though, it’s the women who has the best intuition of something being wrong with the bog. One of the wives (who’s name I understand is May considering how many EFFING times they shout her name) is attacked by a fish lens. But the other one (who’s name is shouted much less) is also attacked on her way to seek refuge in the station wagon.
The police find the women dead in the water, but virtually unhurt. Well, other than being dead in a bog and missing a load of blood. But the two deaths seem to put everyone into a deep think. The autopsy showed that whatever did it, probably wasn’t human. But the coroner has this cracker of a line: “Could we have a Dracula running loose out there?” Ah yes. A Dracula. While the “professionals” continue their speech, the two widowers decide to buy a couple of guns and track down the beast themselves with the help of the local
Gollum crazy-fuck. The crazy brings them to his friend, Adrianna. She’s about as much help as the Dracula theory. Thankfully the crazy gets scared off and dies. It’s an extremely brief and off-screen death, but I’m still satisfied.
That plot-line is completely inconsequential because then we get into some real action, if you know what I mean. The sheriff and the coroner are in love! People who have zero personality and even less likability. It’s the most compelling romance ever seen on screen. Sorry, Love Story. But that groovy little song from the opening credits gets to play again, which is pretty good.
Back on the, sub-plot, the widowers share the information they’ve learned from Adrianna with the happy couple. A small party head out to the bog to blow up the lake some more (which is what woke up the “thing” in the first place). While the sheriff and his deputy seem certain that they’ve done the trick, the monster attacks again. But even when the two husbands “pump it full of lead”, the monster still lives.
It’s after this that I realise that the coroner is mackin’ on the doctor – not the sheriff. But everyone looks about the same shape. The quality is pretty bad on this, so if you don’t have a mustache I don’t have a clue who you are. But I can tell that two divers have showed up to contribute to the search. This is, of course, a terrible idea because EVERYONE KEEPS DYING. What help will divers be? But there is finally a kind-of glimpse of the monster which is about as satisfying as it’s going to get in this movie, apparently. Though watching them dive through the lake is as exciting as watching ice melt – ironically where the doc thinks where monstersuit came from (because the thawing of the Ice Age didn’t start until the 70s).
Strangely enough, we see the divers getting attacked, but the film kind of “forgets” to inform us if they die or not. I suppose that three-second cut back to their boat means they died? Either way, I feel a bit sorry for the divers because I’m pretty sure no one is letting the word out that there is a MONSTER IN THE BOG. But what do I know? I don’t even know who’s dead or just so boring they decided to just drop a character’s scene.
The lovely couple (whose names I’ve learned are Brad and Ginny) examine the bits the divers found in the lake. But when they go back to the work, they find that someone stole the egg cluster. That someone being the monster, which apparently just walked through town entirely incognito, broke into a lab and just waltzed back out. Fairly impressive or I’m not certain everyone in Northern Wisconsin has to be extremely unobservant. This isn’t good so they tell the sheriff (there is actually a sheriff in the movie), and they devise a plan to trap the monster. I mean it’s about time, really.
Brad and Ginny decide to lure the monster with a “blood scent generator.” A chemical used to kill fish is combined with the chemical from a fireman’s hose, and this is enough to lure and trap the beastie alive. During all the light-drama, Adrianna runs out of her little cave and is “accidentally” shot and killed. Long live Adrianna!
Everyone’s favourite celebrity couple bring in their “favourite Ichthyologist” friend in to help them study the monster. Apparently the beast and Adrianna are somehow connected. This is supposed to be something I’m interested by, but since Adrianna and her total-lameness is an utter bore I really don’t care. While studying the beast alone, Ginny is attacked and is carried King Kong-style off by the monster to his home so she can be his new best friend. Thankfully dating Brad has its charm and a search party is sent for the coroner when no one can reach her by phone.
And then Bog pretty much ends like you think it would, including a title card of “The End?” (remember the eggs?) which means they want to make a sequel but they never, ever will. Whatever. It ends and we get to listen to that groovy-ass theme song for the third time! If you ask me, this was really a movie about love and triumphing over adversity. That adversity being the awfulness of nature that is always trying to kill you.
Bog was made the same time frame of a bulk of Bill Rebane’s movies, but this monster movie makes Rebane look like Kubrick. To be fair, I actually think the movie could do with a DVD release. It was really difficult to watch mostly because the quality of the picture was so bad. Not that you get to see very much of the monster, but it would be nice to maybe kind of tell what it looks like for the fleeting moments it is there.
The best part of this movie, though, is the constant use of Wisconsin jargon. I personally find this very charming, but I’m assuming no one else does. But it is hilariously flat at times. There are so many classic lines to share with friends or perform at the Globe: “I got an idea. Works like a champ every time.” “Lay it on me.” “I’ll take the brown sleeping bag. you take the green one.” “We haven’t got a brown one.” Some real drama. Of which this movie really has none.