The Mysterious Monsters DVD Review: Peter Graves Hunts for Bigfoot!

How would you set about trying to prove the existence of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster to skeptics and non-believers? Well, if you’re at all like the people behind the 1976 “documentary” The Mysterious Monsters, you do the one thing that would surely invite people to accept your rather-baseless theories and flimsy facts with: you’d hire none other than Peter Graves to host and narrate your feature, sending the former Mission: Impossible star all over the United States to interview reported real-life witnesses of Sasquatch encounters and honest to goodness scientists to provide all kinds of irrefutable evidence.

Made during the zenith of two wonderful exploitation movie genres — the Bigfoot flick and the schlockumentary — The Mysterious Monsters (or, Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster, as the actual onscreen title reads) is a hilarious scrap of cinematic waste that attempts to prove once and for all that these cryptic critters exist. Naturally, almost all of the footage, stills, or supposed “evidence” used in the movie to convince its viewers to believe have been disproved as various gobs of bunk since the movie first hit drive-ins back in the ’70s.

When he’s not busy embarrassing himself by talking to “trustworthy” authorities on the subject of Bigfoot or Nessie — wherein he coolly delivers such lines as “Can you psychometrise what is in here without ever having seen it?” to a psychic investigator in his swingin’ ’70s living room — Peter Graves is narrating a host of footage, including the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot from 1967. The producers of this guilty pleasure gem also filmed a great deal of “recreations” of other people’s bumping into of the mythical hairy beast (Bigfoot, not Graves), resulting in some creepy (if overly outrageous) moments.

As for the actual Loch Ness Monster portion of this film, well it’s just that: a portion. Towards the start of the picture, now-considered-to-be-ancient photo of the “actual” Scottish beast (the “Surgeon’s Photograph” from 1934, which 99.99% of humanity now believes to have been a hoax) is used to warm us up to the idea that other mystifying things could be out there. Peter then follows up with blurry shots from vintage 8mm recordings of “Nessie” and so on, before continuing with his endeavor to inform us that the truth is indeed out there. There’s also a brief segment on The Abominable Snowman, which is accompanied by photos fro Eric Shipton’s Expedition.

In short, The Mysterious Monsters is an hour-and-a-half of pure B-Movie bliss from the magnificent, manipulative minds at Sunn Classic Pictures, who released a number of similar quasi-documentaries in the ’70s. Long unavailable on home video in any shape or form, The Mysterious Monsters finally emerged on DVD in an unpublicized and low-key release from the folks at Cheezy Flicks, who present this crushing blow to science and silliness (which was either culled from a grainy film print or a VHS source) in a full frame 1.33:1 ratio.

A must for fans of absolute nonsense and misguided edification.

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Luigi Bastardo

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