Tag Archives: bigfoot

Harry and the Hendersons

Harry and the Hendersons

Today’s movie is 1987’s Sasquatch-centered family comedy: Harry and the Hendersons.

The plot of Harry and the Hendersons has the following synopsis on the Internet Movie Database:

The Henderson family adopt a friendly Sasquatch but have a hard time trying to keep the legend of ‘Bigfoot’ a secret.

Harry and the Hendersons was co-written and directed by William Dear, who is best known for directing Angels in the Outfield, The Perfect Game, and If Looks Could Kill, as well as providing input on the story for The Rocketeer.

The cast for the movie includes John Lithgow (Cliffhanger, Raising Cain, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, Footloose, Blow Out), Melinda Dillon (Captain America, Magnolia, A Christmas Story, Close Encounters of The Third Kind), David Suchet (Wing Commander, A Perfect Murder, Poirot), Don Ameche (Cocoon, Cocoon: The Return, Trading Places), and M. Emmet Walsh (Blood Simple, Fletch, Critters, Slap Shot).

The cinematographer for Harry and the Hendersons was Allen Daviau, whose other credits include Van Helsing, Congo, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Color Purple, E.T., and Empire of the Sun.

Harry and the Hendersons was cut by Donn Cambern, who also worked as an editor on movies like Ghostbusters II, Twins, Time After Time, The Glimmer Man, The Cannonball Run, Easy Rider, and The Last Picture Show.

The musical score for the film was composed by Bruce Broughton, who also composed scores for movies like Silverado, Tombstone, The Monster Squad, Stay Tuned, Baby’s Day Out, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, and Lost In Space, as well as for television series like Dallas, Hawaii Five-O, and Gunsmoke.

Rick Baker, the special effects master who has, to date, won seven Academy Awards (with five additional nominations),  was the creature designer for Harry and the Hendersons. He ultimately won one of his Oscars for his work on the movie, and has claimed that the gigantic, lumbering Harry is his favorite of his many created characters.

Speaking of the creature work for the film, the suit worn by actor Kevin Peter Hall in order to play Harry stood at well over 8 feet tall, making for an immense presence on set.

While Harry and The Hendersons did not receive a sequel, it did spawn a television series, which ran for 72 episodes over 3 seasons, from 1991 to 1993. The series did not follow the continuity of the movie, however, as Harry is shown living with the Hendersons rather than returning to the wild as shown in the film.

Harry and the Hendersons was released internationally as Bigfoot and the Hendersons. A number of promotional images with this alternate title can be found around the internet with a little bit of digging.

Harry and the Henderson features a handful of characters who are obsessed with the hunt to capture or document a Sasquatch. These characters fit the mold of “cryptozoologists,” people who study unconfirmed mythical creatures (with the assumption that they exist), and “squatchers,” who are essentially Bigfoot hunters.

Harry and the Hendersons grossed just over $50 million in its lifetime theatrical run, making a significant profit on its production budget of $16 million.

Critically, however, the movie had a mixed reception. Today, it holds an IMDb user rating of 5.9/10, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 44% from critics and 54% from audiences.

If there is anything that must be said about Harry and the Hendersons, it is that the effects for Harry are incredibly impressive. Even though it looks creepy as all hell, the intricate facial expressions displayed by Harry are almost unimaginable for a monster suit in the 1980s. Rick Baker absolutely outdid himself here.

Beyond Harry, the big highlight of the movie has to be John Lithgow: I can’t think of a single performance of his career in which he hasn’t been entertaining in one way or another, and Harry and the Hendersons might be his pinnacle of his scene-chewing prowess. The guy is just a delight throughout the movie, and gives it more energy and passion that it had any right to deliver. The humor as it is written is a bit hit or miss, but Lithgow manages to elevate it at every turn. Without his presence, this movie might have been unwatchable.

The biggest issue I have with the movie, apart from the aforementioned comedic writing issues, is its tendency to get preachy: the message of nonviolence is really over the top, to the point that it almost feels like a PSA at times. That said, it isn’t terribly distracting, and kind of fits with the overall silly tone of the movie, but I would be remiss not to mention it.

Overall, I think that Harry and the Hendersons is 100%, grade A cheese. It certainly isn’t good by any conventional standards, but it is a true product of its era, and is worth watching for that aspect alone. Lithgow and Harry definitely solidify it as a recommendation for bad movie fans, but I think it is worth a watch for anyone, just because of how much it has seeped into cultural crevices over the years. It is also almost completely inoffensive, like a bumper car lined with plush animals, so almost anyone could enjoy it.

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Bargain Bin(ge) III

Bargain Bin(ge) Part 1
Bargain Bin(ge) Part 2

Shark Week

This is a shark movie from The Asylum. It is pretty hard to go wrong there. The Asylum makes their money doing two things: making CGI shark movies, and ripping off current blockbusters. I’m not expecting something on the level of “Sharknado”, but this one does seem to have a dumb plot to contend with the best of them. There’s a cheesy villain as well, and that is pretty much all I need to justify the one dollar I spent on this.

CyberTracker

This looks like a pretty promising B movie to me. However, the Red Letter Media folks apparently found it to be incredibly boring on “Best of the Worst”. This might be one of those cases where the trailer is crafted in such a way that it can fool you, but I am really curious to try this one out for myself. At the very least, I can see how my tolerance stacks up against the Red Letter Media crowd. I also love that the super cyborg prototype looks like the evil robot version of Sonic the Hedgehog in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.

cybert

Judgment

Oh my. I can’t express how excited I am to watch this movie. Not only is there a silly plot about our dark future of christian persecution, but this stars both Mr. T and one of my favorite overactors, Corbin Bernsen. “The Dentist” is still one of my favorite underrated shitty movies, and Corbin Bersen tears up his gums throughout that piece of trash from gnawing on all of the scenery. This trailer has me even more giddy about getting to this one, because the dialogue sounds just awful. I particularly like the line “I call to the stand…Jesus Christ”. That’s just gold.

Shredder

I remember watching this movie on FearNet a number of years ago. It is a pretty run-of-the-mill slasher movie, apart from the snowboarding focus. I do seem to recall a semi-interesting twist/whodunit plot that set it somewhat apart from the pack, but overall it was your typical gory slasher movie. Again, it has been a number of years, so I am interested to see how much I might have forgotten.

Thunderpants

This is a movie about a farting child. It co-stars Rupert Grint of “Harry Potter” film franchise fame, and the marketing unsurprisingly focuses squarely around him. His involvement is probably the only reason this has as wide of a DVD release as it does, hoping to cash in his popularity. It seems similar to how recent releases of “Mazes and Monsters” really emphasize the fact that it stars Tom Hanks, even though no one knew who he was then. In any case, this is a family-friendly movie about farts, so that’s pretty much what I am going to expect to see here. Lots of fart jokes.

Bigfoot

Danny Bonaduce starring in a movie is pretty hard to believe, but that is an easier pill to swallow than the CGI on the supersized Bigfoot here. Why did they feel the need to make Bigfoot so large for this anyway? I expected more of a typical Sasquatch movie, but this is pushing more into King Kong territory. In any case, I’m looking forward to the typical monster movie cheese here. I’m also curious if they push the environmental message to “Birdemic” levels, and if they will find some way to make destroying Mt. Rushmore interesting.

Mazes and Monsters

This movie will make you wonder how Tom Hanks ever wound up with a career. This absolute stinker of a movie plays off of the paranoia surrounding the popularity of “Dungeons and Dragons” back in the day, and comes out somehow more nauseating than the classic Jack Chick tract on the subject. Tom Hanks hams it up throughout the movie as the lead character, and has a number of notable scenes in this one that are hard to forget. All of the dialogue in the movie is atrocious from what I have seen in reviews, but I haven’t actually sat through this monster myself. I’m looking forward to rolling the dice on this one.

Slipstream (2007)

I mentioned in a previous Bargain Bin(ge) that there are a number of shitty movies out there with the title “Slipstream”. As luck would have it, I have now found the other two movies with the title (there is a fourth as well according to IMDb, but I don’t think any copies actually exist).

This one seems to me to be Anthony Hopkins’s dream project. Anytime someone writes/directs/stars, you have to wonder if they might have too much invested in the movie to cut at it objectively. Some people apparently really appreciated this as a surreal film, but the general consensus is that it doesn’t quite hit the mark, and is just a confusing and jumbled mess. I am really curious about it myself. The concept sounds really cool, and the cast is all pretty competent (maybe not Slater), but I could see how it could trip over itself.

Slipstream (1989)

Another “Slipstream”! This one is more of a straight B-movie than the previously mentioned films of the same name. This one features Bill Paxton and Mark Hamill in a futuristic wasteland, and strikes me initially as being a pretty interesting movie. The chemistry between Paxton and Hamill seems pretty solid from the trailer, and I like how this movie seems to be drawing from multiple genres for inspiration. I am pretty surprised I hadn’t heard of this one, because it looks like it has some great potential for unintentional entertainment at the very least.

She Gods of Shark Reef

I’ve never caught this one before, but it looks like more or less the usual Roger Corman fare. I actually found this the day after I watched the above commentary by Corman on this film’s trailer. There isn’t a whole lot of information about the film revealed in there, but it is nice to know that Corman enjoyed his time filming in Hawaii. I am curious exactly how one “controls” a shark, though.