Creature from Black Lake – Synapse Films (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1976
Director: Joy N. Houck Jr.
Writer: Jim McCullough Jr.
Cast: Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Dennis Fimple, John David Carson, Bill Thurman
Release Date: December 13th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 95 Minutes 10 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
"There's a hairy humanoid beast lurking in the Louisiana swamps, but only trapper Joe Canton (Jack Elam, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST) has seen it and lived to tell the tale, and the other residents of Oil City, Louisiana don't talk about it. But that's not about to stop intrepid grad students Pahoo (Dennis Fimple, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES) and Rives (John David Carson, EMPIRE OF THE ANTS), who are determined to track down the Bigfoot-like creature. Defying local sheriff Billy Carter (Bill Thurman, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW), the duo trek deep into the wilds of Black Lake, and a series of frightening encounters make it clear the monster is no mere legend." - synopsis provided by the distributor
Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “Brand-new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative”.
Creature from Black Lake comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 32.9 GB
Feature: 27.2 GB
The source used for this transfer looks excellent. Flesh tones look correct; color saturation, image clarity, black levels, and compression are solid; and the image retains an organic look.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio is in great shape; the dialog comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. And, for a low-budget film, this track sounds surprisingly good in terms of range.
Extras for this release include a radio spot (35 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a theatrical trailer (1 minute 1 second, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Dean Cundey titled Swap Stories (19 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and an audio commentary with author/filmmaker Michael Gingold and film historian Chris Poggiali.
Creature from Black Lake is a sasquatch horror film with many elements reminiscent of backwoods horror movies. And, while Creature from Black Lake contains many horror film tropes, the result is a film that actually mixes several genres, which also shifts the tone of the film. Most notable are a few out-of-the-ordinary moments that employ humor.
The narrative revolves around two city boys who venture into a remote area of Louisiana looking for Bigfoot. From the moment of their arrival, these two characters are met with resistance from the locals, who don’t want to discuss Bigfoot or ridicule the idea that such a creature exists. with the finale revealing what lurks in the woods.
The performances are serviceable. There are two performances that stand out. Jack Elam (Once Upon a Time in the West) in the role of Joe Canton, a man who witnessed firsthand Bigfoot's ability to tear someone apart, and Dub Taylor (The Wild Bunch) in the role of Grandpaw Bridges, whose family once crossed paths with Bigfoot. They both deliver solid performances that evaluate the scenes they are in.
Though Creature from Black Lake is a low-budget film with limited resources, it is ultimately a film that far exceeds its modest resources. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to cinematographer Dean Cundey’s (Halloween) visuals, which greatly contributed to the mounting tension. Another strength of Creature from Black Lake is how it follows the blueprint established by Jaws, where less is more. By slowly revealing Bigfoot in all of its glory, this makes its full reveal all the more powerful. Ultimately, Creature from Black Lake is a solid horror film that fans of backwoods horror and Bigfoot films are sure to enjoy.
Creature from Black Lake gets an excellent release from Synapse Films that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a pair of informative extras.
Written by Michael Den Boer