The New York Times has reported that independent filmmaker, Charles B. Pierce, director of the documentary-style, 1972 crypto-cinema classic “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” has died of unspecified causes on March 5, at a nursing home in Tennessee at the age of 71.
Pierce grew up in Hampton, Arkansas, and as an adult lived in nearby Texarkana, where he was running an advertising agency when he made the monster movie that became a drive-in sensation. Pierce’s daughter, Amanda Squitiero, said that notes made by her father indicate that “The Legend of Boggy Creek” was made for $160,000 and ultimately took in $25 million, making it one of the most profitable films in history.
“The Legend of Boggy Creek” was a quasi-documentary based on a local legend of a HAIRY-HOMINID known as the FOUKE MONSTER. The film included interviews with local residents as well as dramatizations of their encounters with the creature. Arkansas Film Commissioner, Christopher Crane, acknowledged Pierce’s influence on the world of low-budget cinema:
“He really did change the face of filmmaking. With his model, many filmmakers became successful with the drive-in creature-feature, so to speak.”
The inexpensively made horror film was an acknowledged influence on not only a generation of monster hunters, but the hit 1999 horror film “The Blair Witch Project,” which took a similar approach and also created a flurry of imitators. According to “Blair Witch” co-director, Daniel Myrick:
“We just wanted to make a movie that tapped into the primal fear generated by the fact-or-fiction format, like ‘Legend of Boggy Creek.’ That was one of my favorites; it freaked me out when I was a little kid. I was beside myself with fear for weeks after seeing that thing.”
Even more notably, Pierce was the story writer for the 1983 Dirty Harry vehicle “Sudden Impact,” starring Clint Eastwood. Pierce is credited coining the phrase “Go ahead, make my day,” arguably the most quoted line in action film history.