Corey Grant Talks Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes, in select theaters Friday, October 19th
It's been a while since Bigfoot graced us with his presence at the local Cineplex, but that's all about to change as two different "found footage" thrillers starring the elusive creature make their way to the big screen. Lionsgate's Bigfoot County is a little ways away, which means that director Corey Grant has the upper hand. His Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes is opening in select theaters this Friday, October 19th, and as history proves, the first movie to the market is almost always the winner.
It's a great film to boot, especially for bigfoot enthusiast such as Corey Grant and myself. The Lost Coast Tapes follows a disgraced investigative journalist who sets out expose the body of a Sasquatch hiding in a local man's freezer. What happens next is completely bonkers. Trust us, if you need a little Squatch in your life, this will do the trick!
We caught up with Corey to discuss the making of Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes, and discovered his distaste for the term "found footage", his love for The Six Million Dollar Man, and his revelation that he has yet to see Trollhunter.
Here is our conversation.
How old are you?
Corey Grant: I am thirty-eight.
So you probably grew up with In Search Of, in an era when Bigfoot was fairly new, and pretty scary to kids of our generation.
He was kind of a weird dude, that ol' Bigfoot on the Six Million Dollar Man...
Corey Grant: (Laughs) My friends and I have probably watched that clip on Youtube a million times. We are reminiscing and laughing, because we didn't know how funny this thing was at the time.
Did you have the Bigfoot doll? He was like a weird looking stoner from Jersey with a 70s 'stache and a very hairy chest. He had the creepiest eyes...
Corey Grant: (Laughs) Actually, I did have that doll. I also had Steve Austin and the truck...}
And they would drive around and have adventures together behind the couch. I know what you're about. I see where this movie is coming from!
Corey Grant: (Laughs) Yeah!
What about Bigfoot and Wild Boy? That had to be around the same time as The Six Million Dollar Man, but not as many people remember Bigfoot and his pet human Wild Boy...
Corey Grant: No, I haven't really seen too many Bigfoot movies, to be honest with you. I remember seeing something when I was about six or seven. I don't know what it was. But it freaked me out about Bigfoot. I haven't really seen anything since then. I did see Harry and the Hendersons, but that was completely different.
You should look up Bigfoot and Wild Boy. It's from the Kroffts, the guys that did HR Pufnstuf and Sigmund the Seamonster. It was about this kid that was left in the woods as a baby. Bigfoot raised him, and they became this superhero team.
Corey Grant: Are you serious?
Yeah, it was craziness!
Corey Grant: I want to see that!
There have been so many different bigfoots over the years. What went into crafting the look of your particular Bigfoot?
Corey Grant: We had a guy who created a design for us early on. But we had to go with the Jaws approach, where its more affective the less you see of the body. You see glimpses. But you don't really see the details. Where I think a lot of people go wrong, unless you are really intent on spending a lot of time and effort in getting this right...Every movie has a different look for Bigfoot, and when they just put it out there, I think it loses the audience.
I think you are right.
Corey Grant: We planned a lot of straight forward shots throughout the movie, but then when we looked at it, we felt that we were going to waist a lot of money. We also had to cut down on his screen time, and cut out a lot of little things, to do as much with it as we could. And I think it helps suspend the belief, and it helps the movie in that way. Instead of doing it like we'd planned, like everyone else...It's really hard. I think everyone's visual of what Bigfoot should look like is different. You'll have some that love it, and others that are disappointed. It is very, very tricky.
Found footage has almost become a dirty word amongst low budget filmmakers. Do you embrace the term? Do you consider this a found footage thriller? Or do you look at it as something different?
Corey Grant: Yes and no. before I did this movie, the only found footage movies I'd seen were The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. I wasn't really a fan of found footage. I do like those movies. But this script came to me, from some friends of ours that live close by. So we decided to shoot it. We were up in the woods, and we were thinking about Bigfoot. That is how the story came to us. The element of found footage wasn't in the script. We went back and forth on it, because I wanted to shoot a traditional style movie. I had never shot found footage. Only traditional. The more I got into the script, I found that shooting it found footage style was one of the only ways into the story. It was the most organic way to tell this story. But a lot of the things I didn't like about found footage kept me hesitant. So we actually shot half traditional, half found footage. After we got the final edit, we liked it, but we decided to cut out all of the traditional footage, instead keeping it all fount footage. The problem with found footage...I didn't know there were that many found footage movies! I didn't know it was a subgenre that has such a big following, and it also has this amazing stigma. That stigma, I had no idea about it. But what I can say about our movie? I think it's a hybrid. Coming from a more traditional style, I made sure that all of our shots were very well choreographed and blocked out. Frame wise, I got the composition I wanted, to get the camera where I wanted it for certain lines, and certain actions. A lot of found footage looks very contrived. What a lot of people forget is that this is verite style, because of the shots and the composition. Then, we actually did some cutting between scenes. So it is a hybrid between both. But the stigma of found footage movies? I don't know if its because there are so many bad found footage movies. It has a very negative stigma. What I have been told is that audiences are becoming engrossed in the movie, regardless of how I shot it. So it is a little different.
I don't know that I would even call it a subgenre any more. It has traversed the horror genre to become its own full-blown genre, with all different elements to it. We've seen comedies, dramas, sci fi...The interesting thing I am noticing is that the audience is becoming more accepting of the genre. So they are not looking for a clear-cut reason why someone would be behind the camera, who this person is, or if there even is a person behind the camera in a traditional sense...
Corey Grant: I think we can blame it on reality TV. It's a good forum when telling certain types of stories, and when told correctly.
I'm a pretty big bigfoot fan. One of the things I liked about your movie, which I usually find to be a problem in most bigfoot movies, is that you actually crafted a story here that isn't completely reliant on the appearance of bigfoot. We like the characters, we're immersed in the story. Usually, we just want to see the people killed off, and watch 80 minutes of bigfoot rampaging, which we never get. Your movie sidesteps the want for that...How did you find that balance, especially in terms of finding actors and characters that we care about outside of knowing we're traversing the bigfoot genre. It really is a hard genre to get right.
Corey Grant: For me, with this particular movie, we actually wanted to tell a story. And within that, bigfoot is just a small part of that story. It was in the way we set it up, within the bigfoot legend. We had to tell a complete story. We needed a good set-up. In order to get to the meat, you need to be vested in these characters. Kevin, the sound guy, the scary guy, he wasn't actually in the original script. That was something we came up with, and had the writers write in later, so that the audience would have someone to identify with in that particular crew. He is the one that is always thinking what the audience is thinking. We also took some time to get to know these character. So that you are not so invested in seeing bigfoot. That doesn't become the only selling point. You are also interested in seeing the journey these guys go on, and the story that unfolds with them. When everything goes haywire, you are a lot more invested in it, because you care about these characters. What I want to tell you, though, talking about found footage movies...When The Blair Witch Project came out, I didn't want to see it. I was terrified, back in the day. Then I got suckered into going to see the movie on a date. She wanted to see it, so I was stuck in it! And I was terrified. I didn't like it. I hated it. But now that I look back at it all these years later, I am amazed at how it worked. How it got you on the edge of your seat. That was definitely an inspiration. But I didn't like all the improvisation, especially with the camera moves. Coming from a traditional background, we made sure we had a good script, with room for a little bit of improv. And we made sure our camera and our blocking was well choreographed. Only then, was I comfortable. I have to tell you, though...I have not seen Trollhunter. I get asked that all the time.
I haven't seen that either. Again, that seems to be another found footage movie that is also a hybrid.
Corey Grant: Yeah, we keep getting compared to Trollhunter a lot. When we were shooting, that movie wasn't even out yet. I want to see it, but I need to wait until I get down the line. I don't want people to think we were trying to do an American version of Trollhunter. I do hear that it is an excellent movie. And I do want to see it.
What about this Bigfoot County movie that Lionsgate got a hold of? It's another bigfoot found footage movie, and it's coming out close to the same time as your movie...
Corey Grant: Well, our movie has been done for quite a bit. We were first at bat! Any other bigfoot found footage movie came after us. I don't know what aspect they are going for, but we have a different road we are taking from everybody else. We just want to do something true to the actual legend. We didn't want to make a more tradition, quote-unquote, horror movie about bigfoot, and what you think that might be. But we will see what happens. I haven't seen these other movies.
Have you been watching Finding Bigfoot?
Corey Grant: Of course. What a lot of people don't know is that Bobo was on set with us. He was our technical advisor. He was with us every day. This was before Finding Bigfoot came out. They hadn't shot Finding Bigfoot yet. So Bobo was our technical advisor. That's why we went where we did, story wise. Just to remain true to what the bigfoot legend is. He gave us a lot of research. We were shooting in such a remote location, we had to have someone guard our set. Bobo was the one that would go off, and spend the night on set. Because where we were was bigfoot central. There were a lot of sightings out there. So he would squatch at night. Bobo is a great friend of mine. He helped us quite a bit. This movie came before Finding Bigfoot. They had a deal, but none of it had shot yet. He is a good guy, man. He can tell you some stories. They will have the hair curling on the back of your neck. If you are not a believer, and you sit down with Bobo for thirty minutes, he will make sure you are a believer.
So, are you believer?
Corey Grant: Oh, yes. Definitely.
The thing that bothers me about Finding Bigfoot, if they find him, we are going to hear about it before that episode airs. It kind of takes the wind out of their sails when I sit down to watch an episode.
Corey Grant: Right! (Laughs)