Cry Wilderness (1987)
As a love story between a boy and his Bigfoot, Cry Wilderness is the cryptozoological equivalent to a nerdy teenager’s story about his supposed girlfriend in Canada (you don’t know her). Little Paul (Eric Foster, Death House) attends a boarding school where nobody believes his wild tale of hanging with Bigfoot the previous summer. After they met by a waterfall, Paul apparently introduced the hairy giant to Coca-Cola and rock ’n’ roll; in return, Bigfoot gifted him with a wooden-knot necklace that the kid wears as if he were the Webelos version of Flavor Flav.
One night, Bigfoot (Tom Folkes) appears in a vision to warn the child that his father, a forest ranger, faces grave danger, so Paul escapes the safety of the school and heads for the trees. A more effeminate Grizzly Adams, Dad (Maurice Grandmaison, Savage Journey) is not too happy to see his only child, especially when he hears Paul’s reason. “I wish their was a Bigfoot,” Dad scolds with improper grammar, “so I could strangle him!” Although the two generations differ on the point of sasquatch validity, they do share one thing: bowl haircuts so hideous, they would be unbecoming on the bowl.
But Bigfoot really isn’t the focus of Cry Wilderness, an utterly neutered family-friendly adventure from Night Train to Terror director Jay Schlossberg-Cohen; an escaped tiger is. To locate the carnivorous animal, Paul accompanies his pop, a Native American pal (John Tallman, Class of Nuke ’Em High Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid) and a swarthy hunter in a net shirt (Griffin Casey); we meet the latter as he grabs and chokes an alarmed raccoon with his bare hands. The PG pic is full of questionable behavior where nature is concerned, suggesting to its young audience that it’s perfectly fine to taunt a bobcat and/or wrestle a bear. There’s also a wolf named Shasta (but no Cragmont to be found).
At the end of this rather tiresome expedition, Paul and Bigfoot are reunited; uncomfortably intimate hugs ensue. Also, Paul’s father becomes trapped between fallen rocks and rafters in a mine, and just when it seems that the seasoned ranger will have to Aron Ralston his way outta this bind, Bigfoot puts his skill of moving heavy things to use. Then, back at school, Paul calls upon the satanic forces contained within his crafts-class amulet to open a portal into a smoky, crimson-hazed zoo.
Cry Wilderness? Cry mercy. —Rod Lott