'Yinzer horror' film doesn't take legend of Bigfoot too seriously
Bigfoot has been sighted in Ellwood City.
OK, maybe not the Bigfoot, but these three dudes saw it. And maybe they drink a bit much, but they're otherwise really reliable. OK, maybe not that reliable, but they're going to find him. It's personal now.
“Bigfoot the Movie,” starring Curt Wootton — best known as the Internet-video phenomenon “Pittsburgh Dad” — and a bunch of local comedians — including Jim Krenn, Bill Crawford and Mike Wysocki — is almost finished. Beaver Falls native Joanie Dodds (“America's Next Top Model”) adds a little Hollywood glamour, but only a little.
They're hoping to set up local screenings in the coming year, before releasing the film on DVD and streaming services.
“It's a horror comedy,” Wootton says. “It's not too scary. A little gore here and there. We've got the yinzer dialect going on.”
Well, obviously. The yinzer dialect is a big part of what made Wootton Pittsburgh famous. The Ellwood City setting offers another take on the famous accent.
“It's different,” Wootton says. “I call it a ‘country yinzer' accent — a little bit more twang. You still pronounce ‘haus' and ‘dohn'ere.' ”
Like so many other things Pittsburgh-related, Wootton says “Bigfoot the Movie” started with the Steelers.
“I met the director, Jared Show, who lives in L.A. I had lived there for many years,” he says. “We met because I saw him and his roommates wearing Steelers jerseys. He was a film editor. We got talking. And he always had this project in his back pocket.”
Wootton plays Chuck, who has a lustrous, flowing mullet and bad luck with the ladies.
“Is it a crime to go out drive around, spottin' deer, shootin' shotguns while drinking beer?” Chuck laments.
Show plays Burl, while Dale is played by Nathan Magil.
“They're not looked upon highly in Ellwood City — the drunk idiots,” Wootton says. “They are on a mission to avenge their friend, who's murdered by Bigfoot. They want to prove it was Bigfoot who killed him.
“The mayor has little say about what goes on. He's kind of an antagonist to the boys, trying to stop them from exposing the truth.”
Wootton and Show came back to Pittsburgh in 2007 and shot a short, micro-budget version of the film. Now, they're expanding it to feature-length. The budget is still tiny, but growing, fueled by a crowd-funding campaign and several private investors. It's under $100,000, Wootton says.
“In the eyes of Hollywood, it's like nothing,” he says. “It becomes a labor of love, and you take on different jobs — setting up lights, doing PA (production assistant) work.”
At the moment, the project is in the final stages of post-production, color-correction, mixing. They're looking for distribution.
The preview trailers for the film can be seen at bigfootthemovie.com.
It's easy to assume that the cast and crew had a blast while shooting. They did, but last winter was extraordinarily cold.
“Many nights when we were filming, it was freezing,” Wootton says. “In 2013, around Thanksgiving, it started snowing, and we had to shut down production until March of 2014 because of snow.”
Of course, independent filmmaking has a long history in Western Pennsylvania — horror movies, in particular. But yinzer-horror-comedies are still a path mostly left unexplored.
Wootton, at least, is having plenty of fun exploring the Pittsburgh area's ample eccentricities.
“I moved back two-and-a-half years ago,” he says. “Besides the winters, it's the greatest place on Earth.”
Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7901.