With Godzilla and giant monsters currently stomping through American cinemas, “Terror in the Skies” comes at the right time asking us about allegedly real giant monsters. Throughout decades of folklore and legends, there have been encounters with giant winged beasts, and supernatural monsters, all of which have managed to spawn mass hysteria and mysterious accounts by locals of various towns around America. While “Terror in the Skies” has potential to be a creepy documentary, it watches so much more like afternoon filler on basic cable.
On October 20th 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin emerged from a forest in Northern California with 59 seconds of grainy, shaky, silent 16mm film that offered documentary evidence of the existence of the Sasquatch, a creature of Native American folklore. Although neither Patterson nor Gimlin had any previous experience in filmmaking or zoology, they presented their remarkable footage as the first motion picture evidence to confirm the existence of the elusive Sasquatch.
However, not everyone was convinced by the imagery on the Patterson-Gimlin Film. Additional doubt was generated by the strange story behind the film’s creation. Over the years, odd rumors emerged about the film, including the story of an Academy Award-winning make-up artist’s alleged role in assembling the creature seen on camera.
Film journalist Phil Hall traces the convoluted history of how Patterson and Gimlin supposedly wound up in the right place at the right time with their camera, and how they brought their weird little film into the scientific community and American popular culture. While the debate over the authenticity of the Patterson-Gimlin Film continues to percolate, few would question the effectiveness of how this piece of celluloid brought forth an unlikely sensation lovingly dubbed Bigfoot.