Sunday, April 21, 2024

Mountaintop Cryptid Massacre: The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot (2021 Novel)

The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot
Author: David Irons
Publication Year: 2021
Chapters: 56
Rating: ****

Frequent visitors of this here little personal corner of the web would probably know how much I love my Bigfoot slashers! I love the splattery hamminess of Night of The Demon (1980). I love the Southern fried creepiness of The Wildman of The Navidad (2008). I love the found footage stylings of Exist (2014). I love the backwoods bachelor bash gone Bigfoot of Cherokee Creek (2018). I love this slasher/monster hybrid niche that much, I have now expanded my need to consume media where the big hairy fella slaughters teenagers one by one from movies to novels!

And here's where David Iron's The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot comes in! 

Taking place mostly in April 2nd, 1981, the novel follows the small cast and crew of an independent movie production as they drive to a rented construction site somewhere at the Oregonian mountains to finish filming the last few key scenes of their slasher flick, Mountaintop Madman Massacre. For the first half of the book, the story does a good job building itself around the filming as we get to know more about the bunch working in it; heading this production is director and writer Rob Lieberman, who technically conned his own father into funding this circus in hopes of making a quick and easy buck by cashing in to the cult success of slasher movies at that time; cinematographer Danny McLaughlin shares with his bestfriend and soundman Billy Zito his desires to do more than just commercials and low budget horror movies, thus accumulating a bit of jealousy towards the team's special effects wiz Tommy Bottin, who has doors of opportunities opening up for him after being featured in magazines like Fangoria and Cinemafantasque; Tommy, in turn, is considered a creep by some of the crew for crushing hard on the movie's leading actress, Adrianne Heather Curtis, who went from being household name famous to infamous after more than one unsavory articles written about her private life, resulting to a lack of work. 

The rest of the gang are Larry Lerner, Ben Tramer, Connie Conners and Laura Sommers, actors and actresses who all just wanted to get this last day of filming done so they can chill out, make the beast with two backs, or move on to the next acting gig. All the while Arnold Lebowitz, who's playing the titular Mountaintop Madman, is there to bring jokey vibes and be committed to his work as a lardy cannibal killer. And then there's Tony Reynolds. Stunt coordinator. In charge of the explosives to be used for the movie's explosive finale. Running a tad behind schedule and acting really sketchy and ominous by the time he finally shows up. Adrianne's lover.

In the midst of this movie-making misadventure, at a cave nearby the site, lives a family of three mythological beasts, the last of their kind; the adults know of the danger humans pose over them so they do their best to be left unseen and alone, but the youngest of them all have grown curious of the bells and whistles these interlopers brought along, luring it close to their set. Unbeknownst to the little one, as well as most of the crew, something wasn't right. Something was done to an FX shot that not only ends up with a charred body, but also the death of the male beast's loved ones.

And then, as the book said: 'All hell broke loose'.

From that point on, The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot goes full gear on the creature feature-cum-slasher flick thrills and spills as the now vengeful Bigfoot unleashes a torrent of pain and suffering towards the film crew, brawling with some, massacring the others. Intriguingly, this gruesome fiasco also brings out the worst from our doomed gang as Rob and Danny loses their marbles at the fact that Bigfoot exists and decided together that raw footage of a cryptid attack is better than no footage at all, thus paying it all in blood, while a few of the actors start to fight and betray one another reasons both sinister and petty. So the tension is written astonishingly high around this act, both from the brutality of the monster's attacks and, too, the uncertainty of who among the thespians are trustworthy or not; A LOT of the murders here have so much vivid gory details on them, my inner gorehound was more than just satisfied. It was quenched! Like, for real, it's like reading kills from any one of Adam Greene's Hatchet movies! And devolution of a once chummy film production down to a horrifying battle for survival simply spells a captivating read as the it does beg you to question where all of this is going now that almost every man and woman are out for themselves, with each chapter paced for a speedy read and ending on good hooks before jumping to the next one.  

My only qualms here is that a few twist reveals feel a tad unnecessary, especially one example which does fall into spoiler territories but I will at least say that it added nothing to the overall direction, just more excuse to pen down a gory demise. The cynical mean-spiritedness of it all may not sit too kindly for some readers as well, but, for me, there is something quite astonishing from fact that almost all of the characters were made into unlikeable douches at the end and the only one you get to feel for in some way is the killer Bigfoot as you do get to understand why he's this pissed off towards these humans. This stunt does cheapen a lot of the formerly fleshed out characters into meat bags deserving of being torn in half, yes, but when the payoff is a great read of mayhem and disturbing fates, I does help not to take this book too seriously and just enjoy The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot as the hammy, bloody horror novel that it is.

The story ends on an admittedly disturbing note, one that punches the right cards for shock and shlock, fitting right well with the absurd craziness of this Bigfoot attack /backwoods slasher story. That being said, The Bloody Tracks of Bigfoot is a fun neat read if you love a bad creature feature and the bloodiest of bodycounter flicks, one that's packed with feisty fromage and a bitter streak on the side. Should you ever find yourself with some time to kill and read B-grade cryptid horror, why not give this page-turner a try? 

Bodycount: 15
Notable Kill: Honestly, it's hard to pick just one. But if I do have to pick one, it has to be that one guy who fought Bigfoot, only to be humbled by the creature not once, but TWICE! I wouldn't say much what happened, but all I could say is that after bearing so much of that guy's cockiness, I am just glad we got the hairy fella recreating a kill from Madman (1981), only with a few more muscles and organs strewn around~

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