When I think of grainy, burned into the mind of the populace, films three come to mind: the footage of the Loch Ness Monster, the Zapruder film, and, lastly, the film this book is about, the Patterson-Gimlin (Bigfoot) film. Bigfoot, and his snowbound cousin the Yeti (“Abominable Snowman”), have been a touchstone in popular culture from the Abominable Snow Creature of the North (“The Bumble”) in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the Wampas on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back to Harry and the Hendersons. Obviously, the Zapruder film is the most clearly factual and had the biggest impact on history/society, but all three have been fodder for conspiracy theorists and have gained a good footing in our culture over the years.
I wrote that paragraph before cracking the cover of this book, but it matches up pretty well with the introduction. It also leads to the only sentence that can be conclusively stated about the Patterson-Gimlin film: it is either a lucky glimpse of a mystery of nature caught on a few frames of film or a piece of fantastic film making.
I’d say “spoiler alert”, but given that this book exists, hopefully you’ve figured out the film hasn’t been proven to be either real or a hoax perpetrated for over 50 years. The author explores the film and the men behind it, but also presents other sightings of Yeti or Bigfoot from around the country/world… whether from true believers or just believers of the Hollywood magic on the screen before them for a few hours. Also explored is the sordid history of the film itself and the chain of causality that has brought it from two rodeo friends in the backwoods of California to a mythic piece of Americana.
There is a lot information, and more than a little opinion from Bigfoot fans, cryptozoologists and movie makers, packed into a bit over 100 pages. If you’re looking for an answer, this won’t provide it. However, if you’re looking for fuel for the flame of an open mind, The Weirdest Movie Ever Made: The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film is for you!