Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot
2011, Starring Angie Bates, Heather O'Donnell, Michael Slade, Lynzey Patterson, Luke Gallo, Daniel Moshe Johnson, Albina Nahar. Directed by William Burke.
When it comes to monsters, they don’t get much more Canadian than the Sasquatch. British Columbian newspaperman J. W. Burns had a profound effect in popularizing this mysterious creature, with articles describing First Nations encounters with the legendary cryptid in the 1920s. Yet despite his (debatably) Canadian roots, Bigfoot’s history as a protagonist of Canuck horror films pales in comparison to his prodigious output in the 1970s, where he become a sensation in independently-produced horror films.
Canada's take has been pretty limited. Released to coast on the popularity of the 1976 King Kong remake, the Canadian-Italian co-production Yeti: The Giant of the 20th Century had a giant Sasquatch smashing his way through downtown Toronto, while 2004's Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace had its titular hero battling a bionic Bigfoot in the wilds of Ottawa. The 2008 SyFy original movie Yeti: Curse of the Snowman had a dodgy CGI menace tearing up bodies outside of Vancouver. And now Bigfoot makes his return in a slightly different kind of film, a slick little softcore genre parody piece that sees the not only the infamous creature revealing himself to humans, but humans revealing themselves—indeed, all of themselves—to him.
When reports of a big hairy monster start coming in from a remote nudist resort, Prudence (Angie Bates) convinces her roommate Veruca (Albina Nahar) that uncovering proof of Bigfoot just might be the perfect opportunity to redeem herself and finally get her Cryptozoology degree. Previously, Prudence and her friend Mike were kicked out of the program after she got bored in Loch Ness and began playing with a vibrator, accidentally scaring away the creature with her onanistic moans.
Before long, Prudence, Veruca and Mike (Michael Slade) arrive at the camp where the owner, Flower (Heather O'Donnell), and her assistant, Ginger (Lynzey Patterson), tell them about recent sightings. But they’re not the only ones on Bigfoot’s mysterious trail—another researcher, Dirk (Luke Gallo), is also staying at the resort and has more underhanded plans for the hairy beast. But Prudence won’t let that happen, as her attempts to communicate with the creature (Daniel Moshe Johnson) reveal Bigfoot’s deeply held secret and solidify a bond between them.
That’s the plot, but it’s mostly a loosely strung excuse for the real reason this movie was made—there’s a truckload of simulated sex, as most of the cast members pair off at some point or another and head off to the woods or the resort’s bedrooms. Everyone walks around in the buff (except the uptight Dirk) and the filmmakers take every chance to feature classic nudist resort activities like naked yoga, swimming and, uh, hot tub orgies.
And yet despite the obvious reliance on nude girls as the film’s biggest selling point, Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot works well enough—better than it probably needs to, in fact. Steadily paced, it’s a gentle parody of genre movies that strikes a good mix of skin and story, gently prodding the action along with enough narrative and humour to keep viewers interested between scenes of buff bodies rubbing against each other. Even these scenes aren’t your typical over-serious sexual encounters with soft jazz and softer lighting—the film’s droll touch often crosses over into these moments, such as Mike and Veruca’s outlandish positions and a scene where Dirk discovers he may have developed feelings for everyone’s favourite well-endowed cryptid.
While Canada doesn’t have much of a tradition of Bigfoot movies, we’re far more versed in softcore sleaze. Shot just outside of Toronto, Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot isn’t even the first adult-oriented Canadian film shot at a real nudist camp—both 1963’s Have Figure Will Travel and 1978’s Mondo Nude were set in resorts around Toronto, and also highlighted the historically complicated relationship between the nudist lifestyle and sexualized nudity.
Bucking the modern trend, Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot is much more in line with these classic slices of sexploitation or even similar works by filmmakers like Russ Meyer, staying engaging thanks to a palpable sense of fun that drives the film from one set-up to the next. It may not have much identifiably Canadian content, but Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventure of Bigfoot’s lighthearted take on Bigfoot and B-films makes it a distinctly comic sex romp that wisely never takes the genre, or itself, too seriously—something that remains an unsolved mystery for too many filmmakers.