Articles from the Boston Compass, Psychotronic Movies in our Zone

The Films of Charles B. Pierce

PMIOZ: April 2015



The Films of Charles B. Pierce

Fridays & Saturdays, 11:59PM @ COOLIDGE

4/10 & 4/11 — The Town That Dreaded Sundown

4/17 & 4/18 — The Evictors

4/24 & 4/25 — Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues

An American independent-filmmaking legend is getting his due here in Boston as three of Charles B. Pierce’s numerous low-budget oddities get the Coolidge midnight-movie treatment in April. Pierce made independent exploitation films, as well as outcast antihero fare, through the ’70s and beyond. He also worked as set decorator for other indies like Coffy and Black Belt Jones. The legacy of Pierce is what was once the American filmmaking dream: driven director gathers a bunch of friends as cast and crew, a quality low-budget film is made, and AIP picks it up and gets it into every drive-in from Weirs Beach to Mel’s in Los Angeles.

Pierce’s directorial debut, The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), made 25 million dollars!! And that’s early-’70s dollars! Sadly, that terrific film is not screening as part of this series. With that success in his back pocket though, Pierce went on to make a slew of other films aimed at that big outdoor screen. The best among these has to be The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), an early slasher film based upon the real-life, never-apprehended Phantom Killer of Texarkana AR, who more or less set into motion the “lover’s-lane murder” scenario. Weird movie. Seldom screened, for sure.

The worst among them is probably Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues (1985). The director was apparently very hesitant to make this film, but he did anyway. He later described it as his worst movie, a description buoyed by the film’s use as fodder for an episode of MST3K. Catch a screening and delight your degenerate self with the Arkansas-bred underground cinema of Charles B. Pierce!

Dan Shea

 This article originally appeared in #63, the April 2015 edition of the Boston Compass.

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