Shooting Bigfoot with Morgan Matthews
Following Bigfoot hunters across Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Ohio San Antonio, Shooting Bigfoot is an hilarious and at times heart pounding documentary. It starts with Matthews innocently following the ‘researchers’ and ‘trackers’ on the hunt for towering hairy creatures and ends with him getting a black eye in a torch-lit chase through the trees, reminiscent of the Blair Witch project.
After the screening Matthews answered questions from the audience, one of the first of which was: Who hit you?
“I prefer leaving it open ended . . . for people to make their own minds up. I don’t think it was Bigfoot.”
Matthews said that it seemed inevitable that he would be set up whilst filming but didn’t know from who or when and that he started to doubt and second guess everything he saw:
“When I heard those noises, I thought it was one of the guys in the wood playing a tape or something, rather than an owl. I kind of thought it was going to come one way or another but I wasn’t sure from which direction . . . apart from Dallas and Wayne. I never thought Dallas and Wayne were going to produce the goods.”
During filming Matthews spent time with three different groups of Bigfoot hunters (among others who didn’t make the final cut). Matthews spent hours alone whilst on stake out in the forest with Dyer and he is now in a row with him over the ownership of Matthews’ documentary footage – it seemed that that relationship was the one that had genuine tension. An audience member asked if Matthews felt safe with Rick Dyer?
“I never trusted Rick. That was what made him interesting. It was freaky at times and when you are in the tent in the woods and it’s four in the morning and there are weird noises around it is a bit freaky and Rick is . . . playing silly buggers. . . . I genuinely never felt Rick was somebody who would either harm me . . . well, hmm . . . I never thought that he’d actually, properly . . . I never thought that he’d shoot me. I don’t think he’s that sort of person.”
Another audience member pointed out the amount of weapons that were on display throughout the documentary and asked if the idea of hunting Bigfoot was just an excuse for blokes to swan about in the forest with guns.
“Almost all about that. . . . They’re doing it for different reasons. But ultimately they’re guys behaving like kids, in a good way, like kids in the woods”
However, Matthews said that he thought there was more to it:
“With Dallas and Wayne, they’re guys who had jobs who had a purpose who lost that and then found Bigfoot. That became their reason to get up in a way. They’re known within that world. With all these communities connected by the Internet somebody who was otherwise previously kind of isolated or weird now there’s a network of people they can be in touch with.”
Director Morgan Matthews introduces tonight's screening of Shooting Bigfoot. pic.twitter.com/9MV7Xf9WHs
— Frontline Club (@frontlineclub) March 17, 2014
Did you ever feel like you were exploiting them?
“I think it’s a fair question, I don’t think they’re mental as in mentally ill. They’re quite a bit bonkers in a way that they’re aware of, . . . they’re all showmen to an extent. They’re all aware of themselves part of what they’re doing is involving me in that show.
“I felt it went both ways, sometimes they were taking the piss out of me and sometimes it went the other way. It was genuinely a lot of fun. I laughed so much on that trip but genuinely with them. Tom [a serial Bigfoot film maker] just has you in stitches and sometimes it’s hard to hold the camera straight. When Chico [an ex-navy SEAL on the expedition with Tom] fell in the water we were all creasing up in laughter and . . . that’s with them, it’s not at them.”
Was there a point where you found yourself wanting to believe it?
“I think it started like that and I kind of wanted to uncover something . . . [but] I became interested in the story of people, where the lines between fact and fiction were very blurred and they almost invent their own reality and live in that. A case where you believe in something so much it becomes true. The parallels with religion were very clear to me.”
When asked if he felt any of the guys genuinely believed in Bigfoot Matthews said:
“Yeah, but it’s sort of when Tom says that people start believing their own bullshit, I think that’s kind of what happened.”
Shooting Bigfoot airs on BBC 4 at 9pm on Monday March 24, 2014. Find out more here.
Watch the full Q&A and the trailer for Shooting Bigfoot below: