You may know Bobcat because of his extensive career in comedy. He’s an acclaimed stand-up comedian and actor known for performances in film and television and he’s also not afraid to take on roles behind the camera, with plenty of experience writing and directing.
But recently, his career has taken a slightly different direction, leading him to write and direct his first horror film – Willow Creek – a movie about bigfoot which is a subject that holds a great deal of personal interest for him.
And the best thing is that the film has been well received, attracting heaps of praise at screenings and festivals and even winning awards ahead of its official release.
We booked in some time with Bobcat to talk about the Willow Creek and the motivation behind its creation.
Bobcat Goldthwait Interview
You’re a seasoned master of comedy, but what did you have to learn to create something scary?
I wanted to see if I could pull of a scary, sensible movie and I learned a lot about the basic rules of horror that I didn’t know of before. I realised that it’s very similar to comedy in that you have the debate and switch going on to misdirect the audience.
But for me the big thing was that I wanted to have characters that you felt were real and that you were relating to so that when the shit hits the fan you are more involved in what you’re watching.
Personally, I’m always rooting for the monsters.
Yeah, they want to see bad things happen to bad people. But I’m more interested in seeing bad things happen to good people! *laughs*
Talking about getting the audience involved, you used the found footage format, which is getting a bit of a mixed press at the moment. What made you go in direction.
When I went up to Willow Creek it just lent itself to that style. I went there visiting before making the movie just because I am a bigfoot enthusiast, so I put about 1400 miles on my car just driving around California visiting all the famous bigfoot sites.
I was very weird about making a found footage movie because I don’t like found footage movies. I don’t dislike all of them, but so many times you know, you’re thinking ‘why is this person still filming?’ and also ‘who found this footage and edited a film out of it?’ that person should be arrested!
I think you’re okay doing it as long as you don’t start the film with a caption saying ‘This is actual footage found at the scene’ when it obviously isn’t.
Yeah, I had no interest in doing that. For some reason it’s the only form of film making that does that, you know, you watch a Western and you don’t need it to say ‘this is actual footage that we found of Kevin Costner in a gunfight. We hope you enjoy it’.
You talked a bit about the time you spent researching for the film. But how long did it take to shoot?
The actual filming of the movie was about five days. It only took us a week to make the movie. Driving up to Willow Creek is about an eleven hour drive and I made everyone nervous when I couldn’t figure out quite where I wanted to film the movie, so the first day we really didn’t film anything.
It was only after I made the movie that I realised that the reason I was doing that was because there was one scene in particular that’s on a dry riverbed and clearly I was looking an area that looked like that.
Being a bigfoot enthusiast, was making a horror movie about bigfoot something that you’d been thinking about doing for a long time?
Well no, I didn’t really know what kind of movie wanted to make about bigfoot, I just knew that I wanted to make a bigfoot movie. The genesis of the movie was really me thinking that there are things that you just don’t do with your life because you think you’ll get to them some other time. And this was just one of those things where I just got in a car and took off. It was really good for my brain to be doing what I wanted.
I think it’s really important to just recharge your batteries.
I really wasn’t looking to make a movie and then I ended up making a movie just because I did something that was something I wanted to do.
I think it’s really important for comedians and people that make movies to make sure that you have outside interests and to live a life so that you have something to write about.
Definitely. Well, it has been really well received, so you’re method works.
Did you have any experiences while you were out there researching or shooting?
Not really. There was a mountain lion where we were filming. But I’d say the scariest thing was when at three o’clock in the morning the ranger who was with us started telling me that he’s a writer too. But he writes books that are like Twilight and they’re for tweens in the bigfoot community, and I was like ‘oh, coming of age stories? What’s the name of your book?’ and he said ‘well the first one is called Yeti or Not’.
Maybe that will be my sequel.
So do you think you’ll carry on in the direction of horror?
Well yeah, I have written a more out and out gore film like one of my favourite movies, Dead Alive.
The one with the guy using a lawnmower as a weapon at the end?
Yeah, it’s a Christmas tradition since my daughter was little that we’d sit down and watch Dead Alive. And so I’ve been wanting to make a more out and out gore movie.
Well it was a Peter Jackson movie, so if you follow in his footsteps you be making multi million dollar blockbusters in no time.
I’m gonna try my best not to be corrupted by CGI. I think it kinda ruins movies. I don’t know, it just seems weird. So much of it doesn’t work for me now.
What do you think is the closest you’ve got to meeting bigfoot?
Well certainly Bobo from Finding Bigfoot, I really feel that he is simply just a bigfoot that somebody shaved *laughs*.
But you know I have been out in the woods with the guys while we were looking around and have heard animal noises and I had no idea what they were. That was kinda fun.
The problem with being me is if I went out and actually saw bigfoot, I’m doomed. It would be ‘comedian Bobcat finds bigfoot’. I don’t even know if I’d turn on the camera.
Do you think there’ll be a sequel?
If you’re making movies, aren’t all your movies a sequel?