Hopelessly Devoted to: Gloria DeHaven!

Published March 11, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

DeHaven & Thompson

DeHaven & Thompson

Filmed in Harshaw, Wisconsin in 1978 (but not seeing the light of day until the early 1980s), Bog allows Hollywood musical royalty Gloria DeHaven (whom appeared in Step Lively with Frank Sinatra and played her own entertainer mother, Flora Parker DeHaven, in Three Little Words) to add a true (‘n truly goofy) monster flick to her aged coterie of television dramas, soap operas and afternoon hosting appearances.

In her dual roles, hyphenate Ginny Glenn (described as a coroner, pathologist and biologist by various sources from within the film) and ageless woods hag Adrianna, DeHaven simply and authoritatively illiterates scientific jargon as the former and adds a sense of mysterious menace as the former. Still lushly attractive at 53, the flaming haired singer grounds the film’s outrageous occurrences with quiet dignity and honesty. A bit of Hollywood posing does leak in when Ginny’s romance with the local sawbones (Marshall Thompson – late of It! The Terror From Beyond) reaches its peak and as she Fay Wray’s it in the fish-beast’s arms during the final moments, but as a whole DeHaven is restrained and powerful never sinking to ‘how did my career come to this?’ pathos.bog

DeHaven’s thankful subtlety grounds the film itself, which concerns a (supposedly) prehistoric sea creature brought to the surface of a small country town by illegal dynamite fishing, with a professionalism and sense of fun that allows the audience, fully, into the proceedings. Filmed almost documentary-style (like many 1970s swampland creature features such as Creature from Black Lake and Return to Boggy Creek with Dawn Wells from Gilligan’s Island) by director Don Keeslar (whom obviously embraced the outdoors – his only other directing credit is The Capture of Grizzly Adams), Bog, also, serves as a historical document – allowing one to experience small town life circa the late 70s as many locals, both professional (such as Carol Terry, of low budget cult film god Ted V. Mikels’ The Doll Squad) and not, are used in the proceedings).

In fact, the vicious creature is enacted by a 6’7”, 247 pound resident, Thomas “Jeff” Schwad. Of course, Schwad’s creature, when fully revealed, looks like a flapping, winged Creature of the Black Lagoon prototype with a massive fish for a head – making it one of the most hysterical and oddly memorable creatures of the mutant beast genre. Designed as part ecological statement (don’t blow up the fishies!) and part horny aberration (the creature survives on the blood of women and somehow, utilizes them to conjure up a boatload of fertilized, ocean bottom caviar), Bog is outrageous, choppily edited and a wonderful document of the drive-in cinema of its time. In between its bouts of monster mania, it is, also, as laid back and slow going as a long country day in the summer. If said day included a comical shot of a deputy’s hand, sinking into the drink, a la Excalibur, with a wrinkled fish’s mouth wrapped around his elbow, that is!

Classic DeHaven!

Classic DeHaven!


Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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