It was back in the dim and distant month of September 2017 when I spoke with actor and all-round Rock god Billy Blair, in what was the inaugural 5D Conversation on our sister Youtube channel. I had originally wanted to talk with Billy mainly in relation to his previous work in the movie Machete with Robert Rodruigez and his upcoming appearance in the much vaunted Rodruigez/James Cameron production of Alita: Battle Angel. To be honest I have to admit that with it being my first chat of this kind I was more than a little nervous, especially as we had to postpone the original scheduled call after Billy was unable to make it to the interview – perhaps it is just a vicious rumour that reason he couldn’t make it was because he was fully embracing the actor/rock god persona of living it up, working hard and sleeping in (thus not waking up for our call).
So after calling him out on this quite frankly diva-like behaviour Billy and I managed to talk….. and what an endearing and entertaining person he turned out to be. After talking about his aforementioned work with Robert Rodruigez plus his life as a musician with his band Junk conversation turned to he current project, namely a film he was incredibly proud to be working on.
At this point in time Cherokee Creek was still in post-production and some way off completion when Billy talked about his collaboration in the project with director Todd Jenkins, the experience of making the movie and what we could expect from the finished product. If you want to see the interview you can find it RIGHT HERE.
So it was with genuine delight that just a few days ago that I finally managed to see the film, but before I throw some incisive thoughts and opinions your way let me give you a brief synopsis.
The opening scene finds us with two hapless individuals who decide that winning a million dollars to hunt down the mythical Bigfoot is how they want to spend their weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
Some time later it’s the turn of a group of friends to visit the fabled hunting grounds of the Bigfoot, this time though the venture seems more less dangerous – to throw a surprise bachelor party for an unsuspecting friend, complete with campfire stories, beer, music and strippers! Again, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, after some debauched bachelor partying it seems that the fabled creature decides that it wants to get in on the action – though the Bigfoot’s idea of how to spend an evening in the woods is a far more gory and violent sort of party after it finds the unsuspecting group in its territory!
I have to say that I unashamedly loved Cherokee Creek, a movie that equally unashamedly wears it’s heart on its sleeve as it moves through various stages of humour, horror and gore. It is also a film that will divide opinion in light of how some may find some scenes, hmmm, lets say on the offensive side of taste – something in which the delicate souls at Amazon have already lain claim to – but more of that a little later.
The one element that occasionally lets down an independent horror film is the consistent quality of acting, however here that particular issue doesn’t arise. The two ‘main’ characters of Jinx (Todd Jenkins) and his actor friend Vinny Blades (Billy Blair) are quite simply a delight as their real-life collaboration manifests itself perfectly in the chemistry between the two characters resulting in a delivery of sparkling and witty dialogue throughout. Billy perfectly plays up his part as an action movie actor whose cynical view of life and people is note perfect as his sceptical opinions on result in a constant slew of funny one-liners. On the whole, this is a fine ensemble cast of characters wth few, if any, weak links.
And this let me tell you is a funny film. For me, the one horror sub-genre that is notoriously difficult to gauge correctly is that of the horror comedy – quite frankly it isn’t usually done very well. However Cherokee Creek manages to keep just about on the right side of the ‘American Pie’ humour vibe with a series of laugh-out-loud set pieces throughout the movie.
When Billy and I talked back in 2017 he described the film that he and Todd were making as a ‘labour of love’, and it is clear to see that this is indeed the case in regard to the care and attention to detail that went into production. The film is exquisitely shot, particularly the opening scenes as the two hapless individuals travel up river to find their pot of Sasquatch gold. In terms of sound the film is top-notch with a wonderful score throughout plus the inclusion of a couple of excellent songs by Mr Blair’s band, Junk.
Of course, and self-respecting horror film needs to include, well, horror. Cherokee Creek manages to serve up a good combination of atmosphere and gore, particularly in the third act of the film as the dastardly Bigfoot decides to take distinct umbrage at the group of drunk partygoers infringing on his/her territory.
Cherokee Creek has a huge amount going for it, though it isn’t without a couple of minor negatives. For example a couple of the roles felt under explored, in particular the role of the park ranger (played by the excellent Nellie Sciutto) was criminally underused in terms of the potential it offered. In addition, the temptation to use gore rather than atmosphere occasionally seemed hard for the filmmakers to resist – however it has to be said that the special effects dept outdid themselves in the gore category, very effective indeed. In addition, as I will mention shortly, the were a couple of scenes that while shocking and offensive (there’s not necessarily anything wrong in trying to shock), the scenes could certainly have benefitted from being trimmed somewhat in terms of moving the narrative along. It must be said though that these are but minor quibbles.
As I mentioned previously, there are some that will find some scenes a little controversial in terms of taste and effect. Personally as a fully paid up member of all things Troma film-related I like nothing better to watch what some people would regard as offensive material. Yes in this film there are scenes of full-frontal male & female nudity, gory death scenes and one or two other episodes that would certainly cause certain viewer to double-take and stare in disbelief, laugh, or turn away, depending on their particular proclivity. I must admit that one particular scene had me looking away with an accompanying “urghhhh!” (relating to one of the party go-er’s toilet habit). In all honesty this would have been one scene that I would have personally trimmed – not because of its offensive nature, but more because it didn’t really add anything in my opinion to the overall narrative.
It certainly appears that there are some of a delicate nature over at Amazon after they decided against releasing the film on their platform, deciding that it is ‘too offensive’ for viewers. Thankfully the likes of iTunes, Google Play and Vudu have decided that we have the ability to actually make our own minds up about what we are watching and have indeed released it. In fact I think that I’m correct in saying that for a time Cherokee Creek was number 3 in the their pre-order charts – no mean feat indeed!
I must admit that part of me wonders that if there had been ‘bigger’ production names behind this film that the same reaction would have taken place, after all a quick flick through the platform last night highlighted a number of films that I would regard as equally near the knuckle in terms of gore and violence. I would hazard a guess that the fragile nature seems to find male and female nudity far more offensive that a good old decapitation or disembowelment by Sasquatch.
It is often said that any publicity is good publicity, whether that is true is I suppose is open to some debate (though I’m not sure that the likes of Kevin Spacey would agree). It therefore remains to be seen whether losing the streaming services from Amazon will have any sort of residual impact or if true sense will prevail with the outlets where the film can be seen, ITunes, Google Play and Vudu, will see an increase in business for the film.
Overall I would heartily recommend Cherokee Creek – if you like you horror with a good few slices of humour and gore then this is for you. The filmmakers intention was to make a film that people would enjoy for what it is, there are no pretensions or allusions of grandeur here. When Billy told me that all they wanted to do was make the best horror comedy that they could, and in the process maybe shock and offend a few people in the process, well all I can say is that they succeeded.
You can find out more about this hugely enjoyable film at the Cherokee Creek Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cherokeecreekmovie/?epa=SEARCH_BOX
BTW – The latest episode on the 5D Podcast has now been released….
5D Podcast: Aquaman, the Netflix series ‘You’ and a bit more chat about Bird Box.
In this episode of the 5D Podcast Stuart and Zack talk about the latest DC blockbuster, Aquaman as well as chatting about the new Netflix chiller, You. If that wasn’t enough we sing the praises a little more about the success of Bird Box!
We love to hear the views (good or bad!) of our listeners so if you you want to comment or provide suggestions then do so via the contact page on 5d-blog.com & we’ll feature them on the Podcast! Also, any comments & subscriptions ITunes etc are also welcome.