With a title like THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, one would be hard-pressed not to at least be somewhat interested in what a movie such as that would entail. Luckily, I’m here to tell you, as I had the chance to check it out as part of the 2018 Fantasia Film Festival, where it had its World Premiere on July 20th.
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is the feature film debut from writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski and stars the insanely talented Sam Elliott along with Aidan Turner (The Hobbit), Caitlin FitzGerald (Always Shine), Ron Livingston (The Conjuring), Sean Bridgers (Room) and Rizwan Manji (Paterson). If you are wondering how closely that title relates to the film, it’s 100% spot on, as the film centers around the man responsible for killing Hitler, and subsequently Bigfoot, which is pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.
What is important to understand is that the death of Hitler and Bigfoot don’t happen at the same time. The film opens in 1987 where we meet Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott), a quite, good-natured, elderly man who one wouldn’t think had a mean bone in his body. However, when provoked, we end up catching a glimpse of the violent acts that Calvin is capable of committing. We soon learn that Calvin is a WW2 veteran with a secret; he’s the one responsible for assassinating Adolf Hitler, a secret in which the US government and Germany have kept under wraps. As Calvin works on finding redemption for the acts of his past, he is visited by the FBI and RCMP after a string of murders are committed in Canada. They inform him that they have a mission for him, that the one responsible for these deaths is none other than Bigfoot and it’s up to Calvin to find this creature and destroy it before it eradicates humanity once and for all.
This movie is one of the most bizarre films I’ve seen, not only at Fantasia, but of all of 2018. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, because come on, it has Sam Elliott, but I’ve never seen a film that meshes so many genres into one the way that THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT did. This movie is filled with everything from action and adventure, to romance and tragedy, to horror and sadness, all within a run-time of only 98 minutes. Along with the superb acting from the entire case, the film incorporates a sweeping score from composer Joe Kraemer. In a way, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT reminded me a lot of films like Indiana Jones because of how the overall execution was presented.
In terms of horror, we really don’t see much of that until closer towards the end, when Calvin comes face-to-face with the Bigfoot. Upon tracking it down, he talks into his walkie-talkie to communicate with FBI officials and states how Bigfoot doesn’t look like what we have all been imagining it to be. As someone who has seen quite a few Bigfoot films, that statement couldn’t be more precise, as the creature design was made to look different from what we picture Bigfoot to be, but it still incorporates enough features to make it familiar. Also, I really appreciated the amount of practical effects that were used when we saw Calvin get up close and personal with Bigfoot, and though one scene in particular was quite vomit-inducing (pun intended), it was still impressive to see.
All in all, I really enjoyed THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT. There’s a lot to dissect in terms of the themes used, such as compassion, regret, redemption, and love, as well as what we become the older we get. At times I did feel as though the movie could have been dialed back a bit, but overall I think director Robert Krzykowski has a wonderful debut film on his hands and I think this will quickly become a classic in the years to come.