Duane Graves and Justin Meeks’ The Wild Man of the Navidad comes to DVD on December 7, 2021. It’s brimming with the gritty realism rooted in those 1970s documentaries, the ones that made films all the more unsettling because they didn’t look like movies; they looked like real news! Stuff like this caused me far more kinder trauma than anything else did. It’s fitting because Kim Henkel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) serves as one the producers. Originally released in 2008, The Wild Man of the Navidad’s grainy primitiveness makes it timeless.
From the press release:
Laced with tension-fueled anxiety and a moody aura, The Wild Man of the Navidad realizes an old Texas legend with a vintage ’70s horror visage. Based on the journals of Texan Dale S. Rogers, the film follows Dale, his wheelchair-bound wife, Jean, and her oft-shirtless, lazy-eyed caretaker, Mario. They live on a ranch in the sparsely populated, moonshine-soaked Texas town of Sublime, where Dale’s family has lived for more than five generations. Each night, he sets food out on his porch, but this isn’t for any pet cat — it’s for a mysterious creature that, according to local lore, has inhabited the Navidad River bottom for more than 100 years. Inside, Dale, Jean, and Mario wait in silent paranoia while the house shakes with growls and snarls right outside their door.Though the ranch sits on vast acres prime for hunting, Dale has resisted opening up the land. But after the prodding of some of the rifle-loving townsfolk and the loss of his job, he gives in and opens the gate to the compound. Then the hunter becomes the hunted. Made on a shoestring budget with a limited crew and local non-actors joining the professional ones, Duane Graves and Justin Meeks (who also stars as Dale) have crafted a haunting journey, filled with Texas-sized eeriness and bizarre characters. Less concerned with making a blood-and-guts slasher flick (though it was co-produced by Kim Henkel, creator of the 1974 classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Graves and Meeks employ a form of terror that comes from the unknown.