He won’t be remembered well. His name and face won’t be part of the 2011 Oscar “In Memoriam” celebration of famous film personalities past. For many, he will always be the consummate motion picture rogue, an ex-ad man turned self-taught director who created two of the ‘70s most shocking drive-in experiences - 1972’s The Legend of Boggy Creek and 1977’s The Town that Dreaded Sundown. The former focused on a Bigfoot-like creature that supposedly stalked the population of Fouke, Arkansas since the 1950s. The latter was an Unsolved Mysteries style exposé of “the Phantom Killer”. Together, they gave Charles B. Pierce a foothold in the final phases of exploitation, the moments before schlock became softcore - and then went totally XXX.
Pierce is the perfect Tinseltown afterthought, a man driven by the dollar to make the kind of product he thought would line them up outside the local Bijou. If he had greater artistic aspirations, his mediocre returns almost always usurped them. He got his start in film as a set decorator, working on such noted offerings as The Phantom Tollbooth, Dirty Dingus Magee, and Roger Vadim’s first American movie Pretty Maids All in a Row. All throughout his time behind the lens, he would return to said craft, contributing to blaxsploitation gems like Coffy and big budget releases like The Outlaw Josie Wales and The Cheap Detective. Wanting to test the talent waters outside of his role as part of the ancillary crew, he found backing for his attempted epic, The Legend of Boggy Creek. The rest, as they say, is cheddar cheese history.