Strange Wilderness (2008)

Strange Wilderness 2008tt0489282.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Strange Wilderness (2008)
  • Rate: 5.0/10 total 13,303 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 1 February 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: USA:87 min | Argentina:87 min
  • Filming Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Gross: $6,563,357(USA)(2 March 2008)
  • Director: Fred Wolf
  • Stars: Steve Zahn, Allen Covert and Justin Long
  • Original Music By: Waddy Wachtel   
  • Soundtrack: Manhattan Ice
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
  • Plot Keyword: Bigfoot | TV Show | Ecuador | Friend | Bolt Clipper

Writing Credits By:

  • Peter Gaulke (written by) &
  • Fred Wolf (written by)

Known Trivia

  • The two main characters are named after the film’s screenwriters.
  • “Strange Wilderness” began its life in the 1990’s as a series of independently produced short videos by former “Saturday Night Live” writers Fred Wolf and Peter Gaulke. “They started out as little parodies of wildlife shows,” explains writer and producer Gaulke. “Fred and I went out and shot them with the help of John Burrud, who actually has a real-life wildlife show. His father Bill used to host ‘Animal World’ and other travel and nature shows back in the ’60s. So John helped us produce these little shorts which we eventually got onto Comedy Central.”

Goofs: Continuity: In the RV, the face of Cooker's beer can changes direction between shots.

Plot: With the ratings dropping for a wilderness-themed TV show, two animal fans go to the Andes in search of Bigfoot. Full summary »  »

Story: When his father dies, Peter Gaulke inherits "Strange Wilderness," dad's TV show about animals. After ratings plummet and the show is canceled, we watch a long flashback to see its demise. The studio head gives the show two more weeks. An old friend brings a story about Bigfoot in Ecuador, so a long road trip ensues with stops along the way and enough problems, misjudgments, and deaths to sink a less intrepid band. Peter's team faces competition from a better-funded and more practiced set of rivals. Who will find Bigfoot first, and will they get it on tape and save the show? Can Peter make dad proud?Written by <>  


Synopsis: The movie begins with a few wildlife show bloopers hosted by an elderly man. Shifting to Peter Gaulke talking on the phone, you find that the elderly host is Peter’s recently deceased father. Peter inherited the wildlife show, called "Strange Wilderness", but admits he is not as talented as his father. He begins to tell his story, which began some months back. With Peter hosting, it becomes obvious that his crew is nowhere near professional and even Peter lacks knowledge of wildlife. This leads to inappropriate scenes and the stating of wildely fictitious animal facts. The crew comprises of boom operator Fred, cameraman Milas, Milas’s stoner nephew Junior, and lazy laborer Cooker. Peter and Fred meet with their executive, Ed Lawson, who tells them he’s cancelling Strange Wilderness in two weeks and is now promoting a new show with famous wildlife host Sky Pierson. Desperate to save his show, Peter fortunantely meets with an old friend of his dad, Bill Calhoun, who claims to have discovered Bigfoot in South America. The mentally unstable Bill asks Gaulke for one thousand dollars in exchange for the map to Bigfoot. Out of respect, Bill claims to have come to Gaulke first but if Gaulke could not give him the money, he was instead going to sell the map to Pierson. Gaulke convinces Bill to hold to on the map for a few days as Gaulke raises the money to bring to Bill’s home. Milas informs Gaulke he won’t be able to make the trip because of his late age but ensures that his nephew can handle the job. Gaulke hires a "wildlife handler" named Whitaker, an alcoholic car mechanic. They pool their money and start for Bill’s cabin in an RV. Gaulke’s friend Danny and the new public relations agent named Cheryl join the crew. A little ways into the trip, Fred spots sea lions prompting Gaulke to shoot footage. Danny dresses in a giant sea lion costume, intending to get close up shots. Danny is attacked by a shark and seriously wounded. The crew uses their money to pay for Danny’s treatment, leaving them broke. After a run in with some latino gang bangers, Gaulke and Fred are forced to a dentist after having their teeth knocked out. While waiting, Junior manages to steal a tank of nitrous from the dentist to sell and get their money back. Unfortunently the tank began to leak in the RV causing the crew to go on a two day long nitrous bender. They arrive at Bill’s cabin to find out Bill already sold the map to Pierson after being unable to contact Gaulke. Bill is extremely paranoid and needed the money to keep up with his needs for antipscychotics. He has multiple cameras in his home and deduces that he can make out the map for Gaulke from the footage of Pierson’s visit. The footage showed Pierson having sex with Bill’s wife, enraging Bill and prompting him to hook Gaulke up with a discount for hiring a successful tracker named Gus Haden who would navigate them to their destination. Leaving Bill’s cabin, Gaulke discovers baby turkeys while urinating. The mother turkey attacks the exposed Peter and winds up with Peter’s penis lodged in its throat. It’s discovered the turkey was part of a government study and locating the turkey yields the crew a five thousand dollar reward. At the Mexican border, Gaulke pisses off the border agents and they wind up with their RV torn apart and Gaulke walking funny after an assumed cavity search. Once released, the crew takes a plane for the rest of the journey and meet up with a man named Dick who leads them to Gus Haden. During the night, Gus Haden steals all of the crews possessions, along with the map, and disappears with Cheryl. The crew tries to proceed with Dick as their new guide, but while crossing a river Dick is killed and eaten by piranhas. Cheryl returns to their group, claiming she found Gus stealing their stuff and convinced him to take her with him. She managed to get the map after doing a sexual favor for Gus, so they crew drudges on. Sky Pierson and his crew are discovered dead, killed by the natives, leaving behind their firearms that the crew then picks up. They eventually find Bigfoot’s cave and Gaulke begins a voiceover with the cameras rolling.Behind Gaulke’s back, Big Foot emerges from the cave, stretching and yawning. Noticing the crew, a confused Bigfoot manages to say "Huh?" before the panicked crew guns him down. In an effort to rescue the story, the crew hangs Bigfoot in his cave so as to make him appear as though he commited suicide, despite the obvious, bloody bullet wounds. Ed Lawson rejects Gaulke, leading to the crew fighting eachother and disbanding. It’s returned to the beginning scene, where Gaulke is talking on the phone, having concluded his story. Milas visits Peter in his apartment, convincing him to not give up and to reassemble the crew. In the final Strange Wilderness clip, the crew, along with a now healed Danny, taunts the great white shark that attacked in the sea lion scene. It then concludes with Ed Lawson praising Gaulke, stating that people love sharks. With Pierson now dead, Lawson approves putting Strange Wilderness back on the air, much to the suprise of Gaulke and Fred.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Glenn S. Gainor known as executive producer
  • Peter Gaulke known as producer
  • Jack Giarraputo known as executive producer
  • Edward Milstein known as executive producer
  • Erin Newell known as associate producer
  • Adam Sandler known as executive producer
  • Paul Schwake known as executive producer
  • Bill Todman Jr. known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Steve Zahn known as Peter
  • Allen Covert known as Fred
  • Jonah Hill known as Cooker
  • Kevin Heffernan known as Whitaker
  • Ashley Scott known as Cheryl
  • Peter Dante known as Danny Gutierrez
  • Harry Hamlin known as Sky Pierson
  • Robert Patrick known as Gus Hayden
  • Joe Don Baker known as Bill Calhoun
  • Blake Clark known as Dick
  • Justin Long known as Junior
  • Jeff Garlin known as Ed Lawson
  • Ernest Borgnine known as Milas
  • Jake Abel known as Conservationist
  • Kevin Alejandro known as Hispanic Man #1
  • Rick Batalla known as Johnny B
  • Terrence Beasor known as Elderly Man
  • Richard Cassese known as Richard
  • Steven Arthur Chaves known as Federale #2
  • Judith Drake known as Elderly Woman
  • John Farley known as Doctor
  • Ayda Field known as Mountain Nurse
  • Oliver Hudson known as TJ / Animal Handler
  • Geno Kirkland known as Hispanic Man #2
  • Sheila Lussier known as Bill's Wife
  • Rene Marentes known as Federale #3
  • David Mattey known as Bigfoot
  • Jim Meskimen known as Park Ranger Don
  • Mitsuyuki Oishi known as Angry K-PIP Employee
  • Michelle Paniz known as Girl with Magazine
  • Jennifer Perkins known as Debra
  • Alveraz Ricardez known as Federale #1 (as Dean Ricardez)
  • Emilio Rivera known as Border Guard #2
  • Bryan Ross known as Bryan
  • Roberto 'Sanz' Sanchez known as Border Guard #3 (as Roberto Sanchez)
  • Jason Sandler known as Jason
  • Angela Shelton known as Dental Receptionist
  • Mario Soto known as Border Guard #1
  • Meg Wolf known as Judy – K-PIP Receptionist
  • Molly Wolf known as Little Girl
  • Shawn Woodward known as Shawn
  • Sheryl Chambers known as Girl from Long Beach (uncredited)
  • Brooke Lenzi known as Bikini Girl (uncredited)
  • Jason Williams known as Bike Messenger (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Karen Faye known as key makeup artist
  • Jonathan Fuller known as sculptor: Almost Human, Inc.
  • Robert Hall known as special makeup/animatronics
  • Rose Librizzi known as makeup department head
  • Mike Mekash known as additional makeup artist
  • Debbie Mezera known as office manager: Almost Human, Inc.
  • Peter Murphy known as sculptor/painter
  • Erik Porn known as lab technician: Almost Human, Inc.
  • Kim Santantonio known as key hair stylist
  • Darnell Shepherd known as fabricator: Almost Human, Inc.
  • Carme Tenuta known as key makeup artist (as Carmé Tenuta)
  • Nancy Tong known as hair department head (as Nanxy Tong-Heater)
  • Leah Vautrot known as additional makeup artist
  • Danelle Vierkant known as sculptor: Almost Human, Inc.

Art Department:

  • Chris Barnes known as lead painter
  • Max E. Brehme known as property master
  • Michael Broussard known as construction coordinator: additional photography
  • John Collins known as assistant art director
  • Tiffany Cowsill known as set dresser
  • William Eliscu known as graphic designer
  • Todd Harris known as storyboard artist
  • Elizabeth Hart known as paint foreman
  • Paul McDuffy known as set dresser
  • Tim Scheu known as leadman
  • Erich W. Schultz known as construction coordinator
  • Kat Wilson known as art department coordinator


Production Companies:

  • Pelican Productions LLC (I)
  • Happy Madison Productions
  • Level 1 Entertainment

Other Companies:

  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies
  • Direct Tools & Fasteners  expendables
  • NovaStar Digital  sound re-recording
  • Warner Bros. Studio Facilities  sound editing and re-recording
  • iO Film  digital intermediate
  • iO Films  digital intermediate


  • Paramount Pictures (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Golden Village Entertainment (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Viva International Pictures (2008) (Philippines) (theatrical)
  • Argentina Video Home (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Central Partnership (2008) (Russia) (all media)
  • RCV Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • RTL Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (RTL7)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Almost Human (special make-up and animatronic effects)
  • Momentum VFX (digital visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Christopher Dusendschon known as digital imaging supervisor: iO FILM
  • Shant Jordan known as digital effects artist
  • Iain Marcks known as digital imaging technician: iO FILM (as Iain Stasukevich)
  • Brian Shows known as digital intermediate executive producer

Release Date:

  • USA 1 February 2008
  • Ireland 11 April 2008
  • UK 11 April 2008
  • Philippines 23 April 2008
  • Russia 24 April 2008
  • Spain 13 June 2008
  • Netherlands 8 July 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Singapore 24 July 2008
  • Greece 22 September 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 24 November 2008 (DVD premiere)
  • Australia 5 February 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Argentina 26 August 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 17 September 2009 (TV premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for non-stop language, drug use, crude and sexual humor


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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