The Wild Man of the Navidad (2008)

The Wild Man of the Navidad 2008tt0829442.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Wild Man of the Navidad (2008)
  • Rate: 5.0/10 total 246 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Horror | Mystery | Thriller
  • Runtime: 86 min
  • Filming Location: Boerne, Texas, USA
  • Budget: $7,000(estimated)
  • Stars: Jacob Bargsley, James Bargsley and Kevin Bensmiller
  • Original Music By: James Brand  Ben Buchanan  Charlie Hurtin  Marshall Jones  James McCrea  David Turnbow   
  • Plot Keyword: Texas | Creature | Beast | Black Comedy | 1970s

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Duane Graves  screenplay
  • Justin Meeks  screenplay
  • Dale S. Rogers  story

Known Trivia

  • Several relics from co-producer Kim Henkel’s original 1974 shocker The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were used in the making of this film including the now-infamous meat hook, as well as the front step of the Leatherface house and barn door (converted into a dinner table).
  • According to a 2008 interview with the Austin Chronicle, “Wild Man” co-directors Duane Graves and Justin Meeks were in talks with The Legend of Boggy Creek creator Charles B. Pierce to bring him aboard as a co-producer. He reportedly turned them down because he instead wanted to direct the project.
  • One of the first people to see the movie was veteran B-movie character actor Jimmy Clem of The Town That Dreaded Sundown and The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II at a private screening in a Texarkana, Texas, Baptist church.
  • The part of Peggy was originally offered to 70’s scream queen Marilyn Burns of the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Eaten Alive.
  • Dale S. Rogers, the individual whose real-life journals the story is based on, reportedly refuses to watch the finished film.
  • The movie’s first screening was held at the Plestex Theater in Pleasanton, Texas, in the same room as the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s major motion picture debut The Sugarland Express, which filmed in the same area with many of the locals cast as extras.

Plot: Based on the recently acquired journals of Texan Dale S. Rogers, this vintage horror tale debunks history books to tell the veracious… See more »  »

Story: Based on the recently acquired journals of Texan Dale S. Rogers, this vintage horror tale debunks history books to tell the veracious, harrowing story of a rural Texas community whose residents were terrified for years by a mysterious creature inhabiting the nearby woods.Written by wildfan  


Synopsis: This movie is allegedly based on the real-life journals of Dale S. Rogers, a man who, in the 1970s, lived along the banks of the Navidad River in Sublime, Texas – the same area where the original legend of the Wild Man of the Navidad surfaced back in the late 1800s. The film follows Dale, his wheelchair-bound wife Jean, and her oft-shirtless, lazy-eyed caretaker Mario. Though their ranch sits on vast acres prime for paying hunters, Dale has resisted opening up the land because of the strange, Bigfoot like creatures supposedly inhabiting it. But after the prodding of some of the rifle-loving townsfolk and the loss of his welding job, Dale gives in and opens the gate to his compound. Then the hunters become the hunted. [D-Man2010]

34 years ago, Kim Henkel produced arguably the single most influential horror movie of the modern age: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Now he has teamed up with the young and talented Justin Meeks and Duane Graves for another frightening rural Texas tale.

We’ve seen plenty of low-budget period films cross our desk in the years of doing the festival, and very few get it spot-on correct. THE WILD MAN nails it, down to every last detail. The look, feel, style and even the pacing of the film gives the impression that you are actually watching a forgotten classic from the Dixie drive-in circuit.

Allegedly based on the diaries of Dale S. Rogers, the Wildman of the Navidad centers on a quiet, bookish man in a small Texas town. He keeps to himself, doesn’t socialize much with his neighbors, and with the help of a Mexican handyman cares for his severely invalid wife. When he unexpectedly loses his job as a welder, he has no choice but to open up his virgin ranch land to deer hunters for the first time in decades. This seemingly innocent decision has dire, bloody consequences, however, as his property is also home to creatures who don’t take kindly to the disruption of their way of life.

With THE WILD MAN OF THE NAVIDAD, you have to attune yourself to a certain level of, let’s call it, "naive" acting. I personally forgave that pretty quickly, chalking it up to the charm of this film. Clearly the filmmakers are using a LOT of non-actors and colorful Texas good-ol-boys, probably regulars of the actual watering hole in the actual town in which they shot. The makers of southern exploitation classics PSYCHO FROM TEXAS and POLK COUNTY POT PLANE followed the same philosophy. It worked for them, and it works for WILD MAN. A lot of it’s cinematic texture actually comes from these guys despite their stiff delivery. Lines of dialogue, like a father showing his son how to make a "cactus pussy," feel genuine and almost improvised.

It’s the other end of the spectrum for co-director, co-writer and lead actor Justin Meeks. The range of emotions with which his character has to deal is vast and you read every nuance through subtle variations in his very reserved and introverted personality. Is he a monster himself, or simply an honest man backed in to a corner who will do anything to preserve his family? Watch WILD MAN OF THE NAVIDAD and judge for yourself. This one stuck with me for a while after watching, and you will enjoy it. [D-Man2010]

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Duane Graves known as executive producer
  • Kim Henkel known as co-producer
  • Justin Meeks known as executive producer
  • Roxanne Robertson known as executive producer
  • Dale S. Rogers known as associate producer
  • Lauren Stett known as associate producer
  • Tony Wolford known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Jacob Bargsley known as Kevin Pennell
  • James Bargsley known as Melvin Pennell
  • Kevin Bensmiller known as Local – Sighting
  • Joyce Benton known as Cafe' Patron
  • Oscar Benton known as Cafe' Patron
  • Nicole Biggers known as Local – Viewing
  • Shannon Biggers known as Tanya Lynch
  • William Booth known as Mack Harris
  • Doyle Culpepper known as Cafe' Loiterer #1
  • Murray Cutbirth known as Charlie's Friend #1
  • Charlie Edwards known as Local (Posse)
  • Alex Garcia known as Mario Jalisco
  • Shasta Gaydos known as Darleen McCullough
  • Edmond Geyer known as Sheriff Lyle Pierce
  • Kelly Geyer known as Local – Viewing
  • Kerry Geyer known as Cafe' Patron
  • Ott Goebel known as Local (Posse)
  • Bill Graves known as Cafe' Patron
  • Duane Graves known as Cafe' Marquee Attendant
  • Gary Graves known as Cafe' Patron
  • Kevin Graves known as Barney
  • Tim Harden known as Herb
  • Kim Henkel known as Lionel / Radio Voice #2
  • Patrick Hewlett known as Vern Findlay
  • Wayne Hojnacki known as Charlie's Friend #2
  • Robert Holland known as Local (Posse)
  • Gary Houser known as Fred McCullough
  • William Huie known as Radio Voice #1
  • Charlie Hurtin known as Karl Crabtree
  • Harold Jambers known as Gilly Nance
  • Kenny Johnson known as Local (Posse)
  • Laura Johnson known as Betty Pierce
  • Linda Kaatz known as Peggy
  • Q.T. Kaatz known as Local – Viewing
  • William McBride known as Boss Man Jack Clem / Narrator
  • Darren McComb known as Local (Posse)
  • Andrew McDonald known as Local (Posse)
  • Patrick McDonnell known as Hog Skinner
  • Abby Meeks known as Local – Viewing
  • Jack Meeks known as Local – Sighting
  • Justin Meeks known as Dale S. Rogers
  • Preston Meeks known as Horseman
  • Stacy Meeks known as Jean Rogers
  • Tyra Meeks known as Local – Viewing
  • Kyle Nelson known as Boater
  • Arlon Retzloff known as Preacher
  • Elsie Retzloff known as Local – Viewing
  • Michael Retzloff known as Young Boy
  • Otto Retzloff known as Cafe' Loiterer #2
  • Wes Retzloff known as Local – Posse
  • David Riecher known as Local – Posse
  • Virgil Roberts known as Cafe' Patron
  • Blanton Robertson known as Otis Lockart
  • Charles Robertson known as Charlie Elam
  • Lauren Schmitt known as Hillary Benson
  • John Sholtis known as Virgil Hawkins
  • Lauren Stett known as Ava Ray
  • Darryl Stewart known as Local (Sighting)
  • Ken Williams known as Henry
  • Tony Wolford known as Bald Man in Cafe'
  • Bob Wood known as Earl Smith

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Justin Meeks known as special makeup effects artist
  • Charles Robertson known as special makeup effects artist
  • Lauren Stett known as key makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Terry Fenner known as carpenter
  • Duane Graves known as set designer
  • Patrick Hewlett known as carpenter
  • Jack Meeks known as property master
  • Greg Stett known as poster artist


Production Companies:

  • Greeks Productions

Other Companies:

  • Film Emporium Insurance Services  E&O insurance


  • IFC Films (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • MPI Home Video (2009) (USA) (DVD)

..{tab=Other Stuff}Visual Effects by:

  • James Blizzard known as main title graphics
  • Duane Graves known as visual effects editor

Release Date:

  • USA 24 April 2008 (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • USA 13 June 2008 (Another Hole in the Head Genre Film Festival)
  • Greece 18 September 2008 (Athens Film Festival)
  • USA 18 September 2008 (Temecula Valley International Film Festival)
  • USA 21 September 2008 (Fantastic Fest)
  • Poland 1 October 2008 (Cracow Film Festival)
  • USA 11 October 2008 (Schlocktober Horror Film Festival)
  • USA 11 February 2009 (IFC Festival Direct)
  • USA 11 August 2009 (DVD premiere)


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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