"Bog" is a monster movie shot in Harshaw, Wisconsin, in 1978 that had so little going for it, a lot of people love it.

It was director Don Kesslar's first and, not surprisingly, only film after he had been at the helm of multiple TV commercials, including his pride and joy: the ones featuring Tony the Tiger.

The dialogue for "Bog" was atrocious, the script haphazard, the acting mediocre at best, the lighting inept, the monster costume so heavy even the strapping local guy who wore it couldn't move around much, and every shot of the titular bog actually shows a lake.

The director and one of the stars, Gloria DeHaven, were under the impression "Bog" was never even released, and DeHaven groused years later about never having been paid for playing not one, but two roles.

Among those who found all that awful so endearing he developed an enduring fondness for the film is northwest Columbus resident Todd Brown.

In fact, he's so big on "Bog" he organized a 40th anniversary screening of the movie Aug. 18 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, the closest town to Harshaw that has a movie theater.

Brown, who works in logistics, first saw "Bog" with some friends when he was 16 in Wapakoneta. It quickly became his holy grail of horrible horror movies.

"We were jumping up and down we were so happy we had discovered this," Brown recalled. "My love of bad movies sort of took off from there.

"It was just a failure in every regard."

"I never knew it existed until my husband told me about it," said Natalie Brown, a data management consultant. "At first I thought it was very endearing.

"Once Bog-fest was in full effect, I started to worry about him a little bit."

Originally titled "The Horror of Bog Lake," the resulting film saw only limited theatrical release in the South, according to Todd Brown and Los Angeles resident Chris Miller, another major fan of the film who traveled to Wisconsin for the 40th anniversary screening.

"It's not just a total piece of crap," said Miller, who has worked on Blu-ray releases of such DVDs as "Monster Dog," starring Alice Cooper.

"A lot of fun and effort went into it," Miller said.

"There are a lot of bad movies out there, but not a lot of them had that genuine aspect. This had more of a heart."

The Aug. 18 showing was the first time locals, including a man with a very strong connection to the film, ever had the opportunity to see "Bog" in a theater.

"I was Bog," said Thomas Jeff Schwaab, the 6-foot-7-inch, 250-pound farmer tapped to play the monster.

Now 70 and retired from farming, a career as a homebuilder and a stint as a licensed appraiser, Schwaab said the screening was the experience of a lifetime.

"It was incredible," he said. "I figured there would be, like, 30 or 40 people there, and there were 300. That was strange. A lot of the people who were there, particularly the ones out of California, they dressed up the same as people in the movie."

"It wasn't 300," Todd Brown said. "It was almost a full house in the theater, but it was more like 100. We thought 30 people were going to show up at the most."

Natalie Brown got in on the act by creating a Bog costume for the couple's 18-month-old daughter, Magnolia.

"She was the unofficial greeter at the theater," her mom said.

"I got to see a campy movie that was filmed in my area on the big screen," said Rhinelander resident Katie Schramke.

"It's so bad it's good. It's one of those movies that was kind of innocently made. They didn't seem to know what they were doing, and that made it special."

"I had a couple of relatives who are in awe of the fact I was in a movie, but these people treated me like I was a star," Schwaab said.

"I signed autographs for at least an hour and a half."

Todd Brown said his favorite actor in "Bog" was Ed Clark, who played Deputy Jensen in his one and only film role, and he was disappointed at not being able to track him down to invite him to the screening.

"You can really tell that he thinks that movie is going to be a big break for him," Todd Brown said. "Everything about his delivery is kind of wrong, but you can tell he was trying.

"I just wanted to find that guy and give him a hug."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1