If archeologists can be cinematic heroes, why can’t academic investigators into unknown fauna play the same role? In the excellent Scottish TV series Sea of Souls, academic researchers into psychic phenomena take centre-stage — though they do come over as convincing academics and therefore don’t show much by way of Indy’s action-hero theatrics. Still, the principle is there. And they get attacked by ghosts…
I’ve often wondered why no one has attempted to create a franchise featuring the learned and not-so-learned activities of an adventurous cryptozoologist. In reality both archeologists and cryptozoologists (and psychic researchers, no doubt) spend a lot of time not fighting, not battling Nazis, exotic Death Cultists or aliens, and not travelling to exotic places, but rather they read, catalogue, conduct intricate investigations into endless minutae, write papers and scramble for funding. Still, films deal with the more romantic side of things — and there’s lots of romance that could be extrapolated from (and inserted into) the activites of a cryptozoologist. Think Bigfoot, prehistoric survivors, Yetis, the Mothman, dragons, Big Black Cats and lake monsters of all kinds, including the most famous cryptoid — Nessie.
Then there’s the similar Canadian lake monster, Ogopogo.
The Beast of Bottomless Lake (Canada-2008; dir. Craig March) is a film about academic cryptozoologists hunting for evidence of Ogopogo.
Dr Paul Moran, Cryptozoologist at the University of British Columbia, has very little left to lose. His program is losing its funding, and his tenure is about to be denied. In a last-ditch effort to save his career, Moran heads to Kelowna, a city on the shore of Lake Okanagan that has put up a $2 million bounty for proof positive that the legendary Okanagan Lake serpent, the Ogopogo, exists. Moran’s mis-matched team includes: his research assistant, Sondra Blackburn; Professor of Conspiracy theory, Dr Leslie Morgenstern; Neville Bernard Vincent St. John Honey III, a technician on loan from the Royal Commission on the Loch Ness Monster; and physicist with a secret, Stewart Murphy. Tagging along for the ride is film-student Ernie McKellar and his cameraman, documenting the teams’ not-so-glorious moments.
The trip is a disaster — denied access to a luxury resort, they end up in Paul’s loopy parent’s basement, lose an expensive prototype high-tech device on the first day, share their research vehicle with a wedding party, and get arrested. With every turn, they get further from their goal, and closer to a breakdown. The team is ripped apart.
Broken and defeated, Paul has one last, desperate chance. Will he be able to defeat the Beast within?
Not much indication here of the actual role that the monster will play, but I confess I like the dramatically realistic tone of this outline.
Provost Pictures Ltd. was founded by Keith Provost, Kennedy Goodkey and Craig March. Its aims are described thus: “Provost Pictures Ltd. is in the business of creating commercially viable digital media to an international market. By focusing on inherently Canadian stories with a broad appeal and a strong sense of artistic integrity will create a body of work that is both unique and unified. Provost Pictures challenge themselves to make excellent quality work, and to ‘let’ it be Canadian.”
You can read a history of the project here.
The movie is still in post-production, but the Backbrain will keep an eye on how it’s progressing and let you know.
Meanwhile, here is a teaser trailer:
Source: via Kaiju Search-Robot Avery