Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 14th, 2010
Future CZ TV: Top Ten Cryptids
by Loren Coleman
Topless Robot posted a brilliant blog list yesterday. Entitled “Top 10 Cryptozoological Creatures that Have Yet to be Exploited in Film and Television” by Kevin Guhl, it suggests exactly what its headline says it does. I am not sure I’ve heard of Kevin Guhl before, but we seem to share an occasional listing-type of mentality. I like his brain and will seek out his work, henceforth.
This is Guhl’s introduction to his list and his justification:
“Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil and El Chupacabra are among the most famous cryptids – mysterious creatures people claim exist but have yet to be proven by science (and let’s face it, probably will never be). They’ve gotten their fair share of screen time on TV and in the movies, as the possibility of their existence is a natural thrill for the human imagination. Even lesser known beasts that exist more in folklore, urban legends and unverifiable accounts like the Thunderbird, the Dover Demon and the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (a Creature from the Black Lagoon wannabe) have gotten the limelight in shows like Secret Saturdays and Lost Tapes. The following 10 creatures have yet to be exploited on film or television (to our knowledge), but should be! ”
I have some reactions to his list, so I’m going to critique it. I shall also give my own list, and encourage you to make up your own accounting of recommendations (which you can share in comments).
Yes, we are doing all the creative, pre-production work for the producers of forthcoming reality television series, but, heck, let’s hope the programming folks take these ideas to heart. We need a few good shows in the coming years.
Here’s Guhl’s list, followed by my grades on his choices. (I was an adjunct associate film professor for 20 years at a university. I can’t help myself, sometimes.)
I will review these picks based upon the criteria of whether they are really cryptozoologically-worthy and whether I think they have already been exploited in film and television. (As opposed to the clever trend in blogs and on David Letterman, to have the list go from 10 to 1, I’m going with the traditional way I like lists, that is, from 1 to 10.)
1. Bloop – Strange unknown marine sounds (1997, onward?)
This is an “A-” choice. While some may have explained this as mere fish farts, there remains a mystery as to whether these are unknown whale noises or Sea Serpent signaling devices. Not sure an entire documentary could be build around it, but clearly this is a good cryptozoological choice and it has not been noted on tv or in movies, to any great extent. But the visuals would be so speculative, I won’t even have this on my top ten list.
2. Batsquatch – Washington State’s Winged Creature (1980s-1990s)
Another good pick on Guhl’s part, and I would say the “A+” member of his list. The original report is unique, and there are beginning hints of others, which may merge with other sightings. No movies or television episodes, as far as I know, have dealt with the Batsquatch, and it is a goldmine of the spooky, scary, and the cryptozoological.
3. Champ – Lake Champlain Monsters (1813-Present)
This is a “D.” While it is clearly about the cryptid lake monsters of Lake Champlain, these creatures have been overdone. National Geographic, MonsterQuest, and other documentary-type programs have looked into Champ in some depth (no pun intended). I would have given an “F” for this, but Guhl seems to be right about no movies on Champ having been made.
4. Sirrush – Ishtar Gate, Babylon’s dragon-like beast (2600 B.P.)
This is a good, solid “B+” choice. The Babylonian creature (pictured at the very top) has come in for some consideration, recently, on Animal Planet’s “Beasts of the Bible,” but only in passing. The Sirrush overlap into the Mokele-Mbembe file does make it a natural. This would do well in the movies, for I don’t count the kid flick Baby as having exactly taken on the Sirrush tale. Good pick.
5. Montaur Monster – Rotting body found on NY beach (2008)
Terrible, “F.” This is all about a decaying raccoon on shore, and NY media hysteria. It has little or nothing to do with cryptozoology, even if I did coin the name. Bad dead coon. Very bad coon.
6. Hodag – Lumberjack tall tale of Rhinelander, Wisconsin (1890s)
Another “F.” This lumberjack folktale story is silly and not cryptozoological. Cute but this is unworthy of Guhl’s list. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
7. Spring Heeled Jack – Caped blue flame-throwing manlike UK entity (19th century)
Guhl’s third “F” in a row. SHJ is a great Fortean mystery, but it is human/elemental/demonic, not cryptozoological. I’m not saying this won’t be a wonderful subject for a movie or a mini-doc, but it is not a cryptid. For example, I wrote about these sightings in my Mysterious America as a Fortean wonder, but not as cryptids.
8. Phantom Kangaroos – Midwestern cryptic hopping creatures (19th century to Present)
Okay, I’ll give this a solid “B.” These do seem to be cryptids, and they have not been dealt with on television or in the movies. They may be “Devil Monkeys,” not kangaroos, but those have not been exploited either, so this one clearly works.
9. Flatwoods Monster – Giant, owl-headed creature (1952)
Humm. I guess the grade here would be “C.” It might be cryptozoological, Fortean, or ufological. It is a confusing one. However, it has been semi-utilization by the reality cz series on television, so it may be old hat (pun intended) already. Might make a good scifi movie.
10. Mahamba – Congolese giant crocs?/mosasaurs? (Present day?)
Maybe a “B-.” As a cryptid, it is one, but as an interesting one, it is a bit on the boring side. It has not been used on any series or in any movie I know about.
That all said, here is my list of the unrevealed, lesser-known cryptids that should appear in tomorrow’s television reality programming, documentaries, and science fiction movies:
1. Batsquatch (Winged Weirdies of Washington State)
2. Tatzelwurm (Giant Gila Monster-Like Lizards of the Alps)
3. Sirrush (Ishtar Gate Dragons of the Mideast)
4. Ahool (Giant Bats of Java)
5. Pogos (Ogopogos, Igopogos, Manipogos, & Winnipogos of Canada)
6. Giant Beaver (Bear Lake Monsters of Utah & Lake Monsters of Manitoba)
7. Lusca (Giant Octopuses of Bermuda)
8. Nguoi Rung (Hairy Wild People of Vietnam & Laos; Rock Apes of Vietnam War)
9. Queensland Tiger (Unknown Felids of Australia)
10. Ucu (Bigfoot of Andes)
Honorable Mention: Phantom Kangaroos/Devil Monkeys of the Midwest USA
What ones would you like to see on the big and little screens?
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Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.