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  Loch Ness Horror, The About As Convincing As A Wild Haggis
Year: 1981
Director: Larry Buchanan
Stars: Sandy Kenyon, Miki McKenzie, Barry Buchanan, Eric Scott, Carey Louis-Scott, Doc Livingston, Stuart Lancaster, Preston Hanson, Garth Pillsbury, David Clover, Pat Musick, Ronald Cohen, Alex Myshrall, Dee Buchanan
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1940 at Loch Ness, Scottish landowner Jack Stuart (Doc Livingston) was surveying the scenery from his home through a telescope when he saw a Nazi warplane crash into the water and sink beneath the surface, and then even more surprisingly the sight of the actual Loch Ness Monster emerge from the depths, take a look around, roar and disappear again. This was not the first sighting of Nessie, and not the last, for forty years later people were still trying to track the creature down, including a team of Americans planning a dive there...

There seemed to be a lot of Americans hanging around Loch Ness in this film, which it will not surprise you to learn was not actually made in Scotland, but in and around California's Lake Tahoe, mainly because the peat brown waters of the loch were transformed into a crystal clear azure, or they were according to this at any rate. All the better for the divers to get a look at the remains of the warplane and of course the monster, which in this case closely resembled a souvenir trinket from the Highlands built to huge scale, and every bit as convincing as that sounded. The man responsible for this farce was none other than Larry Buchanan, one of the most persistent of the low budget exploitation auteurs.

Obviously if you were seeking genuine thrills and horror this was not the place to be, however if you were looking for a good laugh then it was quite something, especially if you were Scottish. Seeing how far from actual Caledonia Buchanan and his team were in their efforts was the source of quite some degree of hilarity, and a lot of that was not so much down to the blatantly Californian scenery as it was the accents. What you heard here were possibly some of the worst renderings of the Scottish dialect captured on film; some of them were barely passable, but in the case of Jack Stuart it was barely recognisable as he theatrically rolled his "r"s and strangulated his vowels in ludicrous fashion (he also terms whisky the "elixir of life", which is overstating it to say the least).

All this as he relaxes at home in full Highland regalia, to boot. If anything, his granddaughter Kathy (Miki McKenzie) was even worse: when our female lead tells the hero Spencer Dean (Barry Buchanan, son of you know who) that "We wuz a parrot" it takes you a good minute to realise she was saying "We're worlds apart". Not only that, but her character is insanely prim, objecting strongly to Dean saying "damn" and practically demanding to be married to him before they even go out on a boat together. Buchanan, as writer and director, opted to sprinkle a few Scottish references into the dialogue, apparently after checking his atlas, so the Scots mention Glencoe, Prestwick Airport and various local waterways, but it's to no avail.

What you really want to see is Nessie crunching down on this lot, but you'd be disappointed there too. She's supposedly on the rampage thanks to the researchers we saw at the beginning stealing her egg, but to save money the production cut down on actual Nessie attack sequences and preferred to have everyone standing around talking about her instead, with resident professor Sanderson (Sandy Kenyon) even offering a lecture on the then-current theories about the mystery to a bunch of uninterested American backpackers, with various famous photos of the presumed monster on display. No mention of the giant eel theory, then, but plenty about Nessie being a hermaphrodite reptile (huh?), and only the occasional scene where someone will get dragged away in their sleeping bag or a rival scientist is prevented from kidnapping Kathy when his head is crushed by the beastie (the sole item of gore in the movie). Alternately boring and ridiculous, the true horror here was those accents. Music by Richard H. Theiss (with bagpipes).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Larry Buchanan  (1923 - 2004)

American director who gained a reputation as one of the worst of all time, a feat he was not unproud of. This infamy rests on various TV movies he made in the sixties such as Zontar The Thing from Venus, Mars Needs Women and In the Year 2889. Theatrical films included Free White and 21 (which got his career started with A.I.P.), The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, Bullet for a Pretty Boy, Goodbye Norma Jean, The Loch Ness Horror and rock conspiracy movie Beyond the Doors.

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