Matt Moneymaker, the founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation (B.F.R.O.), and a team of the the B.F.R.O.'s top investigators travel North America and the world to search for the mysterious creature called "Bigfoot".
After a "Bigfoot Hunter" claims to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch, a disgraced investigative journalist stakes his comeback -- and the lives of his documentary film crew -- on proving the find to be a hoax.
Cryptozoology shows all have one thing in common: they don't have results. If they did, we'd have heard about it on the news long before the show could air. Instead, we get 'the best evidence out there' in some and absolutely nothing in others. As viewers, we can't hold it too much against them, it's an integral part of any field science. Even creatures that don't suffer from the 'they probably don't exist' problem can prove elusive.
I love shows like Monster Quest, Destination Truth, and Animal X. They appeal to the truly scientific side of me that hears the evidence and assigns probabilities, but there are only so many times they can scan Loch Ness. There are only so many bear footprints I can look at with the question 'was it Bigfoot'? Then, Animal Planet brought us Lost Tapes, a horror show with a cryptozoology theme.
Lost Tapes is about as academic as an episode of The X-Files. Instead of creating a show to please skeptics, it's more or less straight horror. It makes no claims that anything it has are real, doesn't expect us to believe anything about it. It frees them from having to give us the most credible critters out there. In fact, it frees them from *everything*. Instead, they can just make a show, and not another one where the *same* evidence is run over again and again without any conclusion. The science only invades the show long enough to explain the plot. Lost Tapes does not appeal to the same side as MonsterQuest, it appeals to the side of me that watches horror movies.
Lost Tapes suffers from a few problems. The acting isn't always great, the stock sounds can get a little tedious, the obsession with never allowing a clear shot of the monster of the day (see below) can often lead to some hilariously bad special effects. It's very, *very* clear that the show was shot without any budget to speak of.
On the other hand, given what they have to work with, it's very well done. Comparing the show to the Blair Witch Project is unfair. That movie was missing the whole 'scary' part, whereas this is not (some people actually *complain* that it's too scary...). The director understands that the more time a creature spends in camera, the less threatening it is (you get a maximum of one or two fuzzy glances per show). The show also does a good job of making the characters behave realistically. The Mexicans in the Chupacabra episode speak almost exclusively Spanish, the woman coming upon the remains of the beast's last kill says 'I'm going to leave this to the authorities!'.
Animal Planet would be wise to give them more money and resources to work with. It would be great if, for example, a few film crews found themselves falling victim to the nasty critters.
If you're a big skeptic looking for a highly scientific show, don't bother with this one. If you're into horror, this show is for you. I advise even the most die-hard skeptics to watch it the way they watch the X-Files (I remember *it's* first season special effects as being bad too). Despite its many flaws, this show blew me away.
Let's hope it's not too good to last.
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