Intrigue at Loch Ness as Cult Film Sparks Some Monstrous Allegations; Internet Rumours of Drownings, Disaster and Cover-Ups Could Be Set to Turn 'Documentary' about Ancient Legend into Scotland's Very Own Blair Witch Project

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), August 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

Intrigue at Loch Ness as Cult Film Sparks Some Monstrous Allegations; Internet Rumours of Drownings, Disaster and Cover-Ups Could Be Set to Turn 'Documentary' about Ancient Legend into Scotland's Very Own Blair Witch Project


Byline: BRIAN PENDREIGH

MOVIE MYSTERY 1

THE mystery of the Loch Ness monster has been given a sinister twist by one of the world's greatest filmmakers.

According to legendary German director Werner Herzog, Incident at Loch Ness is a factual investigation into one of Scotland's most enduring enigmas.

But the movie, due to be screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival next week, has already gained a cult following thanks to Internet hype hinting that it was filmed against a backdrop of real-life horror.

Similar online rumours were responsible for making chilling 'documentary' The Blair Witch Project a worldwide hit.

One site - supposedly set up by a sacked member of Herzog's production team - alleges a boat used for filming Incident at Loch Ness sank after a mysterious collision and two crew members drowned. It then hints that there has been an elaborate cover-up.

Herzog claims he set out to tell 'the real story behind the monster' - yet he ordered props to be built for use in dramatic reconstructions during the Loch Ness shoot.

During filming, he was already adding to the movie's air of mystery by keeping a low profile and warning his crew not to speak about the project.

Even locals, who thought they were being interviewed for a documentary, were not given any details about the film.

Now it appears Herzog's veil of mystique has paid off as the movie has prompted a frenzied debate on the Internet, with such comments as 'Is this real?' from potential viewers.

Critics in the US have already given it a seal of approval, with the film winning the New American Cinema Award at the Seattle Film Festival and scoring ten out of ten from voters on film fans' site the Internet Movie Database.

Herzog, one of the world's greatest and most eccentric filmmakers, starts his 'documentary' in an innocent manner, planning his arrival in Scotland then interviewing Adrian Shine, a sceptical local naturalist. But producer Zak Penn soon clashes with Herzog by insisting on 'official expedition jumpsuits' and with David Davidson, skipper of their charter boat.

Tension mounts when Penn, who is better known as a writer of such blockbusters as X-Men 2, brings in 27-yearold former Playboy model Kitana Baker as sonar operator and films her in a skimpy bikini while Herzog is elsewhere. The expedition descends into bitter infighting and ends with a collision, the loss of the boat and two crew.

Mr Davidson, who is based near Oban and works in the film industry as a marine co-ordinator, was originally told the film was a documentary and he would appear 'in the background'. …

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Intrigue at Loch Ness as Cult Film Sparks Some Monstrous Allegations; Internet Rumours of Drownings, Disaster and Cover-Ups Could Be Set to Turn 'Documentary' about Ancient Legend into Scotland's Very Own Blair Witch Project
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