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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

The Loch Ness Horror (1982)

"It is alive!"


Two rival expeditions head to Loch Ness in Scotland to use sonar in order to prove that the mythical Nessie is real. When one of the expeditions finds a giant egg at the bottom of the loch, things look promising. But it isn’t long before people begin to disappear around the loch as the real monster comes hunting for its stolen egg.


The Loch Ness Horror is about obscure as it gets here on Popcorn Pictures. After first hearing the plot synopsis many years ago, I've been trying to track down this elusive lake monster movie for nearly a decade. It's never shown on TV, never been released on DVD and with VHS dead it was impossible for me to even watch a dodgy taped copy. Thankfully Youtube has become a goldmine of long-forgotten films of late and, copyright violations aside on behalf of the uploader, The Loch Ness Horror was there in all of its glory.

Sometimes the chase is more exciting than the eventual catch and that's the case with The Loch Ness Horror. There's most likely a good reason why it's been so hard to find over the years - it's atrocious. It would be no surprise to find out that the director had every single copy of the film rounded up and dumped at the bottom of the loch itself. However that would involve actually travelling to Loch Ness, something that director Larry Buchanan didn’t do when he filmed this. Shot on a lake in California, the film paints an uneducated, Americanised view of the Scots. With a cast filled with actors trying their best to sound incomprehensible with pathetic Scottish accents (rrrrrrrolling theirrrrrrr rrrrrs a lot!), dialogue that might as well have just said “See you Jimmy” (look it up if you don’t get the reference) and with whisky and kilts in good supply, The Loch Ness Horror could have worked better as a stereotypical tourist guide to Scotland rather than a monster flick.

The Loch Ness Horror tries desperately to craft itself into the standard monster movie where a monster runs amok in a small town, only without the script, money or the talent to become so. In fact at some point during the film, the monster and the egg are forgotten about and the film shifts into some thriller-style story about an old German spy plane that is lying at the bottom of the loch. By this point, you won’t care what happens in the story. The promise of some good old fashioned Nessie rampaging has long faded into memory. It shouldn’t be too hard to stick to the story of a lake monster hunting down people that stole its egg – it’s a common staple in monster films and works, for the most. But the script needs plenty of padding between fleeting monster scenes.

Maybe I just don’t get it but when I settle down to watch a film called The Loch Ness Horror, it should be pretty evident what I am expecting to see. There’s precious little monster action during the film as the fabled monster only makes sporadic appearances and you can count the kills on one hand. But as phony as the monster looks, it’s the best thing on display which is a sad indictment of the rest of the film. Clearly hampered by budgetary constraints, only the monster’s head and neck are shown. That’s enough to go on (as many of the infamous ‘sightings’ of Nessie have only consisted of the head and neck). But then you realise that the monster looks to be made of the same material as a giant inflatable pool toy and any sort of illusion is crushed. For a film in which the monster is supposed to be a scary man-eater, the eventual prop looks rather cute and cuddly and more likely to give you a little loving nudge with its head rather than a chomp down with its teeth. Having the monster out in broad daylight as much as it is was a big mistake;

There’s no atmosphere, suspense or tension in The Loch Ness Terror, aside from an underwater sequence right at the start. You don’t even look forward to Nessie’s next appearance. You’ll be clock-watching from the opening scene and hoping that things get better but they don’t. I can’t even say that the scenery looks nice because the copy I was watching was pretty fuzzy. The film has no real point and from a dramatic viewpoint, nothing really changes from the beginning to the end.


Final Verdict

Is The Loch Ness Horror fun to watch? No. Is it even Mystery Science Theater 3000 levels of awful? I think you’d be pushing it there. The Loch Ness Horror would make for an awful double bill with The Crater Lake Monster and will serve as long-term proof that lake monsters don’t make for the greatest horror film subjects. The longer it remains as obscure as possible, the better the human race will be.


The Loch Ness Horror

Director(s): Larry Buchanan

Writer(s): Larry Buchanan, Lynn Shubert

Actor(s): Sandy Kenyon, Miki McKenzie, Barry Buchanan, Eric Scott, Karey-Louis Scott, Doc Livingston, Stuart Lancaster

Duration: 89 mins


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