Cryp­tid Cinema

Med­i­ta­tions on Big­foot, Bayou Beasts and Back­woods Boo­giemen of the Movies Stephen R. Bis­sette Spi­derbaby Grafix 2017 Pb, 245pp, il­lus, £18.82, ISBN 9781975938130

Fortean Times - - Reviews / Books - Eric Hoff­man

Stephen R Bis­sette, il­lus­tra­tor of the DC hor­ror comic Swamp Thing, the Big­foot-themed novel The Moun­tain King and The Ver­mont Mon­ster Guide, is no

stranger to cryp­tids. Cryp­tid Cinema: Med­i­ta­tions on Big­foot, Bayou Beasts and Back­woods

Boo­giemen of the Movies is a re­fresh­ingly in­for­mal study of well-known and ob­scure cryp­tids lurk­ing on the sil­ver screen.

This well-re­searched and en­light­en­ing ini­tial in­stal­ment – Cryp­tid Cinema is the first in a pro­posed cryp­tid-themed se­ries that will cover comics, mon­sters, sea ser­pents and neo-di­nosaurs – in­cludes re­vised ar­ti­cles

and es­says Bis­sette wrote for his blog

Myrant and for the ex­cel­lent POD pub­li­ca­tions Mon­ster! and

Weng’s Chop. He cov­ers some of the usual sus­pects (the Yeti, Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil), but his un­pack­ing of lesser-known cryp­tids proves most ab­sorb­ing. As he did in Teen An­gels and New Mu­tants (2011), a study of Swamp Thing col­lab­o­ra­tor Rick Veitch’s sem­i­nal 1990s Brat Pack, Bis­sette pro­vides much-needed anal­y­sis of some over­looked films.

In­cluded here are an eclec­tic group of crea­tures, from the space alien/Yeti from the bizarre Swedish Rymd­in­va­sion I Lap­p­land (1959; re­leased in the US in 1962 as In­va­sion of the An­i­mal Peo­ple),

to a rogue’s gallery of Love­craftian crea­tures, in­clud­ing the ‘De­mogor­gon’ fea­tured in the first sea­son of Net­flix’s Stranger

Things (2016). Also fea­tured are hu­man-mon­ster hy­brids, with lengthy examinations of two en­dear­ing re­gional ef­forts: the Z-grade Zaat (1972) and the streamed then di­rect-to-video

The Glasshead (1998). Bis­sette also looks at more re­cent hu­man-mon­ster hy­brids, from rel­a­tively big­ger-bud­geted re­leases, in­clud­ing Kevin Smith’s dis­turb­ing Tusk (1998), to the box of­fice bomb Crea­ture (2011), which he con­sid­ers a modern clas­sic.

While not every topic cov­ered is strictly cryp­tid cin­e­mare­lated, Bis­sette’s en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge is im­pres­sive and his en­thu­si­asm is in­fec­tious. More­over, this in­au­gu­ral self-pub­lished ef­fort un­der his re­cently re­vived Spi­derbaby Grafix im­print is il­lus­trated with rare pro­duc­tion stills, news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, ad­verts, and movie posters with dozens of fas­ci­nat­ing side­bars and asides, mak­ing for a page-turner. There is un­for­tu­nately no in­dex and the il­lus­tra­tions beg for colour re­pro­duc­tion; re­port­edly, a full-colour “Li­brary Edi­tion” is in the works. De­spite these mi­nor com­plaints, Cryp­tid Cinema re­mains a de­light­ful and in­for­ma­tive tour of the cryp­tid cin­e­matic land­scape. Highly rec­om­mended for forteans and movie fans alike.

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