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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: The flicks

Having seen a couple of good monster movies recently I have decided to start a semi-regular reviews section for the CFZ blog. Any monster of Fortean-related film will be up for review and it’s not exclusive so if any readers want to write their own reviews please feel free.

OUTLANDER

Director: Howard McCain; Writers: Howard McCain and Dirk Blackman

This is an unusual and well acted film. The premise is fairly simple. A space / time traveller called Kainan (Jim Caviezel) crash-lands in eighth-century Norway. Aboard his ship is a very dangerous alien predator called a Moorwen. It escapes and wipes out a Viking settlement. When Kainan sets out to hunt it he’s caught and blamed by angry Vikings who do not believe is story of a marauding ‘dragon’. It soon becomes apparent that there is indeed a beast of immense savagery on the loose and Kainan forms an alliance with a Viking chief (very well played by the great John Hurt) in order to track the beast down. Another warlord played by Ron Perlman (of Hellboy fame) joins them but as the film progresses it become apparent that everything is not as it seems between the man from the stars and the monster he is hunting.

The moorwen itself looks precious little like a true dragon, resembling a hybrid of a Staffordshire bull terrier and the alien. It is, however, genuinely savage and has an interesting way of hunting. It lures its victims in with spectacular light displays on its skin, captures them with a long, whip-like tail then bites and claws them to death.

Outlander is beautifully filmed, well scripted ,well acted and well worth a look.

8/10

THE BURROWERS

Director and Writer: J. T. Petty

Apparently developed from a 2007 seven-episode TV show (that has never seen the light of day in the UK, if you will excuse the pun), The Burrowers concerns a species of subterranean creature that used to feed on bison in the prairies of the western USA. It is set in the 1870s at a time when the herds of bison were almost wiped out and the digging monsters are compelled to hunt for new food, namely humans.

Irish Immigrant Fergus Coffey (Karl Geary) is horrified to find his girlfriend and her family missing and assumes they have been taken by Indians. He sets out with a small posse of men including some seasoned Indian-fighters. They come across a comatose girl apparently buried alive. An Indian is soon captured but refuses to talk. In the meantime members of their party are falling victim one by one to the grotesque burrowers.

This is a well paced and suspenseful film. The burrowers themselves don’t put in an appearance till around halfway through. It’s worth the wait as they are wonderfully weird. They have vaguely human heads but with a neck angled at 45 degrees and growing straight into an elongate, sausage-shaped body. The forelimbs are adapted for digging and have a venomous spur. The hind legs attach to the body at opposite angles to human legs, the ‘backwards’ feet being used to push the burrower through its tunnels. They hunt by injecting victims with paralysing venom them burying them alive till their blood begins to congeal then eating them.

The Burrowers has a similar feel to the excellent film The Descent a couple of years back.

Now I really want to see that 7-episode series that kick-started it!

8/10


1 comment:

Neil A said...

Did you know there's a new film out regarding the hunt for the Thylacine ? Unfortunately, it's one of those movies which promises but then quickly resorts to uncalled for violence with serial killers etc.
I think my book CRYPTZOOLOGY IN THE MOVIES will highlight a majority of these tragically awful films.