This is a documentary that will interest those who are fascinated by the Loch Ness monster and those who study cryptids. It covers the frenzy of monster-hunting that occurred during the 1970s and 80s at Loch Ness. A hunter reflects on the competition and compares it to conquering Mount Everest. Another individual recalls hearing that finding the monster would be a bigger achievement than the moon landing. The documentary also shows a clip of David Attenborough discussing the search for a mysterious creature in the depths of Loch Ness on Michael Parkinson’s talk show, without any hint of doubt.
When watching Loch Ness in the movie, and in real life, one cannot help but be impressed by its size – measuring 23 miles long and over 700ft at its deepest point. The individuals who ventured to the Highlands in the 1970s in search of the famous monster can be divided into two groups, according to one of them. There were the army veterans, looking for excitement in their mundane lives, and the hippie dropouts. Frank Searle belonged to the former group, a retired soldier from London who set up his caravan on the shore and claimed to have taken more pictures of Nessie than anyone else in history (although they were later exposed as fake). Searle eventually left after a violent incident involving a Molotov cocktail and a fellow hunter (although he denied any involvement).
In the late 1970s, there were more people interested in monsters than there were small flying insects by the lake. In 1960, Tim Dinsdale filmed famous footage and spent nearly two decades trying to get a better view of the creature. In 1974, American Robert Rines captured an image of a “flipper” underwater. A team of 20 from Japan also arrived to investigate. This is a lively and entertaining story with intriguing and eccentric characters. Personally, I would have preferred a broader overview, including more history of sightings and folklore surrounding Nessie. It would have been interesting to explore why mythical creatures capture our imagination. Unfortunately, a brief interview with writer Marina Warner was a missed opportunity.