The Loch Ness Horror (1982) poster

The Loch Ness Horror (1982)


USA. 1982.


Director/Producer – Larry Buchanan, Screenplay – Larry Buchanan & Lynn Shubert, Photography – Robert Ebinger, Jr., Music – Richard H. Theiss, Special Effects – Image Engineering, Nessie Created by Peter Chesney & Tom Valentine. Production Company – Clan Buchanan Productions.


Barry Buchanan (Stuart Dean), Sandy Kenyon (Professor George Sanderson), Miki McKenzie (Kathleen Stuart), Doc Livingston (Jack Stuart), Eric Scott (Brad), Karey-Louise Scott (Fran), Stuart Lancaster (Professor Pratt), Preston Hanson (Colonel Laughton), Pat Musick (Mrs Stowall)


Professor George Sanderson leads a research team to conduct a study of Loch Ness using more advanced scientific equipment than previous expeditions. His assistant Stuart Dean goes diving in the loch only for his co-worker is killed by an appearance of the monster. Stuart returns, having retrieved an egg of the monster. Stuart befriends Kathleen Stuart, the granddaughter of Jack Stuart, the cranky elderly man living on the island in the loch who took the first photo of the monster. However, their presence and others in the area serves to stir up the monster.

The films of Larry Buchanan are usually considered right down there with those of Edward D. Wood Jr in terms of quality. Buchanan had made Z-grade films such as The Naked Witch (1964), The Eye Creatures (1965), Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966), In the Year 2889 (1966), Mars Needs Women (1966), Zontar: The Thing from Venus (1966), Creature of Destruction (1967), It’s Alive! (1969) and Mistress of the Apes (1981).

The Loch Ness Horror would be Buchanan’s last genre film. He made two other films as director with Down on Us (1984) and Goodnight Sweet Marilyn (1989), both mock exposes on respectively rock stars of the 1960s and Marilyn Monroe, as well as the documentary The Copper Scroll of Mary Magdalene (2004), which was left uncompleted upon his death in 2004. In between, he also released an autobiography It Came from Hunger: Tales of a Schlockmeister (1996). The Loch Ness Horror is advertised as a Clan Buchanan production and stars his son Barry, while various other of Buchanan’s children appear in various roles behind the camera.

There have been a modest number of Loch Ness Monster films over the years. These include the likes of The Secret of the Loch (1934), What a Whopper (1961), Legend of Loch Ness (1976), Nessie (1985), Beneath Loch Ness (2001), Incident at Loch Ness (2004), Beyond Loch Ness (2008), and the better-budgeted likes of Loch Ness (1996) and The Water Horse (2007). Not to mention the monster making odd cameos in films such as 7 Faces of Dr Lao (1964) where it was one of the title character’s various guises; The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), which featured a mechanical version; and Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), which makes the claim that monster was Jack the Ripper. Equally strange have been its appearances on tv in the likes of The Convenient Monster (1966) episode of The Saint; an episode of Bewitched (1964-72) that reveals the monster is a witch; and the Doctor Who episode Terror of the Zygons (1975), which reveals it is an alien cyborg.

The Loch Ness Monster in The Loch Ness Horror (1982)
The Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Horror has the problem in being a Loch Ness Monster film made on one of Larry Buchanan’s painfully cheap budgets. Thus the locations representing Loch Ness go no further than Lake Tahoe in California where Scotland is peopled by American actors affecting outrageous Scottish accents. The other major thing that cripples the film is a painfully creaky mock-up of the monsters particularly during the scenes where we see its head moving through the woods. There is an entertainingly ridiculous scene where it attacks and devours Stuart Lancaster that is notable for its complete lack of conviction.

The film suffers from an excruciating dullness. Larry Buchanan’s directorial style is drab. Apart from the occasional appearances of the monster, there is really nothing keeping the show running. The plot keeps flipping between various characters around the area. Despite the appearance of two different investigating scientists, nothing dramatically changes between the start and the end of the film. The Loch Ness Monster makes appearances but crucially never does anything throughout.

Trailer here

Full film available here

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