Top 10 Cryptozoological Creatures that Have Yet to be Exploited in Film and Television

By Kevin Guhl in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 8:04 am
Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil and El Chupacabra are among the most famous cryptids - mysterious creatures people claim exist but have yet to be proven by science (and let's face it, probably will never be). They've gotten their fair share of screen time on TV and in the movies, as the possibility of their existence is a natural thrill for the human imagination. Even lesser known beasts that exist more in folklore, urban legends and unverifiable accounts like the Thunderbird, the Dover Demon and the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (a Creature from the Black Lagoon wannabe) have gotten the limelight in shows like Secret Saturdays and Lost Tapes. The following 10 creatures have yet to be exploited on film or television (to our knowledge), but should be!

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10) Mahamba
Mahamba is a 50-foot crocodile possibly descended from prehistoric serpentine marine reptiles called mosasaurs. It reportedly lurks in swamps in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and eats canoes in one bite. Are you listening, Syfy Channel Original Movies Division? The remote Congo has many legendary cryptids, and that could be a whole story in itself.

9) The Flatwoods Monster
West Virginia's most famous cryptid is Mothman, who surpassed the small circle of people likely to be found reading John Keel books and came to the attention of Joe Q. Public thanks to the 2002 Richard Gere movie/X-Files homage The Mothman Prophecies. However, the Mountain State has another infamous mystery creature that first showed his ugly mug in 1952, about 14 years before his more fluttery cousin. Some think the monster might actually have been an alien, since there were earlier reports of a pulsating red orb that could have been a spaceship. A group of teenagers and a couple of adults followed the red light to where it had seemingly landed on a farm and had a close encounter with what they described as a 10-foot tall, green, glowing creature that had bulging eyes, a head or cowl shaped like an Ace of Spades and a pleated skirt. The monster emitted a shrill hiss and glided toward the group, causing everyone to flee in terror. Witnesses later reported illness related to a mist spewed by the creature. Like Mothman, some think the Flatwoods Monster was nothing more than people scared shitless by a barn owl, but that explanation is no fun.

8) Phantom Kangaroos
They've been seen all over the world for decades in places they don't belong, hauntingly hopping about and munching on lawns. Kangaroos may be native to Australia, but that hasn't stopped them from bringing their adorable terror to other countries around the world. It can be unsettling when you run across a sizeable creature that has no easy reason for being there, and then pounces off into the mist never to be seen again. Sure, it's most likely that many of these are escaped specimens from zoos, but the fact that beasts from far-off places might be peering at you through the weeds and trees behind the local Denny's is a spine-tingling thought. The U.K. has had a small and mostly verifiable population of wallabies (which are not kangaroos, but close enough for us) since the 1930s, and there is a colony of wild kangaroos living an hour outside Paris. Japan is currently undergoing a wave of phantom kangaroo sightings. The U.S. had a spate of sightings in the 1970s, and one really creepy photo exists from an encounter in Wisconsin (see above). And if you want a phantom kangaroo story to adapt for the big or small screen, one creature supposedly went amuck in Tennessee in the 1930s, betraying its plant-eating ways and devouring several animals, including a bunch of German shepherds!

7) Spring Heeled Jack
Spring Heeled Jack blurred the line between man and monster as he terrorized Victorian England with his mischievous antics. Jack was said to have looked like a devil and to have worn a helmet, metal claws, a black cloak and tight-fitting clothes. So, basically, he was Batman and Wolverine mixed into one - Dark Claw! But he also had inhuman features (which is why we include him on this list), such as fiery red eyes and the abilities to leap to impressive heights and breathe flames. Jack mainly was a gentlemanly figure who lived to frighten and mystify, jumping into the path of pedestrians to surprise them and then leaping away over walls and fences, shrieking with laughter into the night. He also had a more sinister side and was reported to have forcefully felt up a few innocent women. Whether Jack was just a product of mass hysteria or based somewhere in truth, he became a part of popular culture in mid-19th Century British fiction. Jack has been mostly forgotten in recent years, but you know this is a historical superhero film just waiting to happen.

6) The Hodag
This beastie is Rhinelander, Wisconsin's own version of the Jersey Devil. It's also obviously a big hoax, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a legend in its own backyard. In 1893, admitted local prankster Eugene Shepard spun a wacky tale about encountering a ferocious, seven-foot long, stout beast that had a huge head, fangs, horns, black fur and spouted fire and smoke from its nose. It also had an appetite for bulldogs. Supposedly, Shepard gathered a posse of lumberjacks that took the Hodag down with dynamite and brought back the charred corpse for everyone to see. Three years later, Shepard "captured" a live Hodag and entranced the town by putting it on display. While it turned out that Shepard was a skilled showman who had created the beast out of a tree stump and ox and cow parts and moved it with wires, the Hodag exhibit remained popular. The Hodag was later destroyed in a fire, but its legacy lives on in a photo postcard made by Shepard depicting the capture of the beast, as the town's mascot and as the namesake of the annual Hodag Country Festival that attracts popular musicians. A movie about just the hoax would be entertaining in its own right!
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