Animal Planet's version of The Blair Witch Project, Lost Tapes is a Mockumentary series which asks "What If? there really are monsters like Bigfoot, the Chupacabra and other beasties out there?" Each episode starts with a disclaimer pointing out that it's merely "inspired by the possibility that hidden creatures exist". Normally the monsters aren't actually shown, save for glimpses of Conspicuous CG, Props or Costumes. To justify its airing on Animal Planet, the series laces its footage with factoids about real animals supposedly related to the featured monster. Sometimes in an attempt to lend an air of plausibility to the scenario, other times the factoids end up being scarier than the film.Currently the series is aired back to back, with two half-hour episodes strung together, and has received a budget upgrade (or at least, a heavier reliance on practical FX).The FX still look mildly silly at their best, but it can be effective on rare occasions. It helps that most of the People in Rubber Suits effects are hidden by the shaky camera work.
This series has examples of:
Action Girl: Elise of the Enigma Corporation, to survive two three supernatural monster attacks you have to be a Badass. And in Q: The Serpent God.
The Dover Demon; in Real Life, sightings of it almost always ended with it running away from the human witness. In the show, it mauls all of the main characters in a messy and almost sadistic way.
Alpha Bitch: Annabel Lilith is a rare goth example who appears in Hellhound. Needless to say, she doesn't last very long...
Ambiguously Evil: At the end of "Hellhound", Nora is seen petting the titular animal, hinting that they may have been working together.
Ambiguously Human: Nora Callarman from Hell Hound. The epilogue notes that no record of her enrollment at the university (or her existence) was ever found and so her true identity was a mystery. For what it's worth, The Other Wiki claims that she might be a ghost.
The titular creature of "Wendigo". It's not made clear whether it's a human with Wendigo Syndrome, or whether the transformation was supernatural. Though those teeth sure as hell didn't look human...
Apocalyptic Log - The formula for the series, but actually only applies to about half the episodes.
Artistic License - Biology: The flimsy justification given for rapid shape shifting of the Werewolf, a cursory situation of amphibian/insect metamorphosis and the minor changes of the Mandrill.
The Anaconda is an aquatic snake that can barely sustain its own weight outside of water, much less move and attack. The Megaconda episode takes the same route as the famous movies, making the giant anaconda into an arboreal creature, attacking from above and moving overland with incredible speed. And this isn't taking into account that a reptile predator is unlikely to eat more than once every few days, not attack and consume several victims over the course of an hour or two.
The Thunderbird episode. However, the Megalania of Death Dragon is surprisingly well depicted if in the wrong habitat. It helps that Megalania has a close relative living today (referenced above).
During Thunderbird, mention is made of pterosaurs, "giant birds of prey that lived 115 million years ago". Pterosaurs are not birds.
More of a missed opportunity, but why reference pterosaurs at all, when Argentavis magnificens (aka the Giant Teratorn) was an actual bird, with a wingspan of about seven meters, that lived just 6 million years ago?
Also count as Badass Normal, they've got nothing really special but training and Connor fought off a vampire with nothing but a pointed piece of wood. What makes it truly badass is the Strigoi ran away from Connor when it had been shown to easily overpower other adult males.
The pregnant mom from "Jersey Devil". She drove away the titular beast hassling her kids by hitting it with a block of wood!
How 'bout Dennis Redding from the Vampire episode? He not only holds off one of them, if only for a brief moment, after it breaks the basement door off its hinges, manages to run past all of them to get back to his family, and then kills one of the vampires!
Aztec Mythology: In "Q: The Serpent God". Also falls under Sadly Mythtaken, as it portrays Quetzalcoatl as an evil deity that demands human sacrifices. Despite the fact that Quetz was the only Aztec god who repeatedly said he didn't want people sacrificed to him.
Big Bad: It's easier to count the humans who qualify as this, really.
The Poacher from Bigfoot.
Ken Tobar from Megaconda.
Nora in Hellhound is up to interpretation
Sophie in Werewolf
Charles in Poltergeist
Matthew in Wendigo: American Cannibal
Lucas Marzo in Q: The Serpent God
the Reptilians in their respective episode
Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti - Bigfoot, the Honey Island Swamp Monster AKA "Swamp Creature" (who is depicted as semi-reptilian), and the Fouke Monster AKA "Southern Sasquatch", who has the personality of a Grizzly Bear. There's also the Yeti, who is just as bloodthirsty as the Sasquatch. The Devil Monkeys may qualify.
Big Creepy-Crawlies - Deathcrawler and Alien both feature arthropodal organisms. The first is a 3 foot long centipede, while the other is a wasp-like organism about the size of a softball. Also, "Death Worm", showcasing the Mongolion Death Worm.
Big Budget Beef-Up - The Second series appears to be this, with a greater reliance on practical effects and more visible 'hidden' creatures. Sometimes, the monsters have a full 2 minutes of screen time, over the 10-seconds of the previous season.
Black Dude Dies First - Mexican Survey team in Death Crawler, in this case, get bitten to death by 3ft centipedes. Subverted in Alien but...see below.
Conspicuous CG - Monterey Monster, Chupacabra and Megaconda are the worst offenders. The only image we get of the Chupacabra is through an Infrared Camera. Quetzalcoatl has the benifit of Night Vision to hide its budgetary problems.
Chupacabra - Featured Creature—it is the Southwestern version of the creature opposed to the more bizarre South American and Caribbean version.
Crapsack World: Since all the episodes seem to take place in the same universe, this means that the world is infested with monstrous supernatural beings, a large majority of which eat people for lunch.
Creepy Child: Su Ann Mills from the Owlman episode, although she's only this way due to the trauma of getting an up-close and personal encounter with the Owlman himself...
Lucas Marzo in Q: The Serpent God was killed by the very god he summoned
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Mooney grabbing an Aztec dagger, just used to kill a friend of hers then use it to lure in and stab Quetzalcoatl. She and Conner then proceed to drive it off with an onslaught of machine gun fire.
Genre Savvy - the lead diver in "Kraken" repeatedly tells the film crew in tense situations to "Put the camera down" and help save crewmen from the monster. Of course, he insists on sending people down to retrieve the people already attacked. Twice. Honor Before Reason or Idiot Ball. You decide.
Connor and Mooney are, enough to know that when entering a dark, spooky room, it's a bright idea to have your gun ready to fend off monsters. They're also smart enough not to trust someone coming with a more 'logical' explanation and actually double check what's going on, they even don't fall for the old 'clothing switch' disguise the Strigoi tries on them. Justified because the Enigma Corporation are specially trained to deal with the unexplained. Also, likely the reason they've lived through three supernatural monster attacks.
Also shown in Q: The Serpent God when Mooney realizes that if an ancient dagger brought Quetzalcoatl into the world, odds are its your best chance of taking him out.
Being Genry Savvy doesn't help the reporter in Monterey Monster.
Nora in Hellhound.
Annabelle: I knew I shouldn't have let you in.
Nora:(firm retort) It isn't me you should be worried about.
Ernest Tybee in "Devil Monkey" is smart enough not to leave a local legend completely out of the equation.
Ghostly Goals: The ghost in Poltergeist seems to be type A. Horrifyingly subverted as the climax reveals that it was just screwing with the protagonists and is actually a type B.
Giant Flyer - The Death Raptor (Owlman), Mothman (proposed to be one-and-the-same), the "Cave Demons" (Giant Bats, implicit Vampires), Thunderbird (Implicit Pterosaur) and Jersey Devil. Quetzalcoatl is also able to fly.
Glowing Eyes of Doom - Chupacabra, Mothman, Hell Hound, Dover Demon—usually a variety of natural eyeshine found in most nocturnal/twilight active animals.
Government Conspiracy: Some of the cryptid encounters are, in the epilogue, revealed to have been covered up by the government of the nation involved. Alien is the most clear as all records of the even where taken by the government. Zombie may feature one after the two survivors escape, the city destroys the building and never files a report on the event.
Yeti may count as well; as the epilogue reveals that the ship housing it is redirected to a government island that studies biological specimens.
And, of course, Reptilian, which is practically a love letter to the conspiracy theories of David Icke, complete with the government confiscating all the footage and then closing down the task force at the end of the episode.
Guns Are Worthless - Averted, While many of the victims are either too shocked to just shoot the monsters or are unarmed at the time, most of the creatures lack bullet immunity (with the exception of the blatantly supernatural creatures such as Q and the skinwalker). Even the supernatural Strigoi was harmed enough by gun fire to retreat for a brief moment.
Guns Do Not Work That Way: For some odd reason, the MP5 that Elise often uses acts like a shotgun rather than a submachine gun: it fires once, and there is even the sound of a slide being racked between each shot.
Happy Ending: Skin Walker is one of the rare upbeat endings.
Hate Sink: Several episodes feature at least one of these. You can't hate a cryptid, but you can hate terrible human beings.
Heroic Sacrifice - Death Raptor climaxes with the elderly Hazel calmly walking out and letting herself be killed instead of the Owlmans's original target, a little girl. She also believed the thing followed her there from England, so she felt responsible for it.
In Alien a doctor tells the nurse to run while he tries to hold off the creature with acid...too bad she doesn't listen well enough.
Ernest Tybee in Devil Monkey tells the female reporter to run, whilst he holds off the creatures... too bad it doesn't work
Infant Immortality - They won't be killed, but they sure as hell are getting traumatized by the experience. The vampire at least tried to avert this by going for the child first, even if it ultimately failed.
Intrepid Reporter - Several, though the early ones were documentarians. They usually don't make it through with their story or lives intact.
I'm a Humanitarian - Lots of these monsters seem to think humans are tasty. The Wendigo is a human who's got this idea.
" When was the last time... that you had something to eat?"
Jerkass: Tylor Shuman, in Oklahoma Octopus. He insists on playing pranks faking drowning that nobody thinks is funny, then when he gets called out on his crap he throws a fit and steals the canoe to leave his friends stranded out in the middle of the lake all night. It would almost be a Karmic Death when the titular monster drags him to his death... except it basically means he helps it eat Bruce Delroy and Ruthie Simple as well.
Annabelle from Hell Hound. Hey, fake Wiccan, why don't you take the real Wiccan seriously?
Kill 'em All - Despite the series' name, this is actually Subverted...most of the time. Many episodes end with at least one survivor, and at least one has all the viewpoint characters survive, and in one case, the Cryptid saved the point-of-view character. Season 3 seems to be doing more of this, as so far, only four survivors so far the entire season, and two of those were sole survivors, the other two were Connor and Mooney...three times.
Meaningful Name: Mooney is one letter off from Looney, and has the same meaning of someone crazy. It used to denote someone that saw things that weren't real. Doubles as a Stealth Pun given her profession.
Negative Continuity: The first two seasons never showed true continuity. The Third season averts this, introducing the Enigma Corporation, which reappears at least three times throughout the season.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - in Alienthe surviving medical staff woman panics and breaks quarantine, allowing an extremely venomous, softball sized parasitoid wasp-like alien to escape into the wild after it killed 3 people. The ending implies that the wasps are capable of asexual reproduction to boot.
Nothing Is Scarier - In the first season. In the second, this is combined with Practical FX, Surprise Scares and gore.
Ominous Owl - The Owlman, naturally. Not only is he speculated to be a demon, the viewpoint characters actually retrieve a pellet (regurgitated undigested foodstuff) from the creature containing a human jawbone.
Only Sane Man: Ernest Tybee in Devil Monkey as he is Genre Savvy enough to not leave a local legend completely out of the equation and at least tries to hold the creature off (and would've succeeded if he hadn't turned round), instead of simply doing nothing, like the ATF agents.
The lead diver in "Kraken" repeatedly tells the film crew in tense situations to stop filming and help save crewmen from the monster. Probably why he survived when everyone else didn't.
Our Monsters Are Different - Sometimes they link them to animal facts to make them seem more plausible. Other times, they imply supernatural agents and give up legitimizing them.
The Chupacabra is depicted as a canine creature, unlike the more exotic-alien like creature often reported further south than Texas and the United States.
Our Demons Are Different - Hellhound, Skin Walker, Jersey Devil. Each one has its own unrelated explanation, few of which are natural (if one is given at all). The Dover Demon, despite its name, is just not explained. Given how Weird it is, that makes perfect sense. A Strigoi is featured as well, and, unlike the first Vampire, it doesn't have a logical explanation, it's apparently supernatural.
Our Dragons Are Different - The titular Death Dragon is basically a Komodo Dragon with the mass of a polar bear. Then there's Quetzalcoatl, who could be called dragon-like in appearance, but may be a bit more than that.
Our Vampires Are Different - In the first season, large, vampiric/semi-predatory bats are features with some ties to vampirism. In the second season, a true Vampire is seen—as a savage, nocturnal vaguely-humanoid predator that sleeps in an old house, killed the way normally depicted, stabbed through the heart. A second species of Vampire, the Strigoi, is far more human in appearance...unless its shapeshifting into an animal form (it prefers a black dog) and is far more supernatural. The epilogue implied that after he jumps Mooney, she proceeds to kick his ass through the truck windshield. But what do you expect when a vampire jumps an Action Girl these days?
Our Werewolves Are Different - One episode devotes it to the Skin Walker, which is accurate to the legend. In The Beast of Brey Road episode a "dog man" clings to a more classic visual design. The actual Werewolf, however, is much closer to the original legends, being a human who turns into a beast when the full moon is out (even when the moon isn't visible to them).
Our Zombies Are Different - A combination of types. Created by Voodoo toxins (Type V), Flesh eaters (Type F) with a slow gait and NASTY lunge, they are also Type P (implied to be the Parasite subtype) that acts pretty quickly for an infection. The episode gains bonus points for having the writer of World War Z on as a guest commentator. But it loses points for shamelessly conflating traditional vodun zombi beliefs with Romero-style shambling cadavers, in a way that implies the former also portray them as contagious flesh-eaters. You Fail Religious Studies Forever or Rule of Scary or Both?
People in Rubber Suits - Vampire, Lizardman, Bigfoot, Skunk Ape, Swamp Monster, Dover Demon (as well as CGI smaller ones).
Prehistoric Monster - Monster of Monterey (Elasmosaur), Bear lake Monster (mosasaur-like animal), Devil Dragon (Megalania), Thunderbird (Quetzalcoatl/Pterosaurs) and White River Monster (Xiphactinus). Death Crawler has giant centipedes compared to ancient ones that grew to massive sizes as well (6+ft to the 3ft monsters featured).
The Reveal - The werewolf is the girl the suspected killer brought home. She was hunting him.
Sand Worm - Not epic in size, but the Mongolian Death Worm more than makes up for its relatively small size (about as thick as human large intestines) with Acidic Spit and Electrical currents like the electric eel.
Sadly Mythtaken - Q is portrayed as demanding human sacrifices, when the Aztek god was one of the few that didn't. They do get points, though, for pointing out that the Aztec Calender is cyclical.
Which isn't surprising as the episode is obviously based on (if not totally ripped off of) the old monster movie of the same name.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The frozen corpse of a yeti is thawed and turns out to be not a corpse after all
Serkis Folk - Monterey Bay Monster, Chupacabra (Via Infra-Red), Megaconda, Mothman, small Dover Demons and the Kraken.
Shapeshifting - The Skin Walker. The Werewolf has a VERY mild version of this. Matt transforms slightly when he finally becomes a Wendigo. Though he looks human, those teeth do not. The Strigoi is able to transform into various animals, it prefers a black dog.
Stealth Mentor: The series is a way Animal Planet gets to get in Strange Animal Facts, as a framing story. You'll learn about, for example, pleiosaurs and living fossils in Monterey Monster and coyote behavior in Skin-Walker.
Super-Persistent Predator - Southern Sasquatch, Death Raptor (Owlman), Oklahoma Octopus, Jersey Devil Justified in Devil Dragon since that is how Komodo Dragons hunt. Also justified in Kraken as it knew there were more tasty treats on the boat and it was big enough to eat multiple people and still be hungry for more.
Justified with the Wendigo as well, as its mentioned a Wendigo never gets full and must eat nonstop.
It might actually be justified in the other cases too. The Fouke Monster seemed curious about the hunters, and watched from a distance. Then someone shot him, and he viewed them as a threat that he needed to chase out of his territory. They wouldn't leave, and he was forced (in his eyes) to kill them.
The Owlman is specifically stated to be sentient, possibly a demon, and is attacking the characters so that they can't prove its existence.
In Oklahoma Octopus, it's implied that there may be more than one creature, meaning that one human wasn't going to feed all those hungry beaks.
The Jersey Devil is clearly a solitary creature, with the abandoned house being the center of its territory. It tried to chase the humans out, but they ran right into its house. After it tried entering the house to smoke them out, it was driven away by the pregnant mom, only increasing its rage. Additionally, it can fly. If it really wanted to kill them, it would have flown after their car. Instead it just watches them leave, implying that they've passed the border of its territory and it no longer sees them as a problem.
Too Dumb to Live - About 80% of the victims literally fall under this category. Two of the most shameful are the ATF agents in "Devil Monkey". Not only do they ignore strange animal calls and mangled human bodies, they go out unarmed and, obviously, end up killed by the titular creatures. The Sheriff has this to a lesser extent as, instead of blasting the damn thing with a shotgun, he turns around to tell the reporter to flee and then gets jumped. However he has some sanity points, as he is Genre Savvy enough to not leave a local legend completely out of the equation and at least tries to hold the creature off.
How about our divers in Kraken (except the captain), who begin with violating the Cardinal Rule of Diving: Never dive alone!! from the get go. After the first guy goes in... by himself... and becomes a snack for the giant squid, what is the group's next move? Why, to send the girl in... by herself. True, given that the thing ripped the ship apart at the end and was implied to have sunk the wreck they were trying to raise at the beginning, it was probably a moot point. But that still doesn't change the fact that these supposedly experienced divers/treasure hunters were acting like total amateurs from the start.
Averted in Monterey Monster. The protagonist doesn't fall for any of the Idiot Balls like trying to board the other ship after seeing blood trails on it or going back in the water to fix her prop. She tells her boyfriend to call the Coast Guard, and adopts the proper Screw This, I'm Outta Here! attitude, and goes to raise sails. Unfortunately, she's knocked into the water by something jolting her ship, and she's unable to catch up to the drifting boat. Talk about Yank the Dog's Chain.
Justified in Thunderbird; the cast of that episode was a group of terrified preteen boys, so of course they're going to make dumb decisions.
Pretty much everyone besides Nora in Hellhound, but Annabel deserves a special mention.
The Unreveal: Occurs often. The series purposefully leaves many things ambiguous to the viewer regarding the creatures. Where did the Dover Demon come from? No one knows and no one ever finds out. And if we were able to find out, would we want to?
Yank the Dog's Chain: Particularly in the first season, a lot of stories end like this as part of the horror.
Episodes 3 and 6 (Monster of Monterey and Devil Dragon) are particularly bad, the former because the protagonist actually avoids any and all Idiot Ball behaviour (letting the proper authorities handle the problem, instead of trying to solve it herself) and only dies because the monster knocks her out of her boat, the latter because of how sympathetic a character he was and the fact it turns out he gets brought down and eaten a mere quarter-mile away from the village he had been desperately trying to reach.
Ironically, both the Thunderbird and Death Raptor episodes do this and then turn out okay, when we think the giant bird-monster has taken a child for dinner, but they actually survive. Though in Death Raptor, this does result in an old Englishwoman pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the others are safe.