Incident at Loch Ness Synopsis
In the Summer of 2003, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog set out to make a documentary about Scotland's infamous Loch Ness, purported home of a prehistoric creature known as "Nessie." Herzog's stated intent was "to explore the origin and the necessity of the monster" rather than to look for the creature itself. The film was to be called "Enigma of Loch Ness." At the time Herzog began production, noted cinematography and filmmaker John Bailey was already directing a documentary about him, tentatively called "Herzog in Wonderland." This would not be the first time that Herzog would be profiled while making a film, but it would perhaps be the last.
What neither Bailey nor Herzog could have predicted is that "Enigma of Loch Ness" would never be completed. The chaos that had followed Herzog on his other epic quests would follow him to Loch Ness. The production ground to a halt after a boating accident just weeks into shooting. Charge of mismanagement, and even criminally negligent behavior, were leveled in multiple directions. For the first time in his career, Herzog would shut a film down for good.
In the fall of 2003, the unfinished "Enigma of Loch Ness" was combined with the footage John Bailey had shot for "Herzog in Wonderland." The resulting film, "Incident at Loch Ness," was completed by editors Howard Smith and Abby Shwarzwalder, but due to numerous pending lawsuits, the credits for that film remain undecided. In the ensuing legal fracas, a series of startling film clips made their way onto the internet. The footage was purported to be the clearest ever taken of the elusive monster, but it was accompanied by claims of a hoax. The answer as to the origin and validity of these clips remain unclear.
Incident at Loch Ness chronicles the story of the making (and unmaking) of Herzog's film, as well as the aftermath of that fateful effort. Shocking, controversial, and strangely humorous, the film raises many questions about where reality ends and fiction begins. It is also the portrait of a great adventurer on his most bizarre and tragic quest.