Something stinks in Florida. It’s not the bad drivers and stale tofu, or even the mosquitoes the size of horse flies.
It’s big and hairy, elusive and mysterious, and according to some people couldn’t possibly exist.
Brad Abrahams, filmmaker behind Love and Saucers: The Far Out World of David Huggins has embarked on yet another strange path. This time, instead of looking to the skies, he’s scanning the Florida Everglades for the story of Bigfoot’s southern swampy cousin, the Skunk Ape.
Swan Song of the Skunk Ape follows a handful of researchers on their quest to find evidence of this foul-smelling, bipedal, mysterious creature. Though Skunk Ape was spoken of in lore of the Seminole tribe, modern interest was piqued in the 1950s after hunters encountered the creature. In the following decades, curious people began looking further into the tales, gathering evidence and searching for signs of its existence. Among them is Dave Shealy, creator of the Skunk Ape Research headquarters on his property near Big Cypress Nature Preserve.
Last week, I chatted with Brad about his newest film to get the full story and a taste of what’s to come. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some pressing questions.
The production company I’m represented by, Curator Pictures, is sponsoring an original film by each of it’s directors. Because of certain constraints, I was looking to do something locally. Luckily, one of the strangest phenomena I’d ever heard of happened to be just a few hours away. The Everglades, and the people that live nearby, are almost as compelling in their own rite.
We concentrated our efforts in the big Cypress area in and around Everglades City. We also conducted interviews in Miami and the Lakeland area, which has it’s own distinct Skunkape “scene”. It was mainly time, finances and resources that kept that narrowed our scope.
This is my first cryptozoological film, but the interest has been lifelong. I’ve been reading Fortean Times and the works of William Corliss for many years. The idea of something unknown, as of yet discovered by man, seems universally attractive, it’s just stronger in some of us.
The title was a sort of allusion to the ever encroaching presence of development in that part of Florida, but also wilderness areas in general. The homes of strange beasts are rapidly disappearing. It’s also an era where it’s fashionable to believe our knowledge of the natural world is “complete”, so even the idea of something being unknown seems taboo.
We did not experience anything unusual beyond an eerie vibe. The Glades are actually more beautiful and wondrous than I’d expected. But from the start I decided this wasn’t an expedition film, or a hunt for the creature, instead it’s a telling of it’s story.
I do not have any immediate plans for releasing this or Love and Saucers on DVD. Perhaps if I do a third film in a similar vein it could be a trilogy of sorts. Matt Ralston, who produced Swan Song, is interested in making a feature film with me on the world of cryptozoology.
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