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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.
  • Ambiguously Human: Nora in Hellhound.
  • Animal Wrongs Group
  • Apocalyptic Log - The formula for the series, but actually only applies to about half the episodes.
  • Badass: Conner and Mooney.
    • 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. Just like Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. What makes it truly badass is the Strigoi ran away from Connor when it had been shown to easily overpower other adult males.
  • 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 that didn't want people sacrificed to it.
  • 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.
  • 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, Bruce in "Oklahoma Octopus", Bill "Shots" Cooper in "Poltergeist", and Wade in "Cave Demons". Subverted in Alien but...see below.
  • Black Best Friend - Shanna Hurliss in "Dover Demon", Bruce in "Oklahoma Octopus", Wade in "Cave Demons", and Bill "Shots Cooper in "Poltergeist".
  • Came Back Wrong: A popular theme in several episodes, like Wendigo.
  • Catch Phrase - Narrator: "Do They Live Among Us?"
  • Cell Phone - In a nice use of the technology, it's ring alerts the Jersey Devil to the presence of the hiding protagonists. It's like a theater add taken to wonderfully evil levels.
  • 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 benefit of Night Vision to hide its budgetary problems.
  • Chest Burster- How the alien emerges in its episode.
  • Chupacabra - Featured Creature--it is the Southwestern version of the creature opposed to the more bizarre South American and Caribbean version.
  • Dan Browned: combined largely with Rule of Drama
  • Dead Line News: Happens in Lizard Man, when the Intrepid Reporter and her cameraman are killed and partially devoured by the monster.
  • 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.
  • Doing in the Wizard - Most of the monsters have naturalistic explanations that work up to a point. Except when noted below.
  • Don't Look Back: Seeing the Hellhound three times or more means a quick, untimely death. Unfortunately, most of the Goth teens saw it twice before finishing their faux ritual when it attacks again.

 Nora: Severin? Severin? (sad) You looked.

  • Downer Ending / Gainax Ending: Gainax Ending... if you're lucky.
  • Don't Go in The Woods: "Jersey Devil", "Thunderbirds", "Devil Dragon", "Swamp Creature", "Death Raptor", "Southern Sasquatch", "Wendigo", and "Dover Demon" contains these.
  • Evil Poacher - Featured in two episodes, none live to see the end.
  • Everything's Worse with Monkeys - In the case of the Devil Monkey, who seem to prefer tearing into soft/vital spots.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods - The Oklahoma Octopus and Kraken are both evil examples.
  • GASP
  • 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 Monterrey 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.

  • 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 too stupid to just shoot the monsters, unless your named Mooney or Connor, Most of the creatures lack bullet immunity, 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 MP 5 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.
  • Hell Hound - Focus of one episode.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard - A Poacher/Stalker is stuffed into one of his own traps courtesy of Bigfoot.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts - Alien is implied to be doing this at the end.
  • Infant Immortality - They won't be killed, but they sure as hell are getting traumatized by the experience.
  • 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?"

  • The Jersey Devil
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma - Oklahoma Octopus.
  • Late to the Party: A few episodes have the protagonists discovering... something having happened, like Monterrey Monster.
  • Lizard Folk - Lizardmen and the Swamp Monster are reptilian (even if the later is covered in hair).
  • Monster Is a Mommy - Swamp Monster and White River Monster. Mama Bear applies in both instances, even though the later is a fish.
  • Mama Bear - The above, plus the odd human who, in one instance--drives off a monster with a two by four to save her kids--while pregnant.
  • 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.
  • Never Found the Body: A few episodes end this way, like Monterrey Monster.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - in Alien the 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.
  • 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 Ghosts Are Different - a murderous variant of a Poltergeist appears in season 3. No natural explanation provided.
    • 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. To bad 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. The Werewolf episode featured one that has only minor shape-shifting abilities at best, limited to facial contortions and retracted weaponry. Although it does not become covered in hair, the hair it sheds has a mixture of animal and human DNA and is felled by normal bullets. A second is in The Beast of Brey Road episode and clings to a more classic visual design.
    • Our Zombies Are Different - A combination of types. Created by Voodoo toxins (Type V), Flesh eaters (Type F) with a slow gate 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?
  • Owl Be Damned - The Owlman, naturally.
  • 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).
  • Private Military Contractors - the season 3 Recurring "Enigma Corporation".
  • Psycho Electric Eel - The Mongolian Death Worm acts like a combination of this and piranha, but in sand.
  • 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 - Monterrey Bay Monster, Chupacabra (Via Infra-Red), Megaconda, Mothman, small Dover Demons and the Kraken.
  • Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying - See Below. The Thunderbird episode too. 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, and they lived until the KT extinction 65 million years ago.
      • 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?
  • 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.
  • Sea Monster - Several different kinds.
    • Stock Ness Monster in Monster of Monterey, as a people-eating Elasmosaur. Bear Lake Monster is more like a Semi-Aquatic Mosasaur.
    • White River Monster has a giant fish implicitly defending its brood identified as a descendant of Xiphactinus.
    • Giant Squid or...Octopus, really, in Oklahoma Octopus. Kraken has a proper Giant Squid--albiet, one bigger than previously encountered--with eye lenses the size of softballs.
  • Skin Walker: One episode devoted to the legend.
  • 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 Monterrey 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.
  • Tempting Fate - Many times, including the classic "I'll be right back."
  • Too Dumb to Live - About 80% of the victims literally fall under this category. One of the most shameful is the Sheriff in Devil Monkey, who instead of blasting the damn thing with a shotgun, He turns around to tell the reporter to flee and then gets jumped.
  • The Smurfette Principle - Shanna Hurliss in "Dover Demon", Stacie Foster in "Devil Monkey", and Kristy Johns in "Poltergeist".
  • Token Male - Severin in "Hellhound".
    • How about our divers in Kraken, who begin with violating the Cardinal Rule of Diving: Never dive alone!! from the get go. After the first guy goes himself... and becomes a snack for the giant squid, what is the group's next move? Why, to send the girl 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 Out of 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.
  • Urban Legend - The source for most of the monsters.
  • Voice Changeling - The Wendigo.
    • Skin Walker, too.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness - Q does this to his would be cult. Once he has the needed sacrifices, he kills them all.
  • Weirdness Magnet - Our intrepid Enigma Corporation employees just can't catch a break. First they fight zombies in New Orleans, then they encounter a strigoi and then an Aztec god. Can't get much worse than that, can it?
    • Justified, the Enigma Corporation specializes in investigating the unexplained, naturally they're Weirdness Magnets.
      • Doesn't that make them into the weirdness magnetized since they are the ones going out and looking for these things?
  • Wendigo - is or was a Man, once.
  • Who You Going to Call? - The Enigma Corporation.