Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Did H.R. Giger Invent the Chupacabra?


Of the famous cryptids, the chupacabra is probably the strangest. But it is also the newest. In fact before 1995, no one had ever actually seen the "goat-sucker". There were reports of something killing farm animals, but nobody had actually laid eyes on one. But did the first eye-witness of the creature lie about what they saw? Furthermore, was the entire thing nothing more than a creation by the recently deceased legendary sci-fi artist H.R. Giger? Well respected skeptic Benjamin Radford believes so.

"HR Giger, famous for creating the Xenomorph in Alien, had designed Sil; the alien has his familiar biomechanical elements grafted onto the body of Natasha Henstridge. And it looks a lot like the chupacabra. Says Radford:

So, just how similar is Sil to the Puerto Rican goatsucker? Well, if Giger were God, his art could have been used as a blueprint for creating the chupacabra. Sketches of the chupacabra’s long, thin fingers and claws appear on page 24; its distinctive spine spikes can be seen on the Species creature on pages 25–29 and throughout the book. In the end, I identified over a dozen morphological similarities. The parallels grow even stronger when we consider Tolentino’s account of the chupacabra’s actions: she described it as hissing – something Sil does in the film – and also leaping fantastic distances with superhuman agility; again, something the Species creature also does.

An internal 9 February 1994 memo from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producers Roger Donaldson and Frank Mancuso Jr to HR Giger about the creature design provides a fascinating inside look at the ideas for Sil’s nature, behaviour, and physical description. It foreshadows the later description of the Puerto Rican chupacabra so well that the famous sketch of the creature could have been produced directly from the MGM studio production notes rather than Madelyne Tolentino’s memory (or imagination). Donaldson and Mancuso wrote: “In the monster form, Sil must be able to move easily and fast; She must have in her biology the means by which to kill without effort… We discussed the possibilities of things like bone spurs, tentacles, and/or a barbed, sharp tongue… she should be able to burrow into the ground… she has extra-sensory ability.” As for the creature’s victims: “When Sil kills she should leave her victims dead in a very identifiable way. For example, if she broke or sucked all the bones [or blood] out of her victim, this would show that the body was killed by some extraordinary circum­stances… Sil should leave behind some evidence that she has been at a location… (i.e. bodily fluid… odour, slime… scratches, suction marks, etc.)”

Indeed, this is a near-verbatim list of characteristics claimed for the chupacabra. The parallels are unmistakable, including the body shape, locomotion, burrowing ability, distinctive method of killing (“sucking” blood or internal organs), telepathic/ESP claims, leaving slime, distinctive odour, and so on.

The kicker, though, is that Species was released in Puerto Rico on July 7, 1995, just a month before Tolentino saw the monster, and right in the beginning of the chupacabra craze. And where is the monster first seen in the movie? If you said Puerto Rico you either saw and remember Species or you know where this is going.

Where this is going is that Tolentino has admitted she saw Species before sighting the chupacabra.

As it happens, Tolentino is on record as saying she did see the film before her chupacabra sighting. She told me this herself in a 2010 interview, and the claim also appears in an interview reprinted as chapter five in Scott Corrales’s book Chupacabras And Other Mysteries. Tolentino states that she saw “a movie called Species. It would be a very good idea if you saw it. The movie begins here in Puerto Rico, at the Arecibo observatory. [The monster] made my hair stand on end. It was a creature that looked like the chupacabra, with spines on its back and all… The resemblance to the chupacabra was really impressive.” Later in the interview Tolentino says, “I watched the movie and wondered, ‘My God! How can they make a movie like that, when these things are happening in Puerto Rico?’” She is then asked, “In other words, does [Species] make you think there might have been an experiment in which a being escaped and is now at large? [in Puerto Rico].” Tolentino responded: “Yes.""

For the full article, click here. 

"Sil" from the movie Species

4 comments: