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Masterson Chases A Manticore

Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) told SCI FI Wire that she'll join fellow Trek veteran Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager) and Heather Donahue (Steven Spielberg Presents Taken) in the upcoming SCI FI Channel original movie Manticore. "Manticore is set in present-day Iraq, and it's striking how realistic the location and action looks," Masterson said in an interview. "I play a driven, bratty reporter who is convinced there are weapons of mass destruction in an off-limits area."

Masterson added: "Risking our lives, I convince my partner to go with me to find them, so we can break the story and boost my career. It turns out that the weapon of mass destruction is a 2,000-year-old creature, brought back to life. It's terrifying: half-lion, half-dragon. An army platoon, led by characters played by Robert Beltran and Heather Donahue, comes to rescue us."

Masterson—who also hosts an SF-oriented radio interview program on—said that she enjoyed shooting Manticore on location in Bulgaria and was impressed by the production team, including director Tripp Reed. "Working in Bulgaria was a fabulous experience," Masterson said. "It's an extremely passionate country, I think, because they were so oppressed for so long, and the people are very genuine. I'd worked with the producer, Phil Roth, several years ago, and I'd found his production values and special effects to be really strong. Even when I wasn't working, I stuck around to see it all happen live. I think viewers are in for a treat. Also, Tripp Reed is a director to watch. He works equally well with actors as with the camera and technical effects, which I appreciated." Manticore debuts on SCI FI at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nov. 26.

Chase travelled to Bulgaria to film this Sci Fi project with Robert Beltran. It will air Thanksgiving Weekend 2005.

Animated Character by Dan Dod

Lieutenant Tommy Baxter is on mop-up duty, chasing down looters in post- war Iraq - and keeping an eye out for souvenirs of his own. When reports of unspeakable carnage in local villages reach his ears, he finds himself hunting down a relentless, millennium-old monster instead. Believed only to be legend, the manticore is frighteningly real, and only Lt. Baxter can come between it and the world's total annihilation. Production began in the Summer of 2004 with UFO Films.

Manticore takes a current event and adds a twist. A mythical creature has been raised in modern day Iraq. But the moster is uncontrollable, and it falls upon a team of US Commandoes to find a way to stop the creature.

Historically a Manticore is a monstrous creature which inhabits the forests in Asia. It is considered to be the most dangerous predator in these regions and has the body of a lion and a head with human features. The mouth is filled with three rows of razor-sharp teeth and the scaled tail ends in a ball with poisonous darts. The monster stalks through the forest in search of humans. Upon an encounter with a human, the manticore fires a volley of darts at the victim, who dies immediately. This unfortunate person is devoured completely, even the bones and clothing, as well as the possessions this person carried. When a villager has completely disappeared, this is considered proof of the presence of a Manticore.

This film is being produced by Unified Film Organization- UFO Films and stars Chase Masterson , Robert Beltran, A. J. Buckley, and Heather Donahue.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


The United States military may not have been able to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but early next year on the Sci-Fi Channel they are going to find a mythical monster on the rampage. At least according to UFO Films that is. The company that seems to be responsible for an ever increasing number of Sci-Fi Channel original movies has just begun filming another entitled MANTICORE, which may very well be the first movie ever made – at least that I can think of – featuring the mythological monster.

MANTICORE focuses on a military Lieutenant chasing looters in post-war Iraq, who isn’t above taking a few things for himself while he’s at it, that ends up investigating reports of unexplained killings in a local village. It turns out the carnage has been caused by a mythical beast known as the Manticore that has been raised by someone in Iraq, possibly as a potential weapon of myth destruction or perhaps as a house pet. That last part hasn’t been explained yet. Either way the creature cannot be domesticated and is out of control thus forcing the Lieutenant to lead a group of US commandos to try and kill the man-eating monster.

For those completely unaware of what a manticore is, according to legend the creature had the body of a lion, the head of a human with three rows of sharp teeth, and a reptilian tail composed of highly poisonous porcupine-like spines that it could shoot like darts at its prey. The monster is a fixture of folklore in Asia, primarily India. According to some legends regarding the Manticore the monster is said to ask its potential victims riddles much like its distant relative the Sphinx. If the movie keeps that part of the legend then I suspect the first riddle it asks of someone will be “If I am a monster of Indian lore then what the hell am I doing here in Mesopotamia?”

The film boasts an all-star cast. Not really, but if you’re a Star Trek fan then you’ll be happy to know that Voyager’s Robert “Chakotay” Beltran and DS9’s Chase “recurring minor character” Masterson are headlining the cast. Also joining them on the monster hunt will be BLAIR WITCH PROJECT star Heather Donahue. I’m guessing this Lieutenant must be leading an all-girl commando unit.

Also, the role of Iraq will be played by that most versatile of shooting locations, Bulgaria. I find it a little hard to believe that Bulgaria can make for a realistic substitute for the barren desert regions that make up most of Iraq. Why do I get a bad feeling this movie is going to mostly feature an awful lot of indoor scenes, most likely with the characters trapped in some sort of bunker or military research facility, thus turning a potentially interesting premise into yet another ALIEN knock-off? Perhaps I’m just being overly cynical or maybe it’s because that is exactly what UFO has already done in about a half dozen or so of their monster movies. Prove me wrong, United Film Organization.

- Scott Foy

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