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Crosscurrents

Benjamin Mulholland on 'The Lake Merritt Monster' and diversity in the horror genre

Filmmaker Ben Mulholland
Michael Ori
Filmmaker Ben Mulholland
I was living in Oakland and I knew about the Lake Merritt monster legend, which has been around forever. And I just decided ... we should just do Lake Merritt Monster but [like] Goonies, but with people of color.
— Ben Mulholland

According to Oakland lore, back in the 1840s, a “half-dragon, half-fish” creature with sharp teeth killed several members of the Ohlone tribe. The Oakland Tribune reported unverified sightings of the monster in the 1940s.

Oakland filmmaker Benjamin Mulholland put his own spin to the city’s legend in his short “The Lake Merritt Monster.” It’s about a teenager who witnesses his mom being abducted by the scary creature on the night of his birthday. He and his high school friends try to get her back. The film has been recognized and screened at film festivals around the Bay Area. You can watch it here.

Crosscurrents
Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.