The inspiration for this entire series came from a massive marketing push a few years ago where every horror movie released was ‘based on a true story’ in whatever capacity that meant. Sometimes the movies were fairly accurate portrayals of some horrific moment in history, but the reality of the situation was that most of the movies released at this time were remakes of movies from the 70’s and 80’s that were loosely based on a true story. So you do the math. The most evil of the bunch, the most misleading in it marketing was easily this one: Primeval. The original ads were so completely full of shit that it makes me wonder why they even made the movie in the first place.
Primeval billed itself as based on the true story of the most prolific serial killer in the world. A killer that had killed as many as 300 people in Africa. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How did this one get by me? If there was a murderer out there who had that many confirmed kills, even if the body count was some kind of overblown figure, surely I would have known about it. A cursory examination of the Wikipedia article about Primeval confirmed my worst suspicions.
Primeval tells the story of Gustave, the marketing’s serial killer with a body count of 300 kills. What it failed to mention is that Gustave isn’t a serial killer. He’s not even a person. Gustave is a giant crocodile that makes its home on the banks of the Ruzizi river in Burundi. Yeah. Crocodile. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
What makes Gustave special enough to have a horror movie made about him with a criminally misleading marketing campaign is that he’s the largest of his kind. Unusually so, as a matter ofact. Gustave is 20 feet long and weighs a ton. He’s also 60 years old. Usually crocodiles hunt smaller species of animals that wander too close to their habitat like fish and antelope. Typically, humans aren’t on the menu. We’re just not in the crocodile food chain. Gustave, however, is far too big to be effective against smaller, faster prey. In order to survive, he has to shift up his habits. Larger species that fall into his jaws tend to be hippopotamus and wildebeest. Also people. 300, allegedly.
There’s really no way to accurately track how many people have been attacked and eaten by Gustave but over the years, herpetologists and the people of Burundi, who are positively petrified of this crocodile, have tracked as many as 300. Attempts to capture or kill Gustave have been launched by hunters over the years but every attempt is thwarted or it turns out that the hunters can’t even find a 20 foot long, one ton croc out in wild.
The hunt began by official counts in 1998. Gustave is still loose in Burundi.