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EYES OF THE MOTHMAN (2011)

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EYES OF THE MOTHMAN (2011)

Thursday, 29 August 2013 17:42

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The Buzz:

     The Mothman of West Virginia is one of the classic “cryptids” of North American history, although admittedly not as well-known as the Chupacabra, Bigfoot, or Mummy Bigfoot. Still, people seem to like that “Mothman Prophecies” movie with Richard Gere in it, and I don't think there's ever been a movie about Chupacabras or Bigfeet that actually achieved mainstream success, so at least this monster has that going for it. In fact, the legend of The Mothman and the strange events surrounding its appearances in Point Pleasant, West Virginia had an influence on the paranormal zeitgeist on par with the Roswell Incident, and this surprisingly weighty documentary takes an in-depth look at the folklore and first-hand accounts that led to the legend.

 

 

Life of the Party (Positives):

     The first thing I noticed about this movie is that, for a “fluff” documentary about a mythical beast, it has extremely high-quality production values. Every element is shot and edited well, and the many reenactments of historical anecdotes have good details and excellent atmosphere. If you're expecting a History Channel puff piece, this is much nicer quality than that, and some of the reenactments of weird events, coupled with narration from the people who were there to see them, actually gave me a spooky, “watching a horror movie” vibe. The documentary covers two years of Point Pleasant's history, and as more and more strange events occur, the tension and suspense level are amped up for the audience as well.

     Although the Mothman is the title character, the story of what happened after his first appearance is in some ways even more fascinating. The entire concept of “Men in Black,” mysterious agents who investigate paranormal activity and try to suppress information about it, more or less originated in Point Pleasant, as citizens had repeated encounters with strange, black-clad men (or humanoids?) soon after the Mothman appeared. It's neat to see how this concept, best known from works of fiction, is actually based on the experiences of real people, and the reenactments of the MiBs and their unsettling behavior make for some of the creepiest moments in the presentation.

     Of course, any movie about the paranormal is going to contain its fair share of coots, yokels, and yahoos, whose completely earnest line-deliveries about extraterrestrial influences and grave prophecies of doom are sometimes a little silly. All jokes about West Virginia residents aside, the most ridiculous characters are actually the smattering of paranormal experts, who actually make the guys on Ancient Aliens look completely credible by comparison. To me, this adds some charm to the presentation as a whole, and most people who are actually into this kind of cryptid stuff know to enjoy it with tongue placed comfortably in cheek.

Seriously, these two guys are worth the price of admission all by themselves.

Who thought this lighting was a good idea?

 

Potential Hangovers (Negatives):

     There's no getting around it: this movie is too long. Longer than it really needs to be, anyway. A documentary can go for more than two hours if it has a lot of ground to cover or complicated arguments to articulate, but this is an anecdotal film with only three or four different stories to tell, and we don't really need to hear those stories repeated quite as many times as the director seems to think. The entire first act, which sets the stage and explains the colonial history of the town and the American Indian chief who supposedly cursed it, could have been covered in ten minutes or so, and yet the film drags on for about 40 minutes before a single Mothman is seen. I'm all for completeness, but I wish the filmmaker had found a way to intersperse this information throughout the film, rather than front-loading all of the geography and ancient history – people came to hear about the Mothman, not minor skirmishes with Indians during the American Revolution, and this first section is a long slog that may turn many viewers off. It's not quite Ken Burns' "The Mothman,” but it's darn close.

 

''Yup, it's a Mothman, alright.

Say, Ted, which one of us do you think is more of a Jay, and which is more of a Kay?"

 

The Vibe – Solo Experience, Deep Thoughts, Lazy Sunday

     I put this movie into a special category of mine that I call “Films to Fall Asleep To,” which sounds pretty damning, but actually isn't. Due to the mysterious and spooky subject matter, this is a film that should be enjoyed at night – it's like the creepypasta of documentaries, and may have you checking your bedroom windows for glowing red eyes after you're done. If you enjoyed Lunopolis, this film is much the same, only this one really happened (supposedly). Although I feel like a terrible person saying this, you might enjoy this movie best if you watch the intro, then just skip through the first section so you can get to the good parts – the movie is about 40 minutes too long, and almost all 40 of them are near the beginning. Still, for fans of cryptids, paranormal phenomena, or alternate history, it's neat to see the origin of some of the tropes we all know and love, and although Eyes of the Mothman is a long sit, it's a high-quality one, so get comfortable.

 

+ High production values create impressive atmosphere

+ Good mix of first-hand accounts and colorful experts provide intriguing, if slightly repetitive, stories

- Too long for what it is; the first part can pretty much be skipped without losing much

Read 1365 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 August 2013 18:22

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Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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