It’s a rare occurrence when your’s cruelly is sent a documentary to review; but today I have two for ya (I feel so F’n fancy); Invasion on Chestnut Ridge and The Mothman of Point Pleasant; two deep dives into cryptids, creeps, and catastrophe from the fine fiends at Small Town Monsters! So, without further arcane adieu let’s dip our freaky feet into some good ol’ monstrous mayhem!
Invasion on Chestnut Ridge concerns a series of incidents that were mostly unknown to me (and believe me, I am always pleased as poison punch to learn about new paranormal occurrences). Chestnut Ridge sits in southern Pennsylvania; a rural area dotted with bucolic small towns; most of which have had brushes with U.F.O.’s, Sasquatch, hauntings, or some unholy combination of them all. Starting with a brief overview of the location’s history, the film begins in earnest with the story of a crashed U.F.O. in Kecksburg County in the mid 1960’s, commented on by first hand witnesses. Whatever the object was, it was apparently legit enough to warrant a military presence to investigate. It’s a great tale of small town folk being confronted not only with an impossible object, but of soldiers and Men In Black showing up to inspire terror. Following that we get more stories of strange aerial phenomena while learning that the area is also plagued with strange large birds, eerie black panthers, and of course Bigfoot, which becomes the focus of the next portion. Thus begins one of my all time favorite aspects of cryptozoology; the connection between Bigfoot and U.F.O.’s, and the tale presented (in a matter of fact tape recording by an eyewitness along with some cool animation) is a creepy-as-balls story you just have to hear for yourself (the damn ape-men scream and it sounds like crying babies…what the actual F?!!). The stories go on and get stranger and stranger, and I’m left with one thought…don’t ever go anywhere near Chestnut Ridge. Ever.
Moving on we have:
The story of Mothman, and the strangeness associated with him, has long been a favorite of mine since I discovered John Keel’s 1975 novel The Mothman Prophecies in the local library of the small mountain town I grew up in. That being said, The Mothman of Point Pleasant: 13 Months That Changed History still had plenty of sinister surprises in store for your humble revoltin’ reviewer. Starting with the history of the land (which included the murder of a Native American chieftain and his son over a land dispute…which always ends up well for future generations) and it’s ‘bad luck’ history including things like floods and such…oh, and a giant bird monster terrorizing everyone (fifty years before ol’ Mothy would make the scene)…ya know, like a Tuesday. Soon we explore the TNT area of Point Pleasant; an abandoned munitions factory where some hapless teens have the first sighting of the Mothman (and where many of the U.F.O. and creature sightings take place for the next year)…which eventually leads to the arrival of the gruesome grinning ghoul Indrid Cold. As things go on we hear of a terrifying face to face encounter with Mothman within an empty factory in the aforementioned TNT area, an appearance of the creature in a man’s bedroom (who prays the damn thing away…yeah, not sure there either my fiends), and many more nightmare experiences (and a bad case of pink eye, which is a nightmare in and of itself, amiright?!! Yes, yes I am) before a real life tragedy puts an end to the supernatural shenanigans.
I’m not going to mince words here; these docs are the absolute best! As you well know, I watch (and write) fright flicks as a profession, and as much as I love the horror biz, I seldom get scared by much I see…except when it comes to these types of paranormal docs…and these two films are among the absolute best I’ve ever seen in the genre! There are countless scenes where I had goosebumps and was jumping at every noise I heard in the house (btw, thanks a lot cat, you heartless bitch)…in short these are the cinematic equivalent of sitting around a campfire and hearing the best paranormal yarn ever spun.
Now I hear you saying, “Daniel XIII, you look so F’n hot and sexy…do you believe the stories in these films are true?” Well, for one, thank you for the compliments, and two, who the F knows if the stories are true…that isn’t even close to being the point of these things…the point is the emotions they conjure up; the wonder, the terror, the fun of being scared…and in that these films succeed like a mother F’er! I highly recommend them both, and suggest you head here and here, turn the lights off, and let yourself cross the veil to a world where monsters are real and walk among us!
Both films get:
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