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Movie Review: “Eyes of the Mothman” August 17, 2011

Posted by ambrosestolliker in Movie Reviews.
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Greetings, good reader. I know, I know – I said I’d write this movie review more than two weeks ago, but life got in the way. I haven’t stopped writing the new novel yet though, and that’s what counts. Between work, writing the book, submitting your work and family, it’s not easy to find the time to blog. I’m sure most writers can understand that.

In any case, I’ve got the latest issue of Mad Magazine sitting here on the bed next to me, so let’s get this review out of the way so I can move on to something really important, shall we?

What I liked: Above all else, Eyes of the Mothman does a fantastic job of parsing all the different aspects of the events that took place in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late 1960s. It is, after all, a documentary. In many ways, the film reminds me of a very long installment of the old A&E show Mysteries of the Bible, or the old Leonard Nimoy-hosted show (which I loved as a kid) In Search of… That is, the film lays out the basics of what the Mothman and the related supernatural phenomena were as well as several potential explanations, without ever reaching a solid conclusion. Of course, it is the supernatural we’re talking about here, so there probably is no answer. In any case, I learned a lot about the Mothman and what allegedly happened in Point Pleasant from this film. The Mothman Prophecies, while a great horror flick, doesn’t really hold true to the “facts.” For instance, it’s not clear in The Mothman Prophecies that the Indrid Cold entity was, to many of the people who had alleged experiences with him, a separate being from the actual Mothman, if he (or she for that matter) ever existed.

I never knew that Indrid Cold is thought to have been one of many so-called “Men in Black” who converged on Point Pleasant during the time that the Mothman was supposedly active and the press was reporting on UFO sightings on a fairly frequent basis. Indeed, the Men in Black seem much more akin to the government agents portrayed by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the movie of the same name – that is, they are remembered by witnesses as men who used intimidation and threats in an attempt to force the local populace to keep quiet about any and all paranormal activity in Point Pleasant at the time.

The subject matter experts interviewed for the film are a hodge-podge of academics and investigators (I wonder what their day jobs are – who has time to chase Mothmen?) who appeared quite knowledgeable of the Mothman and the associated weirdness that residents there claim took place. There are also several interviews with supposed eye witnesses. If I sound skeptical, maybe it’s because I was a newspaper reporter for more than a dozen years and I find it hard to swallow most of this stuff. That’s OK though, I’m not looking for proof of anything in this or any horror film I watch – just a nudge toward some underlying greater truth that the facts can’t get in the way of.

What I didn’t like: This is totally subjective, but the one big bone to pick I have with this documentary is that it’s too long. I think it runs close to two and a half hours. That’s a long time, even for a subject as fascinating as the Mothman. Also, the documentary came off a little like a straight historical doc such as one might find on The History Channel or The Discovery Channel. It did not to any significant degree tell the stories of the people who encountered the Mothman, Indrid Cold or the UFOs to my satisfaction, nor did it relate how those people were affected by their encounters with the paranormal. That’s what made The Mothman Prophecies so good to me. I really felt for those characters – those people. I don’t think a documentary has to be all history, all facts. Indeed, the best docs I’ve ever watched have been the ones that told the human stories behind historical events.

And now, on to Mad Magazine

Yours,

A.S.

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