Connect with us

Published

on

I am not a huge “furry” cryptid fan. Bigfoot, for me, is not extremely interesting. To me, if there is a “missing link” mammal walking around and stinking up the place, I’m far less impressed than, say, an ancient dinosaur (and brethren) existing beneath murky waters. There’s more history there. There’s surviving a lot more crazy shit to still exist. Humans are new animals, so the link between our ancestors and what we are today is like talking about a decade old Twinkie.

Huh. Yep, okay…So, that’s it, then?

So, I’m new to director Seth Breedlove’s work. He’s worked on such documentaries as Boggy Creek Monster, Invasion on Chestnut Ridge, Beast of Whitehall, and The Mothman of Point Pleasant.  These are all documentaries that I would probably not watch…Or rather, that I might not have watched before sitting down to check out Momo: The Missouri Monster.

Glorious…

The Plot:

The setup is mockumentary-style, with documentary interviews interwoven within the concept.

The show Blackburn’s Cryptid Casefiles begins, attempting to separate fact from fiction with local accounts of the creature called Momo, spotted in the 1970’s. The mockumentary uses a “never-released” movie from the 70’s of Momo as the time-line and central story-line, pausing to reflect on the events with real residents of the area in actual documentary portions.

From the story, we learn about how Momo possibly came to be (was an alien), some of his encounters (carrying a dead dog and stealing peanut butter sandwiches), and his possible demise (being shot in the least climatic way). Or was it?

I swear, Momo, if you don’t leave, I’m playing my country version of Wonderwall

Thoughts:

I’m just saying this out loud: Momo….is an alien…that looks like moldy spaghetti….and steals peanut butter sandwiches….  

From the fog, he came; and from the fog, he went..taking my lunch with him

But as bad as the movie is (and it even nudged later at this fact), and hoo boy, it does get bad…

Apparently the aliens are everywhere and are more confusing than frightening…

But as bad as it gets, it did a good amount with the budget that it had. There are a lot of good shots, and while they are not clever shots (thinking about the railroad scene), there is a sense of tongue-in-cheek to them.

I don’t want to scare you, but your much larger ghost is following you

The B-movie portion is bad, especially the acting, but the effects are good (too good for the 70’s, though). Again, not working with much, they seemed to make it work. There was a disturbing lack of Missourian accents in the movie portions, which I missed. And also a disturbing lack of human emoting…

I killed the beast. Great. What’s for dinner? Meatloaf again?

I have to say that they ruined the last shot of the “movie”, though, which was sad because it did get an actual start out of me before pushing into trope of the monster running in slo-mo towards the camera and the film burning. I know they weren’t going for subtle, but that would have been a really clever shot.

And let it be known that my title is also Chronicler of the Strange.  

Advertisement

Brain Roll Juice:

Just what the hell is this? This is the most pathetic investigation board I’ve ever seen.

I didn’t come expecting much. I expected even less when I saw a quote from Roger Corman in the beginning. I expected even less, less, less when I saw the acting…

Huh. You saw the monster, too? Groovy. What’s for dinner? Meatloaf again?

And somehow, still, I was charmed by it. I thought the old movie mash-up, while awkwardly cut, was an interesting concept. Even though it played like a mockumentary, there was a lot of love given to the not just the monster, but the town it originated in. In fact, most of the beginning is the history and culture of Louisiana, MO as it developed as a city, which I found oddly touching. It’s obvious that Mr. Breedlove has reverence of these small towns and is not there for exploitation, but for their mystery and charm.

Being a dual citizen of Missouri and Michigan is what brought me to watch this movie. As much as it was a love letter to cryptids, it was a love letter to these quiet pockets of Americana.

And in the final moments of the movie, the shift of this low, low budget mockumentary turns back to the history and people of the place and who lived during the events. Heartrendingly, it draws comparisons between the legend of Momo and the decline of the city. Most people have forgotten about the legend – some have moved away, others have gone on with their lives, and some have passed away. The movie makes the case of the preservation of a people’s history and culture, and the role that legends play in that, which resonates deeply for me.  

A badass music video is about to begin and I’m into it

This movie isn’t about a guy in a suit, pretending to be an alien stealing peanut butter sandwiches, it’s about the human experience. Good and bad. The fears that we have that connect us and the hysterias that pull us apart. The towns that we’ve made and the towns that have made us. The forgotten history of where we come from, and the pale hope that those memories and shy mysteries will continue to live on within us and within the next generation.

You’ve probably never heard of Momo and, unfortunately, a lot of the younger residents of Louisiana, MO have not either.

Bottom-line:

It’s a cheesy (sometimes cringey) romp, with a refreshing amount of heart. I was moved. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Advertisement

When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

Movies n TV

Suburban Screams, Cursed Neighborhood

Published

on

Episode five of John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams was one of the best kind of horror stories. It is a dark, eerie tale of a mean house that is determined to destroy anyone who dares reside within it.

The story

Our story begins in 1682. A group of colonists are attempting to take over land that is very much not theirs. When the colonists are killed, they vow to curse the land.

Fast forward to modern times, and the land in question is a little suburban neighborhood. Carlette Norwood moves in with her husband, mother, and daughters. The house seems like a dream come true. Until, of course, their beautiful dream home becomes a nightmare. The curse of the colonists wrapped itself around the neck of each family member, turning them into people that they didn’t recognize. People who don’t exactly like each other.

What worked

While I wouldn’t say that the acting in this episode is flawless, it was several steps above what we’ve seen so far. Every actor seemed to understand their role and reacted in realistic ways. I was especially impressed by the young woman playing Angelique. She had the good sense to not overplay the role, giving each scene exactly the right amount of energy.

Advertisement

Of course, there was one actress who way overplayed every scene. But rather than being terrible, it was terrific. And that was Chloe Zeitounian, who played the neighbor Stacy. Stacy the neighbor was creepy as shit. After an unnamed neighbor dies by suicide, Stacy shows up at Carlette’s house with a bottle of champagne, sipping coffee with a big old smile. Well, okay it probably wasn’t coffee.

Stacy was a fantastic character, and I hope there was a crazy neighbor just like her. I bet her house was haunted as hell, but she just decided that her ghost was like a stray dog that everyone else thinks is dangerous. She probably put a bejeweled collar on the colonist ghost and renamed him Kori spelled with an I on purpose.

Finally, I want to talk about the theme of ancestral curse and ancestral protections that this episode discussed.

Charles County was cursed by the colonists who took the land that rightfully belonged to the indigenous tribes. They took what their ancestors had given them, and left a curse in their wake.

At the end of the episode, Carlette talks about being protected by her ancestors. Ancestors that survived horrible things most of us can’t imagine. I am sure that their strength blessed Carlette, and helped her to save Angelique.

Advertisement

What didn’t work

While this episode was certainly better than most of the season, it wasn’t perfect. The thing that most stood out to me as being frankly unneeded was the inclusion of maggots attacking Brian.

Paul A Maynard in Suburban Screams.

In multiple scenes, during which Carlette is narrating, Brian has maggots coming out of open wounds. Never once does Carlette mention a maggot issue.

It feels like there is a clear reason why the creators did this. This story doesn’t have a lot of blood, gore, or jump scares. And a core goal of horror content is to cause a reaction.

Stephen King has a great quote about this goal. “I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.”

The inclusion of maggots in this story admits that someone involved didn’t think the story was terrorizing or horrifying enough. But it was. The story was freaky all on its own without the inclusion of our wriggling friends.

Is it true?

This might be an unpopular opinion, but aside from the completely unnecessary maggots infesting Brian, I think this episode is the most honest and accurate one so far.

Advertisement

The thing about hauntings is that they’re seldom what we see in the movies. Haunted houses don’t have glass vases flying off shelves and wallpaper peeling to reveal 666 painted in blood over arcane symbols. Haunted houses dig into the minds of those who live there, causing bad luck and bad vibes. And that’s exactly what happened here. There are no massive explosions. No spirits throwing people downstairs or demonic dogs chasing children from the attic. This house dug into the hearts and minds of a loving family, ripping them apart.

So yes, I do think this episode is likely true.

The further we get into Suburban Screams, the more I enjoy it. This episode was eerie, upsetting, and riveting. I hope that Carlette and her daughters are healing from this horrific journey. And I’m thankful to them for sharing their story. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Happy Father’s Day Herman Munster!

Published

on

Herman Munster would be so proud, collage by Jennifer Weigel
Herman Munster would be so proud, collage by Jennifer Weigel

Today for Father’s Day I want to celebrate one the best dads in horror ever: Herman Munster! Herman Munster of television celebrity is a perfect example of a good father in a genre awash in epically horrible parents. He is fun to be around, cares deeply about family, and has a huge heart. He is essentially the naive and loving Frankenstein’s monster despite his horrific appearance, and is aptly employed at a funeral home.

Herman is lovable, hardworking, and always ready with the physical humor dad jokes, even if he is too naive to catch on to his role in the punchlines all the time. He is devoted to his wife Lily Dracula and son Eddie and will do whatever he can to protect them. His generosity extends beyond just his own, with the family taking in his niece Marilyn (who is painfully normal by comparison to the Munsters), and father-in-law Grandpa.

Portrayed by Fred Gwynne, Herman Munster is kind of the epitome of the good father in horror. Sure, he’s a brute, and can be a little dim sometimes, but he’s really just a big teddy bear at heart, and always ready for a good laugh. And apparently Herman Munster was even nominated by his son Eddie for Father of the Year in Season 2, Episode 25, so it all comes around full circle. If the show highlight doesn’t load, you can find it here.

And to celebrate more great Hollywood celebrities, here’s a poem for Ed Wood and an homage to Theda Bara

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Suburban Screams, The Bunny Man

Published

on

Someone is stalking the children of Fairfax, Virginia. He comes bearing an axe. He comes from the forest. He comes in the night.

He comes dressed as a bunny.

The story

In the 1970s, the sleepy town of Fairfax Virginia was menaced by a man dressed as a rabbit. He stalked kids and teens with an axe while they were playing in the woods, or ‘parking’. Children were cautioned to not play outside after dark. Parents were terrified. The whole community was rocked by the horrific killer who, well, didn’t kill anybody. And who might have been a whole bunch of people inspired by a truly sad tale?

Still from Suburban Screams The Bunny Man.

The story begins a hundred years earlier. A man whose name is lost to time is accused of stealing a cow. For this crime, he’s sentenced to death because things were a lot tougher back then. The man escaped but swore vengeance on the town. A few days later several children were found hanging from a bridge underpass, butchered and hung as though they were slaughtered rabbits.

What worked

The biggest thing to love about this episode, the one thing that sets it apart from the rest of the season, was the presence of Historian Cindy Burke. Finally, we have an actual professional talking about one of these stories. Yes, there are still first-hand accounts. But that is how these sorts of stories work best. We have the emotional retelling of evocative survivors. But we also have a professional who is emotionally separated from the situation backing up these stories with historical knowledge.

Advertisement

This wouldn’t have mattered as much in any other setting. But Suburban Screams has been clear from the start that it wants to be seen as a documentary. This is supposed to be real. And if you’re going to claim that your ghost story is real, bring receipts. As many as you can.

If we’d seen more historians, detectives, and police reports through this series, it probably wouldn’t have the bad rating it does on IMDB.

What didn’t work

Well, it might still have had a bad rating. Because the acting in this episode was, for lack of a stronger word, terrible.

I don’t know if it was the directing, the casting, or just a weak talent budget. But not a single person except for the man playing the Bunny Man could act in any of these dramatic reenactment scenes.

The worst offender was probably the child playing Ed’s childhood friend. This character was way overacted. It’s as though the child had seen a parody of how little boys behave, and was told to act like that. As this was a little boy, he was likely a bit embarrassed.

Advertisement

And I know, I’m trash-talking a child actor. I’m trash-talking all of the children actors in this episode. But children can act. There are lots of examples of kids doing great acting jobs. Stranger Things is an obvious example. Violent Night is another. The kid can act. These kids couldn’t act.

Is it true?

Unlike most of the other episodes in this series, The Bunny Man is a story I’ve heard before. It is a legitimate urban legend that blossomed from a few firsthand accounts of madmen doing scary things dressed as rabbits in Fairfax County, West Virginia. These events probably inspired others to do stupid things like dress up like a rabbit and run around with an ax. Much like the people who decided to dress up like clowns and scare the hell out of people across the country in 2016.

So, yes, the Bunny Man is very much real. He’s real in the hearts and minds of pranksters and West Virginia frat boys. And he is based on some very real, very upsetting, actual events.

I honestly wish the whole season of Suburban Screams had been exactly like this. Filled with facts, first-hand accounts, and proof of scary events. This was everything I wanted in a supernatural/true crime story. So if you’re giving the rest of the season a pass, I would suggest watching this episode.

Advertisement
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Continue Reading

Trending